Visitor to Rocktail Camp
A beautiful little sparrowhawk flew into our camp's main lounge area and could not find its way out again. In spite of all the huge glass sliding doors being open, it flew from chandelier to chandelier, fan to fan. We let it be, not wanting to startle it or stress it, hoping it would eventually find its own way out. But after two hours it was still sitting on one of the fans.
At one stage it landed on the ground and we managed to calm it down by putting a lightweight fleece jacket over it, pick it up and take it to our office.
Here we gave it a quick onceover to make sure it was not injured, admired its beauty and efficiency as a hunter and then took it outside to release it. Thankfully it flew off unharmed.
Just before it took off from my hand, I could feel how amazingly powerful its grip is and its claws were so sharp, one actually cut my finger as it took off.
These perfect little birds of prey are found all along the South African coastline, almost all the way to Cape Town in the south as well as Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province to our north.
The little sparrowhawk enjoys forests and densely-wooded areas and hunts mainly small birds, up to dove size, small rodents and insects. What a tremendous privilege it was to be able to see and study one so close up.
Since starting at Rocktail more than two years ago we have wanted to give our drab, boring, grey pizza oven a makeover.
Then we had a ‘light bulb moment’ – why not make it a community children’s project, in conjunction with Children in the Wilderness? So that’s exactly what we did.
We organised with one of the local schools from Kwampakane village to have a drawing competition, with the Ocean as a theme. Their prize would be to paint the pizza oven, have breakfast, lunch and cold drinks at Rocktail during the course of the day.
We chose the six best pictures and organised for the six children and a schoolteacher to come over to Rocktail on a Saturday and start painting.
As can be seen from the gloomy, sad-looking ‘before’ photos and the ‘during’ and ‘after’ photos, the children did a great job and had lots of fun. In sharing this wonderful opportunity with children from the local village, we are thrilled to have strengthened and increased our bond with our local community.
What is amazing now is that our guests from all over the world will see and admire our bright beautiful pizza oven, hopefully with photos of it displayed on mantelpieces all over the world.