Mount Moreland Barn Swallow Viewing Site
World Famous Barn Swallows
Mount Moreland Barn Swallow Viewing Site Entrance and Barn Swallow Mass at Sunset
Arrive half an hour before sunset
In South Africa, as
spring arrives in September, the migratory Barn
swallows begin to appear at Mount Moreland, KZN, South Africa's largest roost
site, the initial small flocks swell to thousands and then millions. By November 3 to 5 million Barn Swallows can be seen
every evening over the Lake Victoria wetland roost.
The month of March is equally spectacular as the Barn Swallows mass and are preparing
for the migration back to Europe. Their flight is flirtatious, showing off their new feathers and the Barn
Swallows communicate with vocal chirping sounds full of excitement at the prospect of their 10 000km
What to bring:
Binoculars, Picnic supper, Jersey should it get cooler
later, Drinks of your choice, picnic supper, Deck chairs,
Camera – optional, Anti-mossie cream.
Click here to find out more
Barn Swallow Viewing Sites
From as far back as the 1970’s the Barn Swallows have been recognized and
noted for the mass evening displays at Mount Moreland but it was through local residents and the formation of
the Mount Moreland
Conservancy that the Barn
Swallows were drawn into the
In the 1990’s the Mount Moreland Conservancy began an
annual event called ‘The return of the swallows’ and over many years of trial and error this event became
more recognized and supported.
Creating more interest and awareness through faster modern
methods of communication, email , local media and website proved extremely successful.
By 2005 the number of swallow watchers coming to Mount Moreland
had noticeably increased and people were arriving throughout the six month occurrence and there was a craving
for more knowledge, a better viewing spot etc.
Founder member and chairperson of the Mount
Moreland Conservancy Angie Wilken had a vision to develop a formal Barn Swallow viewing site at
Mount Moreland. A plan was designed and formulated and presented to Tongaat Hulett, the owners of the Lake
Lake Victoria Viewing
Mr Prem Gurney, manager of Umdloti estate, in consultation with Mr Paul Russell,
Tongaat Hulett regional manager, Agriculture, welcomed the proposal and events
became more formalized by 2006. Land was identified and earmarked, a lease drafted and signed, clearing of land,
landscaping and terracing began in earnest. Signage and information boards designed and
A partnership was formed between Tongaat
Huletts, Airports Company South Africa, Birdlife and the Mount
The official opening of the Lake Victoria Barn Swallow Viewing
site was 12 November 2006. The occasion was celebrated in fine style attracting over 800 people. The viewing
site was open every evening thereafter for the six month Barn Swallow season and proved to be a tourist
attraction of note.
In 2007 another 1800m² of land was added to the viewing site and terraced accordingly to accommodate the vast
numbers of people coming to witness this event.
Maintenance and improvements are ongoing.
Froggy Pond Viewing
The need for a second viewing site emerged when the Barn
Swallows failed to roost at Lake Victoria 2010/2011 season due to the reedbed rehabilitating itself. This caused
much upset and disappointment with swallow watchers not seeing the usual evening display over Lake
thereafter I would lead a convoy of spectators in their cars around the corner and once all had re-parked we
would view the swallows from the street as this was the only available option, a Swallow viewing street
would joke with the swallow watchers whowere very appreciative of the
efforts, PR and overall execution of this plan. It worked: everyone
thoroughly enjoyed this ‘Swallow Experience’.
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) owners of the Froggy Pond
reedbed, Mr Colin Naidoo and Fikile Zungu were presented with a draft proposal for a Barn Swallow viewing
site at Froggy Pond January 2011, this was received favorably. Work
began with the removal of alien
vegetation, thereafter came the terracing, signage and rehabilitation.