Mount Moreland Barn Swallow Viewing Site
World Famous Barn Swallows
Mount Moreland Barn Swallow Viewing Site Entrance and Barn Swallow Mass at
Arrive half an hour before sunset
In South Africa, as spring arrives, 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 mid November up to 3 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 20 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
Barn Swallow Viewing
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
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 Victoria wetland.
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 erected.
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
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
Every evening 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 part. I 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.