Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Meandering Mooi River

Beautifully tranquil, the Mooi River flows past my friend's guest house in Kwa- Zulu Natal

A female Egyptian Goose (right) and her brood of half-grown ducklings

Mooi River takes its name from the Afrikaans language. The early settlers were so impressed by the natural beauty of the river that they called it 'mooi' (pretty).

Further upstream, the Mooi River Falls are an awesome site when the river is in flood.

The predominant occupation in the area, which also includes a farming town calle Mooi River, is dairy- and stock farming. The Mooi River district is home to several of South Africa's finest stud farms and many offer tours to visitors.

Mooi River is part of the Midlands Meander.

Last month while visiting our friends who own a beautiful guest house on the Mooi River, my husband and I spent many wonderful hours bird watching on the banks of these tranquil waters. (You can read about the crocodile we spotted here) I took photos and will share our weekend away with you at a later date.

However this morning I thought I might show you a mother duck and her almost-fully-grown ducklings I managed to photograph on the Mooi River.

These duck (photographed above), known as Egyptian Geese, are common and abundantly spread around Southern Africa except in areas of severe aridity and high altitude. According to the distribution map in my Roberts Birds of Southern Africa VII th Edition, they’re not plentiful in Central and West African Interior and definitely rare in East Africa. Can anyone out there confirm this observation?

Egyptian Geese frequent inland water bodies, lakes, dams and marshes. They are monogamous breeders and solitary nesters. They make their nests on the ground in dense vegetation or among rocks on islands in the middle of a river. There are also records of nests being made on top of used or usurped tree nests of raptors.

Six hours after hatching, a nestling is able to slide or jump from a ground-level nest without adult help but in response to encouraging vocal calls from the female. Chicks which fall from elevated nests are usually stunned (!) after hitting the ground but recover after approximately four minutes. Young are escorted to the water by both the parents leading in front.

Many years ago my husband and I halted our vehicle just outside our town and watched a pair of Egyptian Geese leading a brood of fifteen ducklings across our path to a roadside dam. Unfortunately I wasn’t blogging in those days so, no photo!


  1. Hi Jo,that is a great post, I like the bit about the ducklings usually being stunned after falling out of their nest!
    Best wishes

  2. Thanks Peggy, yes, isn't nature amazing. Imagine if a newborn human baby had to fall out of a tree and hit the ground. Ergh! Thanks for popping in. Hugs Jo

  3. Hi Jo, I'm Bob.
    What a shame such a beautiful scene hides such horrible things as crocodiles!
    It's like the 'top-end' of Australia - beautiful, but very dangerous.

    Keep up the good blogging. I like your blog. I came across it from Lynda's blog. You 'African girls' sure do have a lot to blog about!

  4. Hi Roberto, Welcome to my blog. Ditto to your comment: to think that my hubby and I swam in this river! (just below the warning sign - which didn't exist then, because no-one knew about the crocodiles!) I feel as if I "know" you from Lynda's blog. I've visited some of your blogs never commenting. I'll pop by soon. Hugs Jo


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo