An annual Cycle in the Bush was conceptualized by the previous Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Programme years ago. The recent event was a 4-day, 3-night trip held at the exclusive Selati Game Reserve in Limpopo with the aim to raise funds for BirdLife South Africa’s East Atlantic Flyway Initiative (EAFI) project within the Regional Conservation Programme. EAFI aims to create a network of steppingstone sites that are used by migratory birds by identifying conservation priorities and increasing capacity for conservation along this Flyway. The project is partnering with and supporting countries (Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe specifically) to understand and report their biodiversity. Through training and capacity building, countries will improve their knowledge on the key threats these species face along the flyway, improve the conservation and ultimately the management of important sites, expand the network of areas which are protected and conserved and influence policies to ensure better protection of migratory species, nationally, regionally, and internationally. BirdLife South Africa’s EAFI Project Manager is supported through the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB). It was fortunate that Ian Barber, Senior Flyway Programme Officer, could join the BirdLife South Africa team of representatives for this event.
This fun-filled, all-inclusive, long weekend had various activities for guests to take part in. Ranging from leisurely morning rides on trails conducted by expert guide, David Havemann from Ecotraining, who shared his extensive knowledge on the African bush; to afternoon game drives with sundowners and additional activities such as bird watching, star gazing, signs of the bush and learning more about all aspects of nature. Awareness was raised about the important work of the BirdLife South Africa conservation team through a presentation by BirdLife South Africa’s Head of Conservation, Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson. Lance Robinson (BirdLife South Africa Recommended Course Provider) enlightened the guests with a presentation on bird migration. The theme of migration was expanded on in Ian Barber’s presentation on the RSPB’s interest, support, and involvement in the conservation of birds along the East Atlantic Flyway.