The Blog

June & Eddie – October 2016

Many thanks indeed for a wonderful three-night stay at your lovely homestead which was the highlight of our trip; your hospitality and the whole ambiance of your Guest House made for a very successful end to our stay in SA. The lovely food , particularly the breakfasts in the beautiful garden with the warmth and the abundant birdlife was

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Barry & Bev Smith – July 2016

Dear Malcolm and Gail, Bev and I wish to thank for most sincerely for an outstanding stay at your guest house. From the moment we arrived with a royal welcome and thereafter everything was great. It was very pleasant to meet with your other guests  for pre dinner drinks and a great dinner, which is

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Beth Hackland – 24 November 2014

Hi Gail & Malcolm On behalf of the club I have to say a BIG thank-you to you & your team. It was one of the very nicest, and most productive of birding outings that we have ever done. The accommodation was really beautifully done, the food delicious, & number of new specials and lifers

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Eike Diederichs – 04 April 2014

Dear Malcolm and Gail, it has been a special pleasure to spend time with you, a highly professional and pleasant birding guide and also enjoying the hospitality of your guest house and kitchen, ably run by Gail. It is clear to see why many serious birders from all over the globe would choose Creighton as

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Martin Rautenbach – 30 January 2014

Hi Gail, We are back from Nsikeni and sorry we did not book for an extra day, but will definitely be back. It was awesome, just a pity about the road, this place has enormous potential, and I would like to promote it to my friends overseas who will be coming to South Africa for

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MARK TITTLEY – 15 November 2013

Trip Report by Mark Tittley from 15 to 18th November 2013 I had the experience of a lifetime in November 2013 when I joined birders from Bird Life Northern Gauteng (BLNG) for what was called The Great Bittern Hunt. One of the big target birds for anyone birding around Creighton (with Button Birding) is to

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Naas Olivier – February 2013

Dear Malcolm and Gail (for the lunchbox), I would like to thank you for a well organised trip up the mountain. All of us were blessed and enjoyed it tremendously. JJJJ !!!! Thanx for the special efforts to find the Rockjumper, Mountain Pipit, Thickbilled Lark, Yellow Canary and siskins, etc. Pity about the Horus, Cape

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Michael Graham – January 2013

Mike visits, KZN, Zululand and Pondoland This trip was planned for me to pick up on specials that eluded me a year ago when I was up here and with using Malcolm Gemmell (Button Birding) as my guide again we were going to get to grips with some Palearctic Migrants. Day 1 – 7th January

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Thomas Howell – October 2012

Malcolm & Gail: Ann and I want to thank you for your hospitality last month – we thoroughly enjoyed our visit with you folks. It was a very relaxing way to end our visit to South Africa and Botswana. It was a long way back home after Malcolm dropped us at the airport (35 hours

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Joc and Anni Forsyth – October 2012

Dear Malcom and Gail, I was a marvellous impulse which prompted Graham and Jill Cox to take up to Smithfield to sample your multi-layered hospitality information and entertainment. You provided us with a marvellous and memorable experience which we will not readily forget – comfort, friendliness, super food, splendid birds and a host of impressions,

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PAUL & ROB – NOVEMBER 2012

We had a fantastic time with you and the Sani Pass trip was the highlight of the tour for Robert and in my top two. Malcolm is a top notch guide; we always felt that we were properly birding with someone who knew where to go and what to look / listen out for rather

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MICHAEL GRAHAM – MARCH 2011

Trip Report – Wild Coast and Creighton Day 1 After a good flight up from Cape Town, Malcolm Gemmell (Button Birding) picked us up at King Shaka Airport for the trip back to Creighton via Umhlanga where his lovely wife Gail had been doing some “serious food shopping� in preparation for the 5 nights at

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DEBORAH RICHIE – 13 JULY 2010

Dear Gail and Malcolm, We are home and adjusting to long days of summer and the sound of our magpies and crows in the mornings instead of Hadeda Ibis…it’s disconcerting! We loved South Africa. Starting out at your home was the best. Ian talks about Malcolm as his very favorite adult of the whole trip—–you

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LISL VAN DEVENTER – 17 & 18 MARCH 2010

This was my first visit to Creighton, with a wish list of only 8 birds. Malcolm really went out of his way to find these birds, and to top it all I listed 112 species in 2 days in a 10km radius around Creighton! The highlights for me were: Southern Bald Ibis, South African Shelduck,

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MICHAEL GRAHAM – MARCH 2010

Day 1 – 4th March It’s 0300 and time to get up and head for Cape Town Airport for the flight to Durban at 0630. This is the early start of many early starts during the following 10 days. The flight is 25 minutes ahead on of schedule on arrival so off to a good

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MICHAEL GRAHAM – 22 OCTOBER 2009

Day 1. An early start from Hermanus at 0300 in order to catch the 0615 Mango flight to Durban. A strong tail wind gets us into Durban 25 minutes early at 0800. The first lifer for the trip is sitting on the tarmac, a Mynah Bird. Malcolm Gemmell of Button Birding, an ex-farmer and our

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MICHAEL GRAHAM – 01 OCTOBER 2009

Margaret and I were privileged to be part of the inaugural N3TC (N3 Toll Concession) Birding Trip to the Drakensberg and Sani Pass in November. Arranged through BLSA Travel Department, this was a trial run to see if the route was worth advertising. We were joined by Con Roux (head of the N3 Toll Route),

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MICHAEL GRAHAM – 16 SEPTEMBER 2009

12th. After a pleasant flight up from Cape Town and an overnight stay close to Johannesburg Airport, Malcolm pick Margaret and I up shortly after 0815 for our 7 hour drive to Punda Maria Camp. Traffic was light and we made good time. On arrival at the park gate it was out with the binoculars

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DERRICK WILBY – 24 FEBRUARY 2008

Hello Everyone, I have just returned from a 4 week South African holiday when I birded the two most hottest locations – Sani Pass and the Cape Pelagic! – SA Birding advertises the Sani Pass as one of the top 10 birding spots – both of these are probably SA’s best! It was my first

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IRENE RASMUSSEN – 30 OCTOBER 2006

Just spent the weekend birding with Malcolm Gemmell around Creighton and Nsekeni. Saw some really good birds including THE EURASIAN BITTERN !!( thanks to Malcolm’s perseverance and skill ). When we saw the extent of this vast Nsekeni vlei we really did not have any real expectations of actually seeing this rare and elusive bird.

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CHRIS CAMERON & JULIE DAWSON – 27 SEPTEMBER 2005

We arrived at Durban airport in a light drizzle and picked up our rental car, a Volkswagen Sharan. It took us a while to get underway because the car, which had less than 1000 km on the clock, had a faulty light on the dashboard. After agreeing with the rental company that they’d record the

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HELM VAN ZIJL – 01 April 2005

Gill and I spent this past Monday and Tuesday at Smithfield Guest House run by Malcolm and Gail Gemmel. Malcolm is an entusiastic and helpfull guide. With little dificulty we flushed 2 male Black-Rumped Buttonquails. We had an unsuccesfull attempt to see Striped Flufftail, but we did have excellent views of 2 Blue Swallows. On

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ROB CLIFF – 28 March 2005

Hi to all birders I am sure everyone has been birding all over the country this long weekend… My girlfriend and I spent 2 full days in Creighton at Smithfield Guest House – the home of Button Birding. To anyone who wants to do birding in this area (which is full of exciting specials) I

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NEELS JACKSON – 19 January 2005

Hallo almal Ek en my vrou, Louise, het ‘n wonderlike week (voëlkykgewys én andersins) in die Suidelike Drakensberg deurgebring ter viering van ons 21ste troudagherdenking. By Boesmansnek waar ons gebly het, het die bokmakieries byna daagliks in die plante voor ons huisie gesing, Kaapse kanaries het ‘n draai kom maak, gebande oewerswaels was gereeld daar

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HELEN & EARL – 01 January 2005

Before Christmas, Lauren read about Creighton in the December issue of Getaway, which I’d brought up from Cape Town. The cover feature was on South Africa’s favourite ‘dorps.� “Creighton is just up the drag,� she said. “and there’s a place there that does birding tours. Perhaps you could pop up there for a visit.� We

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RYAN EBEDES – 05 December 2004

Sometimes, memorable birding experiences come not from the sightings themselves, but rather from the signs that your elusive target is, or has been, present nearby. Often, a trogon calling from dense forest can elicit the same amount of excitement as finding the bird itself, and it’s moments such as these that can make our hobby

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JIM & MORNA – 29 November 2004

(EXCERPTS FROM A KWAZULU-NATAL BIRDING TRIP) Greetings, All! Before the joys of our recent KwaZulu Natal birding trip are completely submerged in the pre-Christmas rush, I thought I`d drop you a line to tell you of fresh wonders awaiting you all out there … in case any of you are looking for new places to

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RYAN EBEDES – 27 May 2004

Hi All, On Thursday the 27th of May a morning’s birding in the Creighton area in the hope of finding the endangered Cape Parrot proved highly successful, and began with one of the finest starts one could ever wish to have for a day’s birding. In the company of Malcolm Gemmell, we set off at

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MICHAEL MILLS – 16 November 2003

(EXCERPTS FROM AN EASTERN SOUTH AFRICA BIRD TRIP) We headed immediately to the south along the coast of the Indian Ocean, then cut inland to the town of Creighton and the Smithfield Guest House where Malcolm and Gail Gemmell made us very welcome. Malcolm would take us up the Sani Pass to Lesotho the next

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MICHAEL BUCKHAM – 08 May 2003

(EXCERPTS FROM THE CAPE TO KWAZULU-NATAL BIRD TRIP) We took a leisurely drive from Underberg to the beautiful Creighton Valley with a stop at the Nxumeni Forest in Donnybrook. This is a stunning afro-montane forest just outside the town of Donnybrook and despite our short time there it was easy to tell that is would

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JOHN HOPKINS – 20 November 2001

Around Creighton 20/11/01 Black-headed Heron – 3 Great Egret – 1 Cattle Egret – 25 Hamerkop – 1 Hadada Ibis – 10 Whitefaced Whistling Duck – 6 Egyptian Goose – common Spurwinged Goose – 10 Yellowbilled Duck – 10 Blackshouldered Kite – 2 Yellow-billed (Black) Kite – 6 Gymnogene – 1 Black Goshawk – 1

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