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The red-billed quelea

Luke Street | Conservation

The Red-billed Quelea is one of the most fascinating of our feathered friends in the Greater Kruger as well as throughout most of Africa. A bird that is either greatly admired or strongly disliked. Generally safari goers love them, but farmers are not huge fans due to the locust-like effect that they can have when they move across a farm.

Right now at Tanda Tula Safari Camp there is an incredible breeding colony just up the road from the lodge – this is the most amazing sight to behold. The noise of these tiny birds is actually deafening, but at the same time totally awe inspiring. Here are three interesting facts about Africa’s most abundant bird:

1. The Quelea is Africa’s most plentiful bird, with estimations of over a billion residing in Southern Africa alone. One can easily imagine the sight of these birds flocking in their tens of thousands and potentially even millions, during good seasons.

2. A good summer season will see their numbers grow exponentially in a very short amount of time. Unbelievably females can lay, hatch and raise up to three generations in a single season! What’s more is that chicks that were hatched at the beginning of the season are very often ready at the end of the season to breed and raise chicks of their own.

3. The huge numbers of these birds and the amount of seeds and grains they eat has sadly lead to them being considered a pest bird in sub-Saharan Africa. Hence many farmers have tried a number of things in order to attempt a reduction in their numbers.

One way or another this is an incredible species of bird that is capable of astonishing and even destructive things. In their natural environment, they are nothing but a pleasure to be around.



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Booking Terms & Conditions

Rates are quoted in South African Rand (ZAR) and include VAT. Rates are reviewed quarterly and are subject to change.


Bookings can be held as provisional for up to 14 days, after which the booking is required to release or confirm. A 20% refundable deposit is required to confirm the booking.


Once confirmed with a 20% deposit, the booking is held on a status of ‘confirmed with refundable deposit’ until any of the following becomes true:

  • The booking is cancelled in writing by the agent.
  • Another request is received with overlapping dates. At such a time, the 20% refundable deposit shall be required to be converted
  • into a 20% non-refundable commitment fee. At this stage, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with commitment.’ • In such an event, Tanda Tula will contact the client and give them the option to either confirm with the non-refundable
  • commitment fee or reschedule their dates, or, failing that, to release the booking.
  • At 60 days prior to arrival, when the full payment is due, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with full-payment.’

Final payment is due 60 days prior to arrival. Any outstanding balance on the total reservation value shall be required to be settled at 60 days prior to arrival.

All refundable deposits, commitment fees and full payments are held in a separate call account and do not become part of the operational cash flow until the guest has stayed.

The amount stated on the invoice is what must be received by Tanda Tula nett of bank charges.


Cancellations must be received and acknowledged by Tanda Tula in writing.

‘Confirmed with refundable deposit’: bookings carry no cancellation fees up to 61 days prior to arrival.

‘Confirmed with commitment’ or ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: in the event of any reservation being cancelled after Tanda Tula has issued a confirmation, for any reason other than a WHO-recognised pandemic that impacts the booking, the following cancellation fees will apply:

  • ‘Confirmed with commitment’: if cancelled more than 60 days prior to arrival, the cancellation fee shall be equal to the 20% non- refundable commitment fee.
  • ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: if cancelled between 60 days prior to arrival, the full reservation value is forfeited.

All cancelled bookings that qualify for a refund, will be refunded less a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.


Tanda Tula will allow postponement of a booking for up to 12 months, if travel is cancelled with a commitment fee or 60 days or less prior to arrival due to a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the guests’ ability to travel (e.g. lockdown, no flights, guest not allowed to board a flight, guest falls ill due to a pandemic and unable to travel).

In the event of a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the ability of Tanda Tula to meet its obligations with respect to the booking, all monies received, including the commitment fee, will be fully refunded (e.g. lockdown in RSA, government restrictions on trade).

Any refund is given at the discretion of Tanda Tula management and will be charge a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.

All travellers are advised to take out fully comprehensive travel insurance with ‘cancellation for no reason’. This insurance must be able to fully cover cancellation of travel fewer than 60 days prior to arrival.

The Terms and Conditions are subject to change without notice.