The Black Eagles of Roodekrans
For those of you who have been watching Africam over the years you will be familiar with the Black Eagles of Roodekrans. We have often been asked questions relating to how we get the camera pictures from the nest onto the internet, and what are the physical and technical challenges we have had to face in order to achieve this.
The most physical challenge is the fact that the nest is some 30m (90ft) off the ground on a cliff face. In the pictures below you can see the cliff face with the waterfall in the right hand corner. There are in fact two nesting sites on this cliff, but the eagles have chosen to use there current nesting site for some years now. Making our life easier!
The red circle shows where the current nesting site is, the blue is where the camera is located.
Only with special permission and at certain times of the year are we allowed onto the cliff face. This is to minimize the impact on the eagles. Using special rock climbing equipment we lower ourselves off the top of the cliff to gain access to the camera. Initially we had to carry all the equipment up and over the cliff face by hand, which was no easy feat. As there is no electricity we have installed a solar powered system mounted on a ledge just above the camera.
In the pictures above you can see Lance (left) and myself, Campbell (right) preparing for a maintenance trip.
The feed from the camera runs up the cliff to the ledge via cable to where the solar panels are mounted. From there the signal is sent via a wireless analog link to the entrance of the botanical gardens about 800m away, where the live real-time video feed can be watched on a TV in the visitor centre. At the entrance we have an ADSL internet connection where we have a PC that cuts this live feed into slices and then published on Africam
For more information please check out the cam info section click here