What was at first considered a crazy idea soon turned into a reality as the late Corky Kelly constructed Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
The farm was officially opened by the Administrator of KwaZulu Natal Mr C.B.Botha on the 24th November 1981.
Designed by local architect Eben Du Plessis and constructed by the owner, Corky Kelly the farm has grown in the last 25 years and has now hosted more than 1.5 million visitors establishing itself as one of KwaZulu Natal???s major tourist attractions. While the initial crocodiles were obtained from Spencer???s Creek Crocodile Farm in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe additional crocodiles from Namibia, South Africa and now home bred crocodiles form the nucleus of one of the most successful crocodile breeding basks in South Africa.
The first crocodiles to be born at Riverbend where hatched in the summer of 1983.
Interestingly, the last wild crocodile recorded on the lower South Soast was a notorious crocodile which had been terrorizing bathers on the Uvongo beach and which was finally shot in 1864 at the base of the Uvongo waterfall.
Riverbend Crocodile Farm owned by the Kelly family has been managed by Howard Kelly the eldest son of the late Corky Kelly since 1989. The farm is open daily with the exception of Good Friday and Xmas day each year and the operating hours are from 9h00 to 16h30 daily.
Home to more than 200 adult nile crocodiles and numerous juveniles of all sizes, tourist visiting Riverbend Crocodile Farm are able to view the crocodiles in their natural habitat. Beautifully landscaped breeding enclosures are not only home to crocodiles but to numerous bird species as well.
An education centre provides visitors with information related to crocodile biology, and a comprehensive audio visual presentation in English, Afrikaans, German and Zulu runs continuously. This presentation also covers the life cycle of crocodiles and snakes and also details the day-to-day activities of the Farm. Crocodiles are fed weekly on Sundays at 15h00 and on certain advertised Wednesdays in summer.
The crocodile feeding presented by Howard Kelly is particularly spectacular in summer when the crocodiles go into a feeding frenzy consuming as much as five kilograms of either beef or chicken each.
Over the last 20 years Howard Kelly, a member of the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group, has presented the visitors to Riverbend with a fascinating presentation which covers topics ranging from crocodile ecology to the impact of crocodiles on human populations in Africa. Having worked with crocodiles for more than 25 years Howard has imparted some fascinating knowledge to thousands of visitors and his crocodile hatching demonstrations in January and February have become legendary on the South Coast. Thousands of visitors returning each year just to experience this wonderful natural phenomenon.
It is essential to contact the farm for details of these and other demonstrations.
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