Eastern South Africa - Wildlife Tours
Sustain's Eastern South Africa birding tour combines mountain vistas with the abundant animals and birds of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, the predator havens of Sabi Sand and Kapama, the abundant northern Zululand game reserves and lake systems. This journey will also lead us into several big wildlife areas for superb game viewing and memorable adventures in unique and breathtaking habitats. We typically use the affordable and comfortable park accommodation, but should you prefer, several superb private lodge options are also on offer in world-class private reserves.
Some target species include: Our chances of witnessing the classic ‘Big Five’ (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and both White Rhino and Black Rhino) are excellent, while other sought-after mammals such as African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Honey Badger, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Sable, Baboon, Samango Monkey, Thick-tailed Bushbaby and the majestic Kudu are likely.
Sabi Sand & Kapama Region
The Sabi Sand Reserve is the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in Southern Africa, and is the oldest of all the private reserves in the country and spans 65,000 hectares. It has only ever been a wilderness area and is home to a vast wildlife population, including The Big Five, and a number of endangered species too. Both Sabi Sand and Kapama (13,000ha) reserves flank the Kruger National Park, and animals pass unhindered between the unfenced borders of the reserves.
Nowhere in South Africa will one find a wildlife experience quite like this. Sharing a vast unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, these immense and diverse tracts of land are home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant), and many more. The predator abundance is remarkable.
Three rivers, the Sand River, Sabie River, and Klaserie River supply these reserves with a valuable water source. The sustenance of these rivers ensures that this area enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in Africa. Over two hundred different species live in abundance, whilst the ever changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
This 96,000ha reserve complex is the oldest in Africa, established in 1895. As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Park became world-renowned for its white rhino conservation. It is also famous for being the royal hunting grounds of past Zulu kings. The reserve is positioned 2,5hrs and 220km north of Durban in central Zululand.
The varied topography and wide range of habitat types provide a multitude of diverse game viewing opportunities including the “Big 5”, wild dog and cheetah. Birding is also great with some 340 species on offer, including many raptors.
Mkhuze Game Reserve
Mkhuze Game Reserve was established in 1912 and is 40,000ha in extent. It is situated in northern Zululand, approximately 4hrs and 395km from Durban. Today it forms part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
A place of great beauty and high contrasts, Mkhuze is renowned as a mecca for bird lovers with more than 420 bird species on record. It also presents diverse game viewing opportunities including the “Big 5”, wild dog and cheetah. Mkhuze has an exceptional variety of natural habitats: from the Eastern slopes of the Lebombo Mountains, to broad stretches of acacia savannah, swamps and a variety of woodlands, riverine and sand forest.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park covers 19,685sq.km and is the tenth largest game reserve in the world. It has 3,000km of road, 23 rest camps and a host of excellent picnic sites, walking trails, 4x4 routes, hides and massive dams. Kruger supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.
The big game viewing in Kruger rivals that of any reserve in Africa with large elephant, buffalo and lion populations being relatively easily seen. Every year over a million visitors tally up in the region of 520 bird species.
Birders can also look forward to pursuing the big 6: Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel's Fishing-Owl and Southern Ground Hornbill.
Birding is best in the summer months (November to March) with the arrival of summer migrants but a remarkable amount of birds can be seen in the winter months (May to July).
Tembe Elephant Park
This 30,012ha reserve is the home to the world's largest land animal and Africa's smallest antelope, the suni. It was proclaimed a national park by Chief Mzimba Tembe in 1983. The reserve is positioned 4,5hrs and 405km north of Durban in Maputaland.
This unique reserve boasts the largest elephants in southern Africa and greatest tree diversity in South Africa, with exceptional sand forest habitats. It plays host to the “Big 5”, wild dog and many others. The birding is also exceptional, with more than 340 species on offer, including many rarities and endemics. Tembe's butterfly diversity is also unsurpassed.
Cape Vidal - Isimangaliso Wetland Park
Cape Vidal lies on the eastern shores of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, just north of St Lucia. The reserve is positioned 3hrs and 220km north of Durban in eastern Zululand.
This world heritage site contains a complex interlinked series of 5 eco-systems providing very diverse game viewing and birding opportunities. The reserve is particularly good for leopard, rhino, buffalo and hippo. Make use of the waterways for incredible hippo and crocodile viewing while simultaneously taking in the astounding scenery, beaches and birdlife.
The reserve is particularly good for Southern-banded Snake-Eagles, Woodward's Batis, Green Twinspot, Green Malkoha, Narina Trogon and many others.
In addition is boasts an amazing beach and beautiful coastline, which offers superb snorkelling.