Kruger Region, South Africa - Birding

Sustain's Kruger region birding combines mountain vistas, canyons, and mist-belt forests with the abundant birds and animals of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, and the unique grasslands and wetlands of Wakkerstroom. This journey will also lead us into some of the most picturesque views in the country, and big wildlife areas for superb game viewing.

 

Some target species include: Blue Korhaan, Rudd’s and Botha’s Lark, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Taita Falcon, Orange Ground Thrush, Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Red-necked Spurfowl and Gurneys Sugarbird, African Finfoot, White-backed Night Heron, Green Twinspot, Chorister Robin-Chat, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Batis, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, powerful African Crowned-Eagle, stately Blue and Wattled Crane, and Kruger's Big 6: Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel's Fishing-Owl and Southern Ground Hornbill. Our chances of witnessing the classic ‘Big Five’ (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino) are excellent, while other sought-after mammals include African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Honey Badger, Eland and Sable.

Highlands Meander & Panorama Region
(Mpumalanga)

The Highveld Plateau is dominated by grasslands and is largely devoid of native trees except along some rivers and sheltered hillsides. Extends across eastern Mpumalanga at an altitude of between 1400m and 1800m ASL.

 

Characteristic birds of this habitat include Long-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Cape Longclaw, Black-shouldered Kite, Blue Crane and Rufous-naped Lark. Prized endemics such as Rudd's Lard, Botha's Lark and Yellow-breasted Pipit occur in pristine pockets of this habitat.

 

The escarpment foothills is a region of hills, valleys and boulder outcrops, with forest pockets, thicket and broad-leaved woodlands. Fast flowing rivers and waterfalls are a feature during the wet season. Small patches of evergreen forest exist in sheltered ravines and kloofs in the eastern escarpment. 

 

Characteristic birds include: Chorister Robin-Chat, Cape Parrot, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Batis, White-starred Robin, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon and African Crowned-Eagle.

Grass & Wetlands Region
(Mpumalanga)

The Highveld plateau is sprinkled with pan systems which fill up during the wet summer season and typically hold water into winter. These ephemeral wetlands are a magnet for waterfowl, with ducks, geese, herons, cormorants and others often in abundance. Blue, Grey Crowned and Wattled Cranes breed in these natural wetlands, while plovers and migratory sandpipers forage on mudflats.

 

The region includes Wakkerstroom and Chrissiesmeer.

 

Target wetland birds: African Crake, Red-chested Flufftail, Grey Crowned Crane, African Grass-Owl, Greater Painted-Snipe, African Purple Swamphen and African Marsh-Harrier

 

Target grassland species: Rudd's Lark, Botha's Lark, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Southern Bald Ibis, Blue Korhaan, Denham's Bustard, Buff-streaked Chat, Sentinel Rock-Thrush and Ground Woodpecker.

 

Target forest species: Bush Blackcap and Chorister Robin-Chat.

Kruger National Park - Wild Frontier
(Mpumalanga)

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. The big game viewing in Kruger rival 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). A birding trip to Kurger National Park should be on the agenda of any birder in South Africa.

Escarpment Foothills
(Mpumalanga & Limpopo)

The escarpment foothills is a region of hills, valleys and boulder outcrops, with forest pockets, thicket and broad-leaved woodlands. Fast flowing rivers and waterfalls are a feature during the wet season. Small patches of evergreen forest exist in sheltered ravines and kloofs in the eastern escarpment. 

 

Characteristic birds include: Bat Hawk, Chorister Robin-Chat, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Batis, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon and African Crowned-Eagle, Barratt's Warbler and Cape Longclaw.

 

The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, which includes the Swadini Dam, offers a wide variety of typical bushveld bird species and also includes African Finfoot, White-backed Night Heron, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Forest Canary, and Green Twinspot.

 

Mariepskop, is largely dominated by Afro-montane Forest, but also includes a piece of Northern Escarpment Afromontane Fynbos habitat at the summit. Exploring both habitats assures a treasured day's birding with species such as Orange Ground Thrush, Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Red-necked Spurfowl and Gurneys Sugarbird.