At a glance: Birding in the Kruger Park and surrounding areas
The Lowveld, located at less than 500 metres (1640 feet) above sea level, is in the far Northern and Eastern parts of South Africa, and includes parts of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. The Lowveld lies at the convergence of three of southern Africa’s climatic influences. These are the mild influence from the south, a more humid tropical influence from the north, and an dry influence from the west. The world famous Kruger National Park, one of the iconic wildlife destinations on the planet, is situated in this area and is known to support more than 500 bird species (due to the above mentioned rich vegetation and habitat diversity), about 60% of the species found in the entire Southern African sub-region.
We offer dedicated day trips to this area for birders looking to add some birds to their life lists. Of course, apart from birds, there is also the possibility of encountering the famous Big 5 and many other fascinating creatures, as well as seeing classic African landscapes.
The 20 000 km2 Kruger National Park is without doubt the best birding destination in Southern Africa. Visits to Kruger are generally done as part of a longer and wider-reaching birding or wildlife trip and despite its enormous wealth of birds visitors wanting a more representative Southern African list are advised to combine birding in the Park with other habitats nearby. It is basically a mosaic of lowland savannas and woodlands, bisected by wooded, seasonally flowing rivers, with dams and pans dotted throughout.
How it works:
Our guide will pick up guests early in the morning from where they are staying, as birding is best before it gets too hot. Kruger Park gate times vary throughout the year, but most pick-ups will be at around 5am depending on where you are staying.
We can arrange pick up from your accommodation venue in Nelspruit, Malelane, Marloth Park, Hazyview, or even from your rest camp inside Kruger if you are already in the park. We can also arrange to pick up guests at all the Kruger Park entrance gates in southern Kruger.
We will embark on our trip in our custom built open safari vehicle which afford all guests great comfort and the optimal view of birds, even flying raptors!
Your guide will focus on finding you the the best birds of the Park.
Special birds that could be seen:
Pel’s Fishing Owl, White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot, Black Stork, Lappet-faced, White-headed and Cape Vulture, Pallid Harrier, African Grass Owl, Senegal Lapwing, Thrush Nightingale, Crowned Eagle, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler and others.
Likely birds that should be seen:
Woolly-necked, Saddle-billed and Marabou Stork, African Openbill, White-backed and Hooded Vulture, Martial and Tawny Eagle, Bateleur, Kori Bustard, Secretarybird, Southern Ground Hornbill, White-crowned Lapwing, Bearded Scrub Robin, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Brown-headed Parrot, Retz’s Helmetshrike and many more.
Learning about the trees, animals, insects and general bush and nature around you is also on the cards. And don’t be surprised if you see a few members of Africa’s famous Big 5!
We will stop at picnic spots and rest camps throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and restroom breaks.
Pick up at around 05:00 am from October to March and at 05:30 am from April to September.
Drop off between 16h00-17h00 pm.
These times can be adjusted according to your personal needs and situation.
The Day trip includes:
• Water, basic raincoats and blankets will be included on the vehicle.
• A professional field guide/specialist with expert knowledge of the park and its birds
• All meals and other drinks are for the client’s own account.
What to pack:
• Sun cream or sunscreen spray
• Hat (preferably with a chin strap so it doesn’t blow away in the wind)
• Comfortable shoes
• Camera and/or a pair of binoculars
• Warm clothing in the winter months
• Rain jacket in the summer months
We also offer trips a little further afield, including:
The subtropical town of Nelspruit offers accessible and high quality lowveld birding in its lush suburbs and parks, the Botanical Gardens and the local Nature Reserve.
Likely Birds: Olive and Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Purple-crested Turaco, African Green Pigeon, Southern Boubou, African Black Duck, Mountain Wagtail, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Collared Sunbird, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Tambourine Dove, Spectacled, Thick-billed and Golden Weaver, Red-backed Mannikin and Green Twinspot.
Blyde River Canyon:
The spectacularly beautiful and geographically important Blyde River Canyon offers stunning photographic opportunities along with some excellent birding.
Likely Birds: Southern Bald Ibis, Taita Falcon, Wing-snapping, Wailing, Croaking and Levaillant’s Cisticola, Broad-tailed Warbler, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Rock Thrush, Buff-streaked and Familiar Chat, Mocking Cliff Chat, Cape Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle, Rock Kestrel, Lanner and Peregrine Falcon.
The dense Afromontane forest area with its crags and valleys on and around the mountain of Mariepskop is also an essential area to visit.
Likely Birds: : Crowned Eagle, Barratt’s Warbler, Orange Ground Thrush, Brown Scrub Robin, Cape Canary, Bush Blackcap, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Southern Tchagra, Red-necked Spurfowl, Swee Waxbill, Red-collared Widowbird and Gurney’s Sugarbird.
Another picturesque mountainous area with pristine Afromontane forest patches, with small streams that cascade down the hills in ferns and moss-rich gullies, is the Magoebaskloof.
Likely Birds: Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Bat Hawk, Cape Parrot, Black and African Emerald Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, Green Twinsport, Square-tailed Drongo, Olive Woodpecker, Orange Ground Thrush, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Tambourine and Lemon Dove and the White-starred Robin.
All these day trips can be combined as an extension before or after your existing Kruger National Park safari with us.
For more information about Birding in the Kruger contact our team at email@example.com