Peddlar’s Bush is a stunning patch of indigenous forest located behind the historic town of Barberton in the Makhonjwa Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
These beautiful mountains are also known as the Barberton Greenstone Belt or Barberton Mountain Land, and ranges in altitude from 600 to 1,800 metres (2,000 to 5,900 ft) above sea level. The mountain range has produced some of the oldest undisputed signs of life on Earth, and this has led to the area also being known as the “Genesis of life”.
The small forest patch (60 hectare) of Peddlar’s Bush is set among pine plantations, but offers fantastic forest birding, with over 300 species having been seen here. Many regional endemic and other special species can be seen here in a morning.
Top birds in this forest patch include Orange Ground Thrush, Bush Blackcap, Olive Woodpecker, Grey Cuckooshrike, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, African Emerald Cuckoo (in summer), Trumpeter and Crowned Hornbill, Olive Bushshrike, Square-tailed Drongo, Chorister Robin-Chat, Green Twinspot, Brown Scrub and White-starred Robin, Scaly-throated and Lesser Honeyguide, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Olive Sunbird, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Barratt’s Warbler and many more.
Other more common birds in the forest include Lemon and Tambourine Dove, African Olive Pigeon, Olive Thrush, Cape White-eye, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, and Cape and Forest Canary.
The habitats, apart from the cool, lush forest, also include hillsides up the Saddleback Pass with proteas (South Africa’s national flower) and boulders, as well as areas with bracken fern.
Here some of the birds to look out for include Gurney’s Sugarbird, Cape Rock Thrush, Red-winged Francolin, Drakensberg Prinia, Malachite Sunbird, African Firefinch, Buff-streaked Chat, Fan-tailed Grassbird, Swee Waxbill and Wailing Cisticola.
Regular upward glances might produce Crowned Eagle, Jackal and Forest Buzzard, African Goshawk, Rock Kestrel, White-necked Raven and Alpine Swift.
Peddlar’s Bush makes an ideal morning trip for enjoying a range of different birds not seen in the Kruger National Park. It is only a 90 minute drive from Kruger’s Malelane Gate and only an hour from Nelspruit. A short birding trip here will make your whole Lowveld or Kruger experience even better!
To book your expert-guided birding tour in the Kruger Park and surrounding areas, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org