Kruger’s Best Birding Drives

Kruger’s Best Birding Drives

Pafuri produces arguably the most exciting birding in Kruger.

The picnic site can be reached by taking an early start from Punda Maria, or staying at Pafuri River Camp near Pafuri Gate. Head for the Luvuhu River bridge, keeping an eye out for Armot’s chats in the well developed mopane woodlands.

The bridge provides a good lookout for African finfoot*, green- backed heron and in the trees, tropical bou-bou, eastern nicator and other woodland species. This is also the best area for spotting mottled and Böhm’s spinetail.Just 200 meters south of the bridge, a dirt road follows the river in an easterly direction.

Try it for crested guinea-fowl, common scimitarbill, yellow-bellied greenbul, Meves’s starling, grey tit-flycatcher, bearded scrub robin, white-browed scrub-robin, white throated robin-chat, Retz’s helmet-shrike and broad billed roller. Follow the signs to the picnic site; Pel’s fishing owl* sometimes roosts in the dense riverine trees. From the picnic site, continue east to a T-junction with an area of open palm savanna.

This is the Best site in the Kruger for lemon breasted canary*. Continuing left towards the river, you pass through a dense patch of forest, where Africa crowned eagle, Narina trogon*, gorgeous bush-shrike, eastern nicatator, black throated wattle-eye and tambourine dove occur. From Crook’s corner, retrace your steps to the tarred road continue upstream along the river for more excellent riverine birding.
Punda Maria This Camp offers superb woodland birding. Yellow bellied greenbul, white throated robin-chat and bearded scrub-robin occur around the camp. Try the Flycatcher Trail for Africa scops-owl. The Prime birding area is the Mahonie Loop, best for broad-billed roller, white-breasted cuckoo shire and grey-headed parrot. Night Drives in early summer may produce pennant-winged nightjar*.

Although rare sooty falcon, river warbler, thrush nightingale*, racket-tailed roller* and southern hyliota have all been recorded here. East of Punda Maria, the S60 is good for Arnot’s chat. In wet Seasons, lesser moorhen and black coucal are present on wetlands.

Shingwedzi Area The camp attracts red-headed weaver, Bennet's woodpecker and the African mourning dove. Nearby, Kanniedood Dam provides some excellent water birding, and usually has waders and storks. Some of the best grassland birding can be had south of Shingwedzi.

Letaba Letaba Camp is well spread out and birding is good in the camp grounds, especially along the river. Red-capped robin-chat, barred owlet and green-capped eremonela and resident there.

Oliphant’s Orange-breasted and grey-headed bush-shrikes and red-headed weaver are common. The lookout in front of the restaurant is good for raptor-spotting.

Mopani The camp overlooks Pioneer Dam, which often hosts breeding collared pratincole and a range of other water birds. Nearby Nshawu Dam yields a range of water birds, including Kittlitz’s plover. Rufous-winged cisticola can be found in the reedbeds along the Nshawu River. The Tropic of Capricorn Loop should yield kori-bustard, secretary bird, red-crested korhaan and black-bellied bustard, as well as chestnut-backed sparrowlark.

Source:www.getaway.co.za

A must read for bird lovers is the Southern Africa Bird Finder available through:
www.nhbs.com/book_isbn_1868727254_ca_5.html