(Bargain) Barbets, Bee-eaters and Big Game
A birding and wildlife journey in South Africa's 'Sunrise' Province
6 - 14 February 2016
South Africa is world-renowned for its incredible habitat and biological diversity, and nowhere is this more poignant than in the north-east of the country. Within a day’s drive one can go from cool 2000 meters-plus grasslands to hot, sub-tropical savannah at no more than 250 meters above sea level, with much in the way of transitional habitats in between. This wonderful, compact itinerary is designed to make the most of this diversity while at the same time avoiding long days in the car and allowing enough time to enjoy the various accommodation venues. For the birder and wildlife enthusiast this translates into a superb range of species to be seen and is the ideal introduction to the region’s avifauna and wildlife in general. The highlands are an endemics hot-spot, and notable species to be seen include Bokmakierie, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Grassbird, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Buff-Streaked and Ant-eating Chats, among others. Descending in altitude, the tour explores some montane forest habitat, the cliffs and gorges of the Blyde River Canyon, third largest canyon in the world, and transitional habitats before levelling out in the Kruger National Park, where birds and beasts abound. Here daily lists of well over 100 species are to be expected, and sightings of big mammals such as Lion, Elephant and White Rhinoceros add substantially to the appeal. All in all this is a fantastic way to be introduced to some of South Africa’s scenery, birds and animals.
Areas visited: Dullstroom, Mount Sheba, Blyde River Canyon, Kruger National Park
Birding in brief: excellent variety, three major habitats included, tops for endemics.
Top birds: Southern Bald Ibis, Denham’s Bustard, Gurney's Sugarbird, Jackal Buzzard, Knysna Turaco, Cape Vulture, African Scops-Owl, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Malachite Kingfisher, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Kori Bustard, Retz’s Helmet Shrike, Southern Carmine Bee-eater.
Mammal viewing: Excellent, especially in the Kruger. Night drives may produce some seldom seen nocturnal species.
Top mammals: The Big Five, Klipspringer, Honey Badger, African Wild Dog, African Wild Cat, Nyala
Price: ZAR 25 700 per person sharing, minimum group size of 4 participants. ZAR 4 220 single supplement. T's & C's apply.