Larks, Lammergeiers and Meerkats
A birding and wildlife journey through the Zulu Kingdom
24 January - 6 February 2015
KwaZulu-Natal, The Place of the Zulu, is an unbelievably diverse province. The altitudinal variation is extreme, and in a half-day drive one can go from a sub-alpine environment where several peaks reach over 3000 meters above sea-level, right down to the warm shores of the Indian Ocean. In between there’s a transition through the green, rolling ‘Midlands’, studded with wetlands and forest patches, while to the north-east the Maputaland coastal plain becomes progressively more lush and tropical. This diversity results in a large and varied birdlife component, with species to be seen ranging from the awesome Lammergeier at 3000 meters up in the Drakensberg to the equally impressive Palm-nut Vulture foraging for fruit among the giant Raffia Palms of Mtunzini on the shores of the Indian Ocean. This ‘Best of KZN’ tour begins in the port city of Durban, and then takes in some of the gems of the South Coast, before heading inland to the Drakensberg massif, where the undoubted highlight is a day trip up Sani pass and into Lesotho. From there the route takes us back to the coast, taking in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Sand Forests of Tembe Elephant Park, before a last stop in Wakkerstroom and an end in Johannesburg. The itinerary includes a chance to see all of the province’s specials, as well as a good range of endemics and near-endemics, and a large list of more widely-occurring species. This is a must for the more serious birder and can be combined with the Escarpment and Kruger National Park trip to create a comprehensive eastern South Africa birding experience.
Tour in Brief
Areas visited: Umhlanga, Port Shepstone, Creighton, Sani Pass, Eshowe, St Lucia, Tembe Elephant Park, Wakkerstroom.
Birding in brief: excellent variety of habitats; a mix of coastal dune forest, Bushveld, altitudinal grassland and mountains.
Top birds: Bearded Vulture, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Rudd’s and Botha’s Lark, Barrow’s Korhaan and Livingstone’s Turaco.
Mammal viewing: good game viewing in areas with special species such as Blue Duiker, Suni, Samango Monkey, Slogget’s Rat and Ongoye Red Squirrel. Tembe and Ndumo offer a good chance for large game such as African Elephant, Lion, African Buffalo and White Rhinoceros.
ZAR 33 695 per person sharing; ZAR 2 900 single supplement.
Price subject to change based on external factors. Price is based on a minimum of 4 participants. Small group surcharge will be levied for groups smaller than 4 participants. Please contact us for more detail.