Saddle-billed Stork, Kruger National Park
Saddle-billed Stork, Kruger National Park

Eastern South Africa Highlights #2: Escarpment & Kruger Park Birding Safari.

 

Introduction:

This Escarpment and Kruger Park birding tour is a tried-and-tested itinerary. And it always delivers! It covers some of the highlights of our home province of Mpumalanga, ‘Place of the Sun Rise’. As Mpumalanga is our ‘backyard’, we know the area well! Moreover, February is a great time of the year for this tour, when birding is at its best. We aim to see over 300 species of birds and 35 species of mammals on this 9-day birding and wildlife safari. It’s guaranteed to deliver a lot of ‘bang for your buck’!

Areas covered:

Our ‘Kruger Park birding safari’ tour starts in Johannesburg. From there we visit Dullstroom, a small town in the highlands of the Province, where we will spend time birding in the surrounding countryside. After that we move on to Mount Sheba to explore the area’s Afro-Montane Forests. Our next stop is the Blyde River Canyon, where the rugged escarpment gives way to the lowlands of Kruger. The Kruger National Park is the highlight of the birding tour, with time spent in three different camps. In conclusion, on the last day we’ll have a final morning in Kruger before driving back to Johannesburg to arrive in the late afternoon.

Accommodation:

The accommodation is of a medium-plus standard. It includes a small inn, a hotel, a resort and national park’s chalets. Importantly, all accommodations have en-suite facilities, and are clean and comfortable.

The birding:

Diversity is the name of the game! This Kruger Park birding safari covers a wide range of habitats within a relatively small area. These habitats range from the high-altitude grasslands of Dullstroom to the indigenous forest patches of Mount Sheba; the rocky slopes, cliffs and canyons of the Blyde area; and an array of woodland savanna types in the Kruger. As a result, the range of birds to be seen is correspondingly diverse. Our target birds include: Southern Bald Ibis, Secretarybird, Blue Crane, Buff-streaked Chat, Yellow-breasted Pipit, White-throated Robin Chat, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Batis, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Southern Ground Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and many others.

The mammals:

For non-birders or those with a broad interest there are plenty of mammals and other wildlife to see. For example, these include the classic African big game species such as Elephant, White Rhino, African Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, South African Giraffe and Hippopotamus. In addition, one can expect to see a range of Antelope, plus some smaller species such as various Primates; Honey Badger; Black-backed Jackal; various Mongoose species and others. In addition, there’s a range of reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and other insects to be seen.

In conclusion, this Kruger Park birding safari is a fantastic way to be introduced to some of South Africa’s scenery, birds and animals. This safari is designed as a follow-on to Eastern South Africa Highlights #1: Drakensberg & Zululand set-departure. Participants can sign up for one or both of these safaris. For those wanting to do both, it will be necessary to spend one night in between in Johannesburg (for own account).

30 January – 7 February 2021 (8 nights / 9 days)
29 January – 6 February 2022

Starts in Johannesburg on the first morning of the tour. Participants should ideally overnight in Johannesburg the night before the tour starts. We are happy to arrange this accommodation. Alternatively participants need to arrive on early morning flights on the day the tour starts. Tour ends in Johannesburg on the late afternoon of the last day of the tour in time for evening transcontinental flights. Please check with us before booking any flights.

2021: ZAR 38 650 per person sharing, ZAR 6 050 single supplement
2022 prices coming soon!

Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control. 

Includes

  • Accommodation
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • Ground transport
  • Bottled water in vehicle whilst travelling
  • Entrance fees
  • Personalised checklists
  • Specialist guide fees

Excludes

  • All airfares
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Lunches
  • All drinks
  • Optional excursions where applicable
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Note

  • This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control.
  • Birds and mammals mentioned on this itinerary do not represent all that can be seen.  A full list of possibles appears on your checklist.

 

*Incredible habitat diversity in a relatively small area.

*Trip list of 300+ bird species and 35+ mammal species.

*See the third largest canyon in the world.

*Do some Afro-montane forest birding at Mount Sheba.

*Experience open-sided vehicle safaris in the Kruger National Park.

*Join optional night drives in the Kruger.

Group size: maximum of 8 participants; 4 participants per guide / vehicle. 

Areas visited:  Dullstroom, Mount Sheba, Blyde River Canyon, Kruger National Park.

Expected weather conditions: cool to mild in the highlands, hot and humid in the Kruger. Some rain to be expected.

Birding in brief:  excellent variety, four 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 National Park.

Top mammals: The Big Five, Klipspringer, Honey Badger, African Wild Dog, African Wild Cat, Nyala.

Add-ons: Combine with Eastern SA Highlights #1: Drakensberg & Zululand; 19 January – 1 February 2019

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“… the best holiday we have ever had by some distance.”
Dave and Liz Hallam, UK, after Eastern SA Highlights #2 2015.

 Join Eastern SA Highlights #2!