As a global birding destination, South Africa scores very highly indeed. While it may not have as many bird species as some other more tropical African countries, it is extremely rich in endemics and near-endemics; it is an easy travel destination with a good road network and well-developed tourism infrastructure; it offers unrivalled habitat diversity; and combines birds with big game and other wildlife to appeal to anyone with an interest in natural history. This tour aims to show off the best of South African birds and wildlife in a concise itinerary that will introduce participants to a wonderful array of bird species, mammal species, habitats and landscapes. The tour starts in Johannesburg and visits the Polokwane region; Mapungubwe National Park along the Limpopo River, the Soutpansberg; the northern and central Kruger National Park; and the forests of the Magoebaskloof region before ending off back in Johannesburg. From the ancient Baobabs and Sandstone formations of Mapungubwe to the forested and often mist-shrouded slopes of the Soutpansberg and the vastness of the Kruger National Park, this tour will leave participants hankering for more of Southern Africa’s wonders.
29 February – 12 March 2020 (12 nights / 13 days)
8 – 20 March 2021
Starts in Johannesburg on the morning of the 29th February 2020. Participants should ideally overnight in Johannesburg on 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 12th March 2020 in time for evening transcontinental flights. Please check with us before booking any flights.
2020: ZAR 59 490 per person sharing, ZAR 8 790 single supplement
2021: ZAR 64 200 per person sharing, ZAR 9 475 single supplement
Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control.
• All breakfasts and dinners
• Ground transport
• Bottled water in vehicles whilst travelling
• Entrance fees
• Personalised checklists
• Specialist guide fees
• Boat trip at Shiluvari
• All airfares
• Travel and medical insurance
• All drinks
• Optional excursions where applicable
• Items of a personal nature
• This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control.
• The species mentioned in the itinerary represent only some of the possible ones we may see on the tour, however, none of these can be guaranteed even though every effort will be made where possible to locate them. A full list of possibles appears on your checklist.
*Look for Short-clawed Lark at Polokwane Nature Reserve.
*Do a guided day trip with a local guide in the tropical Luvuvhu Valley, looking for a range of special birds such as Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Bat Hawk, African Finfoot and White-backed Night Heron.
*Enjoy the incredible scenery of Mapungubwe National Park along the Limpopo River.
*Spend time in the private section of the far northern Kruger National Park, land of ancient Baobab trees and Fever Tree forests.
*View birds and wildlife along the Luvuvhu River from the comfort of your luxury safari tent at Pafuri Camp.
*Visit the less-visited northern Kruger National Park.
*Do some Afro-montane forest birding in the Magoebaskloof area.
Group size: maximum of 12 participants, 1 guide per 6 participants.
Areas visited: Polokwane, Mapungubwe National Park, Lake Albasini, Kruger National Park, Magoebaskloof.
Expected weather conditions: warm to hot most of the time. Rain is possible, usually in the form of summer convection thunderstorms, and cool wet weather is possible in the event of a cold front moving up from the south.
Tour tempo: medium to medium-plus, optional mid-day breaks (advisable considering on hot days), no serious walking.
Accommodation standards: medium to medium plus; hotels and private lodges.
Birding in brief: excellent variety of birds to be seen; Pafuri rated as the top birding region of the Kruger National Park. Good chances for large birds of prey.
Top birds: Collared Palm Thrush, African Broadbill, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Short-clawed Lark, Arnot’s Chat, Martial Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle, Southern Ground Hornbill, African Scops-Owl, African Finfoot, Orange Ground Thrush, Cape Parrot, Brown-necked Parrot, Crested Guineafowl, Half-collared Kingfisher, Knysna Turaco, Kori Bustard, Bat Hawk.
Mammal viewing: very good game viewing throughout, especially the Kruger National Park; Big Five as well as Cheetah, Spotted Hyena and typical savannah general game, and good chances for uncommon smaller species.
Add-ons: this tour can be combined with extensions to Victoria Falls or Cape Town.