Blue crane - Birding in the Drakensberg

Blue crane – Birding in the Drakensberg

Drakensberg birding goes a very special birding haven. A host of endemics are quite common. And with a bit of insider info there are some fantastic birding hotspots. Of course we would like you to also have a great accommodation experience for your birding getaway and Antbear Lodge really does do that. Hospitality is great and personal service is of the highest standard. But its the location that will really clinch your decision with access to some of the best Drakensberg birding available.

The extencive gardens of the lodge host many Greater Double-collared Sunbirds and Gurney’s Sugarbirds that squabble endlessly over the Aloes. And then there are the cape weavers which have their nests right above the accommodation units. in fact you could spend hours in the gardens with many many sightings of various birds.

The magnificent mountain region and escarpment is the habitat to over 350 species of bird life. High-altitude alpine sites, steep grassy slopes, forested rivers and more provide sanctuary to majestic raptors, tiny thrushes, pipits and hundreds of other rare and even endangered unique birds. An increasing number of proficient local guides can assist in finding them, providing the rewarding experience of tracking down some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures.

And then there are the vulture hides at Giants castle where there are regular sightings of cape vultures and bearded vultures offering a very special Drakensberg birding experience.

bearded vulture - Birding in the Drakensberg

bearded vulture – Birding in the Drakensberg

The Wattled Crane is a very large, conspicuous bird with a white neck, grey back and black belly. It has two whitish wattles beneath its chin. Its habitat ranges from midland to highland wetlands and moist grasslands. These cranes, of which there are only about 70 nesting pairs in South Africa, are severely endangered due to the loss of their spongy wetland habitats, and deaths caused by power line collisions and consumption of poisoned grain left for other problem animals. They have the slowest reproductive rate of the three South African crane species. And the Crane sanctuary with its rehabilitation program  just up the road from Antbear Lodge is the perfect location to spend some time in these wetlands. In fact all 3 varieties of crane can be seen here.

If you are looking for a birding weekend away in the Drakensberg then a weekend in the Drakensberg at Antbear Drakensberg Lodge is just what you are looking for.

Vulture Hide Drakensberg

Vulture Hide Drakensberg

Drakensberg Birding directory

  • Lammergeyer Hide at Giants Castle which is ideal for photographing the Bearded Vulture and outher bids of prey
  • Falcon Ridge – Bird of Prey show in the Central Drakensberg
  • Crane and Wetland sanctuary near highmoor in the Central Drakensberg
  • Highmoor has the largest colony of breeding Bald Ibis in the Drakensberg. I also has a single nesting site of Wattled Crane.
  • The Midlands Birding Route is the most Northern component of the Southern KZN Birding Route. Starting in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site, the route meanders its way down from the sandstones cliffs, basalt precipices and buttresses, through the foothills of the Drakensberg and into the picturesque rolling hillsides of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Other key Midlands birding attractions include some of the most reliable sites for Cape Parrots and Blue Swallows.
  • The Lower Drakensberg Foothills Birding Route lies inland and to the south-west of the Midlands Birding Route. The Lower Drakensberg Foothills Birding Route is also home to the exciting new Marutswa Forest Boardwalk on the outskirts of the quaint country village of Bulwer.
  • The Karkloof Conservation and Hides offer some wetland and grassland birding. Target species for the day will be Blue, Wattled and Grey Crowned Cranes, with a chance of sighting rare species such as the Baillon’s Crake.
  • Impendle Nature Reserve, near Boston in the Natal Midlands consists predominantly of mid-altitude grasslands. Some rocky outcrops are present within the grasslands and a large mist belt forest is situated at the far reaches of the reserve overlooking the Umkomazi Valley. This infrequently visited and relatively unexplored reserve has some incredible birding potential.
  • Marutswa Forest has become one of the most popular birding sites on the Southern KZN Birding Route. The forest trail and board walk comprises a network of arterial trails leading into the indigenous forest. Marutswa Forest is one of the few easily accessible intact scarp forest patches in the southern KwaZulu-Natal area, and is already popular with Birding groups who use the existing trail network.
  • Pied Piper Expeditions takes bird watchers to see the rare, endemic and special bird species in the uplands of KwaZulu-Natal, the mist-belt forests and grasslands and up Sani Pass into the Drakensberg and Lesotho.  By appoitment only.  Tel:  +27 (0) 33 7011 741
  • Stuart McLean Birding the Sani Pass and mistbelt forests.  Other nature interests, as well as basic botanical trips.  Tel:  +27 (0) 82 742 6981

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