Birding & Wildlife Tour in Kwazulu-Natal
This 8-day Bird Watching in KwaZulu-Natal Tour is a moderately-paced trip available as a set departure (or on request) where you can expect to see around 350 species of bird, including eight endemics and approximately 42 mammals. This birding KwaZulu-Natal adventure within South Africa explores numerous inland and mountain regions rich in endemic and special birds, some wildlife and splendid scenic beauty.
This Birdwatching KwaZulu-Natal Tour explores a tremendous altitudinal range that starts near sea level and extends to 2,900masl, thus offering the opportunity to explore varied habitats supporting a broad array of species. Habitats we venture into include grassland, wetlands and riverine areas, mountains and cliffs, rocky slopes, indigenous scarp and mist belt forests, and man-made forest and gardens.
On the bird watching in Kwazulu Natal tour, we set a sightings goal of 270+ species in the summer months and 200+ species in winter. On the mammal front, we hope to see upwards of 30 species, with an array of reptiles, amphibians and butterflies also to be found across the varied habitats.
Our birding KwaZulu-Natal tour both commences and ends at Umhlanga or King Shaka International Airport. We visit a multitude of areas, beginning with the Creighton area and the magnificent vlei at Ntsikeni Nature Reserve, before heading through Underberg to the Himeville area where we spend our first night. The following morning, we undertake a great guided 4x4 adventure up and down the breath-taking Sani Pass and explore the greater region, before sending our second night at the same accommodation.
We rise early the next morning to head for the Marutswa Forest trail and boardwalk, before continuing to Tillietudlem Nature Reserve, and then on to the mist belt grasslands, wetlands and mist belt forests of Karkloof, where we spend a night. Early the next morning we explore Benvie Gardens, before heading for the coast.
We spend our next night in the famous estuary town of St Lucia, where we explore the ‘Miracle and Wonder’ of South Africa’s first World Heritage Site − iSimangaliso Wetland Park. We then push on to the Nibela Peninsula and Muzi Pan, before entering the ‘Holy Grail’ of Southern African birding hotspots – uMkhuze Game Reserve, where we spend 2 nights. We depart the reserve, stopping en-route at Mpempe Pan, before proceeding to Umlalazi Nature Reserve, where we overnight in Mtunzini town.
The next morning sees us connect with a local community bird guide and head up into the enchanting scarp forests of Ongoye Forest Reserve and Dlinza Forest Reserve. Our final stop is at Amatikulu Nature Reserve before we return for Umhlanga or the airport.
On the accommodation front we typically use affordable good value and comfortable private guesthouses and public rest camps, but should you prefer, at an added cost, several more luxurious private lodge and guesthouse options are also on offer.
The tempo of our tours is typically medium-paced, with optional mid-day breaks (advisable on hot days), and some walking, but nothing too serious. If you are keen on photography, well so are we, and we can offer many opportunities to capture the moments that will make you the envy of your wildlife-watching friends.
Expected weather conditions: On a climate level, the area falls in the summer rainfall region, with an average of between 850 and 1,100mm per year. Temperatures range from well below freezing point in winter, to potentially early 30˚C midday in summer, with an average maximum of 17.4˚C and an average minimum of 9.5˚C. The driest month is July, the most rainfall falls in January, and the warmest in February. There are chances of convection thunderstorms with rain and hail in summer and occasional light snowfalls in winter following cold fronts moving up from the south.
Bird Watching in Kwazulu Natal Tour Highlights include:
- A birding day trip by 4x4 up into Lesotho via the extraordinarily scenic Sani Pass, and a Fig Forest walk in uMkhuze.
- Hunt for numerous endemics and specials, including Drakensberg Rockjumper, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Ground Woodpecker, Blue Swallow, Cape Parrot, Orange Ground Thrush, Spotted Ground Thrush, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Green Barbet, Green Malkoha, Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Broadbill, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Woodward's Batis and many more.
- Expect to find the Big 5 mammals in uMkhuze and iSimangaliso, and numerous rarer small mammals as well.
- Explore 2 World Heritage Sites – the majestic Maloti-Drakensberg Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
- Experience the most biodiversity richest province in South Africa.
Add-ons: this tour can be combined with extensions to Wakkerstroom and the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.
Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request. Please submit an enquiry with your preferred dates and group size.
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Alternative Tour Name: KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife & Birding Tour, South Africa