Privately Guided Kruger National Park Birding Safaris

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest and best-known conservation areas in the world. Famous for its wide diversity of wildlife and in particular the Big 5, it also has a staggering diversity of Bird life. With just over 500 species having been documented across its length and breadth, the Kruger National Park represents more than half of all the bird species found throughout Southern Africa. The Kruger National Park offers its visitors a birding experience that in the opinion of many wildlife enthusiast’s is unsurpassed and amongst the finest destinations to Bird in the world. The reasons being the sheer size of the Park with 20,000 square kilometers that has great infrastructure with both tar and dirt roads connecting a network or Camps, lookouts and hides. The infrastructure offers guests the opportunity to explore far and wide with an opportunity to find something new every day.

+500 species

Big 5 Game

Open Safari Vehicle

Private Guided Safari

Stay inside Kruger

Personalised Itineraries

2 to 12 Guests

Year Round

 




What our guest's say :



" Wow, what an amazing safari we had with Andrew on our 4 day safari in Kruger. It was everything and more than we expected - from the Big Five to the free falling birds showboating for their prospective partners, to the ever clever dung beetle! Andrew's extensive wealth of knowledge kept us enthralled for the 4 days and there was never a dull moment. Dr Doolittle doesn’t have a patch on how Andrew can talk his way out of trouble with the animals! It was without a doubt a superb experience. Thanks a mill Andrew. Can’t wait for our next trip"

Margs & Nic Clapham - Ireland

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An introduction to Birding in the Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest and best-known conservation areas in the world. Famous for its wide diversity of wildlife and in particular the Big 5, it also has a staggering diversity of Bird life. With just over 500 species having been documented across its length and breadth, the Kruger National Park represents more than half of all the bird species found throughout Southern Africa.

The Kruger National Park offers its visitors a birding experience that in the opinion of many wildlife enthusiast’s is unsurpassed and amongst the finest destinations to Bird in the world. The reasons being the sheer size of the Park with 20,000 square kilometers that has great infrastructure with both tar and dirt roads connecting a network or Camps, lookouts and hides. The infrastructure offers guests the opportunity to explore far and wide with an opportunity to find something new every day.

One of the many birding attractions is the diversity of landscape that is constantly changing. With 9 different eco-zones found in within Kruger’s greater savanna system, these varied habitats attract a variety avian fauna. These varied environments include undulating savanna catena, granite inselberg’s, rocky strewn hill tops, large perianal rivers, annual drainage lines, dams, pans vast grasslands, thorn thicket and deep cliff lined gorges. All of these landscapes are adorned with a variety of flora which is made up of over 2,400 species. The variation of these together with a mild winter and hot, wet summers, create the ideal conditions for a perfect birding destination. Summer is the peak season attracting migrants from Africa, Europe and Asia. Winter brings all the forest species down from the northern most tip of the Drakensberg escarpment. During January and February there are often floods and during this period all the dams, lakes and pans fill up and attract a variety of unusual tropical water-birds .

The Kruger National Parks Avifauna

Our preferred reference guides are that of SASOL’s Birds of Kruger National Park as well as the more detailed Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. By their assessments there are about 275 Birds found in the Park year round with 80 regular visitors and 20 less regular visitors. Over and above this there are 140 vagrants, which make up an ever-growing list of species that are found outside of their normal ranges. The collective total is 518 species that continues to grow and offers guests a unique challenge because not only are you birding but also experiencing all the mammals and all the landscape.

With 147 mammals that roll up into the Big 5 and 3 big cat species, the Park attracts over 1,8 million guests every year to come and see these animals. For the Birder there is a feats of predatory birds with sixty-seven raptor species that have been documented in the Park made up of 10 breeding pair of Eagle, 5 resident vultures, Bat-Hawk, Goshawk, Sparrow-hawk, Cuckoo-hawk as well as Harriers, Falcons, Kestrels and 10 different Owl species.

Many of the Vulture and Eagle species, which use to be wide spread across South Africa are now only found in the Park as a result of destructive land practice and misuse. As a result of this 5 of the Parks Vultures are listed “Critically Endangered or Endangered” with the Martial Eagle listed as “Vulnerable and the Bateleur as “Threatened”.

Waterbirds are another wonderful attraction in the Kruger. The Park doesn’t offer mass gatherings of tens of thousands of a species in a single wetland or lake but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in diversity. The Park has a wonderful assortment or river dwelling and nesting species that are complimented by tropical species in the years of high rainfall. These include Bitterns, Crakes, Coucal’s and Openbills. More than 100 hundred Waterbird species have been documented in the Park of which half of these which are mostly river dwelling are all resident species in the Park and can be seen year round. These include Herons, Storks, Crakes, Ducks, Ibis, Hamerkop.

A large portion of the Kruger Park’s smaller species, (passerines and near-passerine) are all-insectivorous. Many of these are wonderfully conspicuous and stick out vividly. These include Rollers, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Shrikes. Apart from these colourful characters there are also a group of shy and perhaps drab but certainly beautiful and full of song. These include the Robin Chats, Scrub-Robins, Thrushes, Warblers and Drongo’s. The greatest portion of migratory species is found within the ranks of the insectivores as they move with the seasons chasing their food.

The summer months from October to March see tens of thousands of migratory species flocking to Kruger’s abundance. The diversity of species is particularly noticeable over this period and it makes for the most productive period on Kruger’s birding calendar. Many of these species come from the central African tropics, return at night to their previous years nests to bread. This fairly undocumented routine is an absolute wonder and one of our personal favourites is the arrival of the Monotonous Lark. Other migrants flee their cold climates for the off-season and take refuge on the Park for some warm sunshine and feeding. These include many Swallow species as well as European Bee-eaters and Red-backed Shrike.

The species that moves on and out of the Park in the greatest numbers is of course the Red-billed Quelea. A species that needs no introduction, their numbers baffle the mind with a rough estimate of over 30 million birds swathing through the park in the later period of summer when the grasses are at the peak and in full seed. These birds have the ability to rapidly reproduce within a month/30 day cycle and occupy the thorn-thickets that run up the centre of the Park, north of Skukuza all the way up to the Olifant’s River. These colonies cannot only be seen but also heard from a distance and of course attract a wide variety of raptors. Currently under research is the relationship between these breading colonies and the Wahlberg’s, Lesser-Spotted and Tawny Eagles.

Birding in the Kruger National Park with Safaria

The majority of the Birding done in the Kruger National Park is done by closed vehicle. Whilst this offers the perks of being a mobile hide equipped with window-sills to rest ones camera as well as air-conditioning, this is somewhat limiting in that the visibility is obscured and one is forced to have the windows down with limited sound.

For this reason we Bird from our own Full Open Safari Vehicles. Apart from a solid, high and flat roof for shade, our vehicles are completely open and offer uninterrupted views and sound. These vehicles can accommodate 7 comfortably, each with and window seat and because of the high flat roof we can be out all day ( 12 hours) birding vast ranges between camps.

We offer Kruger National Park Birding Safaris and Tours for the new-Birder as well as more advanced Birder looking to add several key species.

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