Where to go birding in the Drakensberg

Posted on 23 April 2024

The Drakensberg Mountains and KwaZulu-Natal Midlands are some of the richest birding regions of South Africa, mainly because of the diversity of habitats. These areas are home to over 500 species of birds, many of them endemic to the Drakensberg and KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Drakensberg birding

Two greater double-collared sunbirds, a common sight in the Drakensberg. Picture: Martin Heigan /Flickr Commons 

High-altitude alpine sites, steep grassy slopes and forested rivers provide sanctuary to majestic raptors, tiny thrushes, pipits and hundreds of other rare and even endangered 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 animals.

Here’s where to go for the best bird watching in the area. 

– The Hlatikulu crane sanctuary with its rehabilitation programme is the perfect location to spend some time in the wetlands. In fact, all three varieties of cranes can be seen here.

– The Midlands Birding Route starts in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site and meanders its way down from the sand stone cliffs, basalt precipices and buttresses, through the foothills of the Drakensberg and into the picturesque rolling hillsides of the Natal Midlands.

Falcon Ridge is a bird of prey facility in the Champagne Valley that includes large birds rehabilitated from injury, and offers informational sessions.

Highmoor has the largest colony of breeding Bald Ibis in the Drakensberg.

– At Giants Castle, there are vulture hides where there are regular sightings of cape vultures and bearded vultures offering a very special Drakensberg birding experience.

ALSO READ: Students can now get 30% discount at some SANParks




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