Escarpment and Kruger National Park
From the mountains to the savannah; a journey of diversity
8 - 16 February 2014
South Africa is world-renowned for its incredible habitat and biological diversity, and nowhere is this more poignant than in the north-east of the country. Within a day’s drive one can go from cool 2000 meters-plus grasslands to hot, sub-tropical savannah at no more than 250 meters above sea level, with much in the way of transitional habitats in between. This wonderful, compact itinerary is designed to make the most of this diversity while at the same time avoiding long days in the car and allowing enough time to enjoy the various accommodation venues. For the birder and wildlife enthusiast this translates into a superb range of species to be seen and is the ideal introduction to the region’s avifauna and wildlife in general. The highlands are an endemics hot-spot, and notable species to be seen include Bokmakierie, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Grassbird, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Buff-Streaked and Ant-eating Chats, among others. Descending in altitude, the tour explores some montane forest habitat, the cliffs and gorges of the Blyde River Canyon, third largest canyon in the world, and transitional habitats before levelling out in the Kruger National Park, where birds and beasts abound. Here daily lists of well over 100 species are to be expected, and sightings of big mammals such as Lion, Elephant and White Rhinoceros add substantially to the appeal. All in all this is a fantastic way to be introduced to some of South Africa’s scenery, birds and animals. Note that the February 2014 trip can be combined with The Best of KwaZulu-Natal.
Tour in brief
Group size: maximum of 12 participants, 1 guide per 6 participants.
Expected weather conditions: cool to warm conditions in the highlands of Dullstroom, warm to hot on the savannah. Possible afternoon thunderstorms.
Tour tempo: medium-plus to fast, optional mid-day breaks on non-travelling days (advisable in the hotter areas). A great trip for casual and serious birders.
Accommodation standards: medium: lodges, guest houses and National Park's rest-camps.
Birding in brief: excellent variety, three major habitats included, tops for endemics.
Top birds: Southern Bald Ibis, Denham’s Bustard, Gurney's Sugarbird, Jackal Buzzard, Knysna Turaco, Cape Vulture, African Scops-Owl, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Malachite Kingfisher, Southern White-crowned Shrike.
Mammal viewing: excellent, especially in the Kruger National Park.
Top mammals: The Big Five, Klipspringer, Honey Badger, African Wild Dog, African Wild Cat, Nyala.
Other wildlife and attractions: the Drakensberg Escarpment and the Kruger National Park.
Add-ons: This tour can be combined with The Best of KwaZulu-Natal, 25 January - 7 February 2014. Contact us for more information and prices for accommodation in Johannesburg on the night of the 7th February.
Price: ZAR 21 970 per person sharing, minimum group size of 4 participants. ZAR 3 350 single supplement. Small group surcharge will be levied for groups smaller than 4 participants. Please contact us for more detail.