• Sunset photographic trip south africa lilac-breasted roller

SOUTH AFRICA: Birding - 18 Day North-eastern cirular route

This itinerary includes the open highlands, Afro-montane forest of Mariepskop, Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Northern Kwazulu Natal and the grasslands of Wakkerstroom. North-eastern South Africa is host to 500+ bird species and a wide variety of habitats. You can expect to see 400+ species in summer and have good wildlife sightings as well.


Click on each day to see daily itinerary & target species

Day 1, Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Your guide will meet you in the airport arrivals hall.

We will visit Rietvlei Nature Reserve and bird the grasslands as well as the wetlands. Several bird hides gives access to waterbird viewing.

Great Crested Grebe, Little Bittern, Cape Shoveller, Secretarybird, African Fish Eagle, Greater Kestrel, Purple Gallinule, African Rail, Northern Black Korhaan, Greyheaded Gull, African Grass Owl, Giant Kingfisher, Halfcollared Kingfisher, Greater Honeyguide, Spikeheeled Lark, Capped Wheatear, Anteating Chat, Fairy Flycatcher(winter), Desert Cisticola, Buffy Pipit, Orangethroated Longclaw, Thickbilled Weaver, Longtailed Widow and Orangebreasted Waxbill. In summer this list includes: Hobby Falcon, European Roller, Banded Martin, African Yellow Warbler, White Stork and Common Quail

Day 2, Hoedspruit

After breakfast we will have a long drive down to the small wildlife town of Hoedspruit in the 'lowveld'. En route we will take a detour through the Verlorenvallei Reserve outside Dullstroom to pick up on any species we dipped on the day before but also hoping to spot Secretary bird, Blue Crane and Crowned Crane.

Depending on our arrival time we will have the opportunity for a late afternoon birding and wildlife walk to get familiar with some common 'lowveld' bird species

Day 3, Mariepskop

Blyde River Canyon

Birding the Afro-montane forests and Fynbos summit of Mariepskop
Accommodation in a Hoedspruit Lodge

Narina Trogon, Orange Ground-thrush, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Olive Bush-shrike, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Yellow-breasted Woodland Warbler, White-starred Robin, Chorister Robin-chat Knysna Turaco, Bush Blackcap, Brown Scrub-robin, Terrestrial Brownbul, African Emerald Cuckoo, Blue-mantled Crested-flycatcher, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Green Twinspot, Olive Woodpecker, Square-taliled Drongo, Swee Waxbill and also present Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Boubou, Collared Sunbird 

FYNBOS SPECIES: Gurney’s Sugarbird, Barrat’s Warbler, Forest Canary, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Robin-chat, Malachite Sunbird, Lazy Cisticola, Southern Double-collared Sunbird

SAVANNAH & FORESTED MOUNTAIN SLOPES: Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Broad-billed Roller, Jackal Buzzard, Forest Buzzard, Lizard Buzzard, Mountain Wagtail, Black Duck, Pygmy Kingfisher, Black Saw-wing, White-fronted Bee-eaters, Red-faced Cisticola, Little Bee-eaters, Broad-tailed Warbler, Croaking Cisticola, Purple-crested Turaco, Brown-crowned Tchagra

Day 4 - 9, Kruger National Park

Day 4 and 5: Punda Maria – Northern Kruger Park

Day 6 and 7: Letaba – Central Kruger Park

Day 8 and 9:  Skukuza - Southern Kruger Park

100 species can be seen in a day in summer. 500+ species on the official Kruger National Park List.

Possible species: Dickonson’s Kestrel, Grey-headed Parrots, Meve’s Starling, Tropical Boubou, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Martial Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Secretary bird, White-headed Vulture, Lapped-faced Vulture, Bateleur, Brown Snake-eagle, Purple Roller, Broad-billed Roller, Carmine Bee-eater, Senegal Lapwing, Southern Ground-Hornbill, European Nightjar, Red-breasted Swallow, Black-headed Oriole, Marico Sunbird, Violet-backed Starling, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Green-winged Pytilia, Sabota Lark, Stierling’s Barred-warbler, Melodious Lark, Comb Duck, Green Wood-Hoopoe and many more.

Accommodation in 2-bed chalets

Day 10 - 11, Swaziland

  • Visiting Hlane Royal National Park
  • Birding walks in the Lebombo Mountains
  • Accommodation on Mabuda Farm B&B, Siteki

Possible species: Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Pink-throated Twinspots, Livingston’s Turaco, White-browed Robin-chat, Wood owl, Trumpeter Hornbill, Red-chested Cuckoo, Crowned Hornbill, Marabou Stork, African Emerald-cuckoo, Little Sparrow-hawk, Forest weaver, Bateleur and many more

Day 12 - 13, Ndumo Game Reserve

  • Birding around the lakes and in forest
  • Accommodation at Ndumu River Lodge

Possible species: 400+ species occur in Ndumo - Pel’s Fishing-owl, Giant Eagle-owl, Great White-pelican, Southern-banded Snake-eagle, Lesser Jacana, Blue-cheecked Bee-eater, Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Pink-throated Twinspot, African Pygmy Goose, Pink-backed Pelican, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Greater Painted-snipe

Day 14 - 15, Ithala Game Reserve

  • Birding in middle-veld and grasslands along the escarpment
  • Accommodation in 2-bed chalets

Possible Species: Bald Ibis, Secretary Bird, Black Eagle, Cape Vulture, Gabar Goshawk, Rock Kestrel, White-bellied Korhaan, Bronze-winged Courser, Bokmakierie, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Grass Owl, Marsh Owl, Flappet Lark, Lesser Honeyguide, Grassbird, Fantailed Cisticola, Neddicky, Spotted Prinia, Lesser Grey-shrike, Yellow-throated Petronia, Cape Canary and many more.

Day 16 - 17, Wakkerstroom

Excellent grassland birding in grasslands and wetlands

RAMSAR site, endemic hotspot

Possible species: Ground Woodpecker, Red-throated Wryneck, Mountain Wheatear, Ant-eating Chat, Buff-streaked Chat, Rudd’s Lark, Botha’s Lark, Spike-healed Lark, Pink-billed Lark, Dark-capped Yellow-warbler, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Long-tailed Widowbird, Blue Korhaan, Barrow’s Korhaan, Denham’s Bustard, Montagu’s Harrier, Western Marsh-harrier, South African Shelduck, Wattled Crane, Grey Crowned Crane and more.

Day 18, Departure

We will have a 2 hour birding drive before breakfast and then departure to Johannesburg for your return flight home.


Please inquire for rates

Price includes:
All accommodation, meals, transport, conservation and park entrance fees, specialist guide fees, all activities (Kruger - sunset and night drives, Ndumu Lake walk), water in vehicle

Price excludes:
Flights, Medical and Travel insurance, alcoholic beverages