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Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

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sbobln
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Best Birding Camps @ Wintertime

Unread postby sbobln » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:34 am

What would be the recommende camp side for birding in wintertime. I have read through the birder page here, however this page does not separate throughout the seasons. So my hope is to get here some more specific advice. Especially, if it is a must to visit a camp on the north side of kruger park.

Thanks a lot
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Unread postby Snoobab » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:00 am

Hi Sbobln and weclome

In the north during winter I would go with either Shingwedzi or Punda Maria. Both are great camps with loads of birds and very good birding roads around camp. From Punda you should take a trip to Pafuri which is very bird rich. The trip to Pafuri can be done from Shingwedzi but it is a long trip.
Shingwedzi also has the advantage of being on a river which always attracts more birds.
Good luck and enjoy, if you need any further help just shout, there are loads of people here who will give you all sorts of additional info.

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Best Birding Camps @ Wintertime

Unread postby sbobln » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:01 am

Hi Snoobab,

thanks for your welcome and your tipps for the north part of Kruger park.
Is it correct to say, that we have to visit the north part, otherwise we would miss some good birding, which can not be done in the south part ?

Background: Our idea is to make a four week loop from Kruger/Blyde Canon to Ndumo,St Lucia Wetlands, then Drakensberg and back to Jo'burg. So the north part of the Kruger would add additional miles.

By the way, from Kruger to Ndumo Park we have to pass through swasiland or to go around. What would you recommend ?

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Unread postby Jen » Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:01 pm

Hi sbobln

I agree with Snoobab it is defiantly worth travelling that little bit further & visiting the north of the Kruger Park if you are birders. Shingwedzi is a fantastic camp & the river road will always produce many birds especially in Winter. 8) Punda & Pafuri are famous for their bird-life & well worth a visit.
As for your question about travelling via Swaziland to Ndumo & think it is a great idea. I would try and include one night in Swaziland (it also has a few good game parks) as there is much to see and the Swazi's are a very friendly nation.
Your trip sounds fantastic!!!! :clap:
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Route via Swaziland

Unread postby wingman » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:10 pm

Hi
It is far shorter to go via Swaziland and the roads are not bad, the best would to exit Crocodile bridge or Malelane gate enter Swaziland thru the Managa border gate (on R571) and take the road via Tshaneni to Mhlume thru Hlane game sanctury to Siteki, on the Siteki road only go 4kms turn right down to Big Bend at Big Bend go via Nsoko to Lavumisa and exit via Golela onto the N2. This route is +/-250kms from Komatipoort to where you will join the N2 33kms south of Pongola. Ignore the 80kmh speed signs they are outdated the general limit is 100 to 120kmh, you will have to pay a road levy in Swaziland but it is not expensive, passports are required.
For others who are interested this route distance is 610kms from Durban to Komatipoort.
regards Paul

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Unread postby sbobln » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:13 pm

Hey Paul,

thanks for this good advice. I must say, that I'm looking forward to travel through south africa, since people are already so helpful and friendly in the internet.

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Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby parksfanatic » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:23 am

My husband and I are wildlife fanatics and now also amateur birders. Just been on a beginners course to help us with identifying birds etc.

6 Months ago we planned & booked a 6 day birding trip to Kruger, for last week, as I believe February is the prime birding time. We unfortunately had to cancel last minute :( In order to not lose the money paid for the booking we now have to reschedule for another time.

My question is, when would be the next best time for birding and what are deemed to be the best camps for this. Our initial booking was 2 days Satara, 2 days Letaba and 2 days Punda Maria. Should we stick with this or are there better places ie: Sirheni??

I know this is a matter of preference with regards camps, personally we prefer water & shade, birds & animals all together if possible!!

All advice appreciated!
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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:27 am

Personally I quite like the Sabie river valley (Skukuza, LS, CB) in winter, but there are no specials etc.
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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby Rooies » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:30 am

Punda Maria and Shingwedzi are, in my opinion the best for birding. Make sure you visit the Pafuri area.
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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby DotDan » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:41 am

Hi there parksfanatic :D

Every birder will tell you that summer is best, but that doesn't mean that winter can't be a productive birding trip as in winter more and more birding parties form which makes it easier to spot the more elusive guys like the Firefinches, Waxbill's etc..

Best time for summer birding in KNP is roughly between November and March. Especially November/December as the Cuckoo's are most vocal and it is great to listen to the likes of Klaas Cuckoo and Black Cuckoo singing their harts out...

January is a very good time for Raptor's, especially around the Satara area as Wahlberg, Tawny, Martial and Lesser Spotted Eagle's can all be seen in good numbers around the huge flocks of Red Billed Quelea's. Also Steppe Buzzard, Yellow Billed Kites come through in big numers. This area is also good for the likes of Lanner Falcon, Peregrine Falcon and Eurasian Hobby.

For the most specials I would recommend to sticking to either the Sabie river and Luvuvhu River (Skukuza and Punda/Pafuri)

African Finfoot, Narina Trogon, White Back Night-Heron and Pel's Fishing Owl are some specials that might be found here...

There is a very good book out that describes KNP birding on every camp. Go have a look here: KNP birding

I would love to delve deeper into this as there is so much to discuss, but time is a bit lacking today :lol:

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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:08 pm

Howzit PF & welcome,

From one amateur birder to another.

All Kruger can be good for birding, but Pafuri is the best. I have seen great birds at Croc Bridge and in between.

Get a good bird book and a checklist. I have an excel one if you want it. PM me your email addy.

My summer count for a week is usually about 135, with about 60 a day.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:24 pm

Just adding a bit, Pafuri (so Punda) is a very good choice.
One of the attendants at the picnicspot, Frank, is an avid birder who will (depending on how busy it is) happily show you the birds in 'his' area.
Have a look at the topic about Pafuri: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=1992
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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:36 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:Get a good bird book and a checklist. I have an excel one if you want it. PM me your email addy.

You can get my ticklists here. (Note they're for southern Africa, not just KNP)
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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby nightjar » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:16 pm

The north is certainly the best part of the park for birding and you will see a lot at Punda and around the Mahonie Loop, including many species not found further south. All the camps attract a lot of birds, but I have always found bush camps to be particularly good and would recommend Bateleur or Shimuwini. Shimuwini has the dam and a well-situated bird hide. When I was there in January I saw a lot of birds from that hide including White-backed Night-heron, and the dam attacts a lot of animals to drink in the drier months.

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Re: Best Time of Year and Best Camps for Birding?

Unread postby ruthers » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:40 am

Just to start with Kruger is an amazing place to launch your life of bird watching addiction! Beware - it may be hazardous to your neck!

My first piece of advice is wherever you go avoid the standard holidays if you can. Down South especially it does get busy - and out of the holidays you are much more likely to get your choice of camp and accomodation and peace and quiet at hides, water holes etc.

We just got back from Kruger (mainly Punda Maria) and it was (for us - enthusiastic but newish bird fanatics) absolutely incredible. Firstly the summer season is definately more lucrative - after years of winters in Kruger I got my first look at summer bee-eaters and other summer migrants.

Punda Maria is a quaint "old-style" camp. If possible try and book the Tented Bungalows - (we didn't get in but they looked great!). All around the North is great birding in the big trees and thickish bush. But what you have to do is to mission up to the Pafuri Picnic site as early as you can one morning. If you can talk to the camp site manager Frank, all the better, he can show you around. It was the best hour in my short birding life.
I have found many of the Camps along rivers with nice frontage offer great in-camp birding. Letaba, Skukuza, Shingwedzi, Shimuweni (I haven't been to Lower Sabie yet - but hear it is lovely.)
But just to give you an idea about Summer and the North - In the winter of 2008 and 2009 we spent a week each in the South and Central Park. My birdlist was around 140-150 each time. (Like I said we are still beginning) This year switching to Summer and heading to Pafuri and Punda Maria and Shingwedzi - we saw 200 species, which included 60 birds I had not marked before. You definately see less game in the thick bush but it is more than made up for onthe birding side of things.

One last thing - it is a long way up to Punda Maria from JHB. Try stopping off in the Magoebaskloof area. Nicely placed halfway to Punda Maria/Pafuri from JHB. On the escarpment the afromontane forrest offers beautiful birding and scenery. Check Birder's Cottage on the web.


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