KwaZulu-Natal is a great birding destination, with many specials and endemics, both common and rare.
Our tours are led by Aldo Berruti, originator of the very popular online birding courses Birding with Aldo.
Experience his relaxed guiding style as you enjoy this immersion into the iconic birds and birding destinations of KwaZulu-Natal. Yet this tour is well-paced, suitable for beginner to experienced birders and will bring you back for more.
At this hot and humid time of year, we begin birding early each day, and retreat into air-conditioned comfort by mid-afternoon (when birds have fallen silent) if conditions are uncomfortable.
5-Day Zululand with Aldo – 23 to 27 January 2021
Our first leg of the the journey is Zululand, where we aim for 220 species in 6 days, starting and ending in Durban.
Please go to the 5-Day Zululand Birding Tour page for more info on this leg of the journey.
3-Day Southern Drakensberg with Aldo – 29 to 31 January 2021
Our second leg of the the journey focuses on the Southern Drakensberg, where we aim for 170 species in 3 days, starting and ending in Durban.
Please click on the Itinerary Tab for a full breakdown of the tour.
Each tour is designed to be done either on its or own, or join us on both legs for a 15% discount.
COVID-19 TOUR SAFETY
The tour will meet standards for COVID19. Each participant (no more than 7) has a window seat in our spacious tour vehicle. We aim to protect client and welcome any queries about your safety.
The tour cost includes all accommodation, meals, refreshments, snacks, transport, entrance fees, game drive, but does not include the cost of alcohol or personal purchases.
Please note that we need a minimum of 4 persons for this tour to operate.
Day 1. Friday, 29 January.
Durban to Himeville. Overnight Himeville. 250km.
After collection in Durban airport, in early to mid-morning, we travel through Pietermaritzburg through grassland and wetland areas on the way to Himeville.
Long-tailed Widow are common whilst we search for Amur Falcons, Wing-snapping and Pale-crowned Cisticolas and Banded Martin. We have a chance of seeing Blue, Grey Crowned and Wattled Cranes, a rare opportunity in South Africa.
Day 2. Saturday, 23 January.
Sani Pass and possibly Lesotho. 120 km Overnight Himeville.
An early start will take us up South Africa’s most spectacular Pass, the Sani Pass with an ascent of 1350m. It is one of the world’s most exciting birding routes which accesses four of the most restricted range species in Southern Africa: Drakensberg Rockjumper, Drakensberg Siskin, Mountain Pipit and Bearded Vulture.
We begin at wetlands close to Himeville, looking for Half-collared Kingfisher and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. We will stop for Bush Blackcap, Drakensberg Prinia, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Red-throated Wryneck and Brown-backed Honeyguide and other denizens of the lower reaches of this pass.
Higher up, vegetation changes from Ouhout thickets to Protea savanna and grassland, where Ground Woodpecker, Gurney’s Sugarbird and the superb Malachite Sunbird are quite common. Depending on early summer rains and burning, there is a chance of the very difficult Short-tailed Pipit.
As we go higher, we will search for Fairy Flycatcher and Barratt’s Warbler, the Sani Pass being on the best places to find the latter species. Higher altitudes above the tree-line, just before reaching Lesotho, are perhaps the most exciting part, as the charismatic Drakensberg Rockjumper and Drakensberg Siskin start putting in an appearance. As we cross the border into Lesotho, we earnestly start looking for the truly magnificent Bearded Vulture, along with Sentinel Rock Thrush and Mountain Pipit. At any altitude, we could encounter the beautiful, scarce and localized Southern Bald Ibis.
Should we enter Lesotho, we will search the scrub for Mountain Pipit, as well as several Karoo species reach the north-eastern edge of their range including Grey Tit, Large-billed Lark, African Rock Pipit and Layard’s Tit-babbler.
We return to Himeville for the night.
Day 3. Sunday, 24 January.
Temperate forests and grasslands. Himeville to Durban. Distance 240km.
Another early start takes us to another forest, where we target Cape Parrot; also White-starred Robin and Chorister Robin-Chat. Careful searching may produce Olive Bush-shrike, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Southern Double-collared Sunbird and even Lazy Cisticola on the edge. And with luck, perhaps an African Goshawk or Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk overheard.
We head on to Highover for the rare Blue Swallow and other difficult species. In the grasslands, we will search for Black-rumped Buttonquail, Black-winged Plover and Fan-tailed Grass Warbler, as always, dependent on conditions. Other sightings might include a Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk overhead.
We then proceed back to Durban to drop you in mid-afternoon.