Join me on a 3-day tour of Zululand with stops at Mtunzini; game drives in the exclusive Manyoni Game Reserve and and into hard-to-reach prime northern Zululand wetlands – some real hidden gems.

Specialist birding trips are go-go-go and can be daunting for the beginner. Join me on a trip, tailored to the beginner birder, we take all the pressure off in a small and intimate group of a maximum of 6 persons.

Departing on Monday, 22 November from King Shaka Airport in Durban at 10am – allowing you to fly in from anywhere to join us on the day. We return to King Shaka Airport on Wednesday, 24 November at 4-5pm.

Staying at the Msunduze River Lodge – home to a local wildlife vet who has been instrumental in the fight against the poaching of Rhino in the KZN Reserves. This is the perfect base for our 2 nights in Zululand.


Please click on the Itinerary tab for further details.

Although I run the set departures with a minimum of 6 birders, I can run this tour at any time of the year, please send me an email and I’d be happy to send you more info.

My daughter and I went on the two-day Zululand tour organised and guided by Emile and we had a wonderful time. Besides the fact that everything was extremely well organised, we saw a lot of birds. Emile just knew where to take us and who to arrange as additional guides to maximise our birding experience. He arranged for Junior to assist in Mtunzini and Ivor in Monyoni who both did an excellent job. The accommodation and food were great and even a night drive was included which gave us 3 different owls. – Tripadvisor, November 2021

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:

We depart from KSIA at 10:00 and arrive in Mtunzini at 12:00. We will pack a lunch so that we can make the best use of time in this seaside town, with its special environment that has attracted one of the rarest raptors – the Palmnut Vulture. Other special species attracted to the coastal forests and mangrove swamps are: African Finfoot, Mangrove Kingfisher, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Spotted Ground Thrush, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Green Twinspot, White-eared Barbet, Grey & Olive Sunbird, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Gorgeous Bush Shrike and Dark-backed Weaver.

We aim to check-in at Msunduze River Lodge at 18:00. Unwind in the boma around the camp fire and prepare for our epic birding day in Zululand the following day.

Day 2:

Ivor van Rooyen, a senior ranger and extraordinary birder, knows the Zululand birding areas intimately and will be our specialist guide for the next 2 days.

Today’s focus will be on the hard-to-reach Northern Zululand Pans – some real hidden gems!

One of the better known pans that we will visit is Muzi pan – the Muzi Swamps area is a birder’s paradise! There are a large number of waterbirds recorded here, including, herons, waders and ducks. Our ultra-tick for the morning is the Pel’s fishing owl!

We will head out early on day 2 to catch the best of the morning’s birding, grabbing brunch in Mkuze Game Reserve at a picturesque setting, where we can continue to bird. Heading back to Msunduze at around 2-3pm you can choose to have a lazy afternoon or bird on foot before an early braai for dinner and then we will head back into the reserve by 6pm for the evening session with Ivor – our focus will be on Nightjars and Owls!

Day 3:

Manyoni means the “place of birds” in isiZulu – 415 species have been recorded on the reserve! How appropriate for our full day in this magnificent reserve.

The highly localised trio of Pink-throated Twinspot, Neergaard’s Sunbird and Rudd’s Apalis are big targets. In addition Eastern Nicator, African Broadbill and Eastern Bearded Scrub-Robin will be great finds. Very rare KZN species on the reserve are the Hooded Vulture, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Monotonous and Dusky Lark and Red-headed Weaver.

Another packed breakfast from Msunduze will be enjoyed whilst birding. After a full morning’s birding, we will grab lunch on the way back to Durban to arrive back at the airport by 4-5pm.