Package Tour - Birding in Natal Tour - 5 nights Code ESS5
Categories: Birdwatching / Wildlife
This birding tour is not as extensive as our 8 day tour, but still gives you a range of habitats in which to do some great birding. First you will visit Umtumvuna which gives you a chance to view coastal forest, riverine and grassland species of bird. Moving onto the St. Lucia to find some fresh water and salt water species and ending out in the African wilderness with a high density of bushveld birds ...
At a Glance
Day 1: Durban International Airport to Vuna Valley
Pick up from Durban International airport and drive 1 hour down the coast to the Umtumvuna River Gorge and nature reserve. This southernmost nature reserve in KwaZulu-Natal is a botanical paradise consisting of an interesting stretch of riverine forest and steep rocky cliffs. Bordering the Umtamvuna River, the 3 247 hectare reserve boasts a fine display of flowers in springtime. Both the Cape vulture and fish eagle breed in the reserve and 250 other bird species have been recorded. Bushbuck, serval, baboon, samango monkeys, blue and grey duiker and common reedbuck occur in the reserve.
Welcome drinks and snacks will be served at sunset on the viewing deck above the gorge before having supper back at the B&B.
Overnight: Vuna Valley Venture B&B
Day 2: Vuna Valley
Take an early morning hike through the gorge reserve; relax as the beauty of Africa gets hold of your soul. On your return you will be greeted by the smell of a cooking breakfast on the banks of the Umtumvuna River. Take the rest of the day to explore your surroundings or just chill by the river. That afternoon you will go out on the water for a canoe paddle up stream, listen to the birds as their calls echo off the towering cliffs above you. It’s a more relaxed paddle on the way back as you simply drift with the current and take in the wonder of your surroundings. Once again we make our way to the top of the gorge to tick off some grassland birds, before ending at the deck to watch the sunset. Dinner will be served back at Vuna Valley out on the balcony.
Overnight: Vuna Valley Venture B&B
Day 3: Vuna Valley to Cape Vidal
Wake up at your leisure and take breakfast out on the balcony, after which we make our way up the north coast to St. Lucia and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The eastern shores entrance to the park is just north of the town of St. Lucia. A tar road leads to Cape Vidal and there are a number of gravel roads through the different ecosystems. Explore the marine magnificence of this area, where you will find long stretches of beaches fringed with unspoilt coastal forests. Here we make our way to Cape Vidal, your accommodation for the night. After a light lunch, we take a small game drive around the reserve where many species of inland water birds can be seen. We end the day with sundowners at the Vidal boardwalk before making your way back to camp for a fish braai (barbeque).
Overnight: Cape Vidal- Beach Log Cabins
Day 4: Cape Vidal to Bonmanzi Game Reserve -Zululand
We rise early and embark on a morning beach hike, giving us a chance to tick off some marine species of bird and to take in the beauty of this un-spoilt beach paradise. On our return we sit down to another outdoor breakfast in the shade of some trees, with a magnificent view of the ocean. We now leave the beach and head inland to the ‘bushveld’ and begin your safari leg of the trip. Bonamanzi Game Reserve is a 4 000 hectares, private South African game reserve, safari lodge and natural heritage site, which is also one of the largest private wildlife and birding parks in Zululand. Located in the heart of Zululand, Bonamanzi happens to be widely recognised as one of the top birding destinations in Southern Africa with 385 confirmed sightings of bird species. It is here that you will spend your final two nights.
This afternoon you’re in for a real treat as you take a boat cruise down the Hluhluwe River, ending with sundowners overlooking the St. Lucia estuary, with a host of river and other inland water birds to be seen. Have a short game drive back to the lodge where a traditional South African supper will be served.
Overnight: Lalapanzi Bush Camp
Day 5: Bonamanzi Game Reserve
It’s an early rise as you take a guided walk through the reserve sighting bird species as well as a variety of animals. Return for a hearty breakfast and then have the midday at your leisure, where you can sit at the watering hole or laze around the camp pool. Lunch will be served at the lodge after which we take a game drive into the Hluhluwe game reserve. This 96 000 ha reserve is the oldest in SA and is home to the BIG 5!
On our return we’ll be transported by the guides at bonamanzi to a secluded area called a ‘boma’ (an enclosed dining area out in the bush) for a supper under the stars. The return to camp will be treated as a night drive giving you a chance to spot some nocturnal birds and other animals.
Overnight: Lalapanzi Bush Lodge
Day 6: Bonamanzi Game Reserve to Durban International Airport
You’ll have the morning to your leisure to sit at the water hole and have breakfast. Once we are ready we’ll drive back to Durban and to the airport for your flight out.