About Drakensberg Foothills Birding Route

The Lower Drakensberg Foothills Birding Route is a sub-section of the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Birding Route, which boasts not only all three of the country's crane species (blue, grey crowned, and wattled) but also includes the rare blue swallow, the crowned eagle, bearded vulture, mangrove kingfisher and the southern bald ibis. And a lot more besides.

Did you know? This is one of two major birding routes of the province. The other is the Zululand Birding Route.

The Southern KwaZulu-Natal Birding Route is extensive, incorporating beaches, forests, the Lowveld and the Drakensberg Mountains - a terrain of such extensive variety that it is not surprising to learn that it holds in excess of 550 bird species.

Which is why the route is subdivided into five shorter routes, making it easier for bird lovers to follow and to easily divide up to suit itineraries.

The heart of the Lower Drakensberg Foothills Birding Route lies in the lowlands below Sani Pass filled with nature reserves and huge tracts of mist belt forest and grassland alive with birds.

Highlights include

Marutswa Forest boardwalk, on the outskirts of Bulwer, for an array of endemic species

• Gqumeni Forest - a spectacular mist belt forest with intact yellowwoods; look out for Knysna turaco, Cape parrot, narina trogon and African crowned eagle

• Ntsikeni Vlei and wetland, a breeding site for wattled crane and Eurasian bittern, amongst other specials

• Franklin Vlei in the south-west corner of KZN with over 5 000 hectares of wetlands that host specials like white-winged flufftail, African rail, black-crowned night heron.

Need to Know

WhereDrakensberg Foothills Birding Route, Lower Drakensberg, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours

OvernightStay in Underberg Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal

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