Zululand and the Kruger – Part 1

Mkuzi Sunday 19 to Thursday 23 October.

Paul & Sally Bartho

Four days were spent in Mkuzi Nature Reserve. The weather was cool and overcast with some sun occasionally.

The Reserve was starting to look green due to the recent rains. Visibility into the bush was excellent. We were told another 3 lionesses were recently added bringing the lion population to 8 – they are very shy. The waterhole at the kwaMalibali hide was dry and the hide and walkway itself in desperate need of renovation. The campsite had sorted its water issues and was quite busy. Maintenance remains an issue with leaking taps everywhere.

The Fig Forest walk was the highlight simply because the Pel’s Fishing-Owl gave us great views. Narina Trogons and African Broadbills were also calling but not seen,

Pel's Fishing-Owl
Pel’s Fishing-Owl

We came across a Crowned Lapwing nest with 2 eggs right beside a side road. The Lapwing parents were nearby. However a couple of days later the nest had gone.

In the campsite we could hear the African Broadbill calling nearby. Eventually we found one in the camp out in the open. Then it dashed back into the bush and we could hear it wing-snapping for a long time but it did not call.

We witnessed the arrival of a pair of Wahlberg’s Eagles near their nesting site close to the start of the loop road. They settled into a nearby tree and went through their mating ritual.

Birding was excellent as usual with a number of specials sighted including the Pels fishing-Owl; African Broadbill (in the campsite); numerous raptors including a mating pair of Wahlberg’s Eagles; a silent but obliging Diderick Cuckoo; Rudd’s Apalis; a number of Black-bellied Bustards; Village Indigobird in transition; Striped Kingfishers calling everywhere; Eastern Nicator; Western Osprey; vocal Bearded Scrub-Robins; Broad-billed and Lilac-breasted Rollers; Neergaard’s Sunbird; Pink-throated Twinspots to name a few.

As usual, the kuMasinga hide midday proved to be one of the best and most relaxing spots to see a wide variety of birds and animals as they come to drink.

Photo Gallery of some of the birds and other creatures we saw – including a couple of Mystery birds:

In all we saw 168 different bird species. Click here to see our list.

And then we were off to the Kruger National Park for four weeks, entering at Crocodile Bridge. Part 2 to follow.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Michela du Sart says:

    Super photos! Thanks

  2. de Wets Wild says:

    Less than 3 weeks and we’ll be in uMkhuze. Thanks for the tantelising appetiser guys ;-D

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