Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

SOUTH AFRICA PART 1 – Suikerbostrand & Kruger's Pretoriuskop Camp


Following our 23-day trip to Ethiopia (see following five posts) we flew to Johanesburg for another 23-day trip, to South Africa. We booked into the nice Airport Inn Suites in Kempton Park. South African birding mate Phil Penlington picked me up at the hotel early on our first morning and we headed off to Suikerbostrand Nature Reserve south of the city. This was my fourth visit to South Africa so I had a relatively small number of targets.  We had success early with nice views of one target, Orange-winged Francolin, on a road outside the reserve, with several birds seen.

Orange River Francolin
Inside the reserve on a rocky hillside we easily tracked down a second target – Eastern Long-billed Lark.

Eastern Long-billed Lark
 Bontebok and Yellow Mongoose were seen. Other birds included African Marsh Owl, Spike-heeled Lark, Cape Grassbird and Cape Longclaw.


Yellow Mongoose
We moved on the Marievale wetland sanctuary where before long a third target flew from the reeds a short distance in the form of a much-wanted Red-chested Flufftail, a bird I'd dipped on repeatedly during previous visits to Africa. Other birds included plenty of two shorebirds we don't see much of in Australia – Little Stint and Ruff.

Little Stint

African Snipe showed nicely as we drove slowly around the tracks that criss-cross this fine wetland. Other birds included Red-billed Teal, African Rail, Goliath Heron and an Eastern Barn Owl roosting and flying over the marsh.

African Snipe

Red-billed Teal
A Large Grey Mongoose was seen - evidently something of a rarity in that area. We drove around farmlands in the Devan area seeing Pink-billed Lark. African Quailfinch and more Orange River Francolins.

Large Grey Mongoose
In the late afternoon we picked up Kathy Haydon, our friend from NSW, at the airport to join us for the trip. The next morning we headed east to Kruger National Park. Glenn and I had spent a week in Kruger previously and we were eager to get back in there. We entered Numbi Gate and were greeted by our first big game animal – a magnificant Greater Kudu, which proved to be common.

Greater Kudu
We booked into Pretoriuskop Camp for one night and headed off for our first game drive. We saw good numbers of Common Waterbuck, Giraffe, Impala and Cape Buffalo.

Common Waterbuck


Cape Buffalo
Then we saw a leopard crouched roadside in dense grass. It watched us for a bit before moving from the grass and crossing the road behind the vehicle.

Bush Duiker and Bushbuck were seen before we returned to the lodge. It was a good start for our Kruger adventure.

Bush Duiker


1 comment:

  1. You did a lot of research on this article Greg - Well done. Thank you for promoting the Kruger National Park. Maybe a nice addition to your article where you mention "Pretoriuskop Rest Camp" would be referencing the website too - I do think this would be of value for your readers. Anyways great article Greg!!!