South Africa, Days 16 - 24, 16 - 24 September 2018 - Kruger NP

Apologies in advance - this is going to be one epic blog post with loads of photos covering all the time we spent in the Kruger National Park!

Our itinerary while in the park was as follows:

16 Sept - Arrived midday at Nelspruit airport, picked up hire car and drove into the park entering at the Phabeni Gate. Birded Phabeni Gate to Pretoriouskop. Night at Pretoriouskop rest camp

17 Sept -  Birded Fayi Loop and Pretorouskop to Ber-en-dal. Night at Berg-en-dal rest camp

18 Sept - Birded Berg-en-dal to Skukuza. Night at Skukuza rest camp

19 Sept - Morning game drive from Skukuza. Birded Skukuza area including Lake Panic. Night at Skukuza rest camp

20 Sept - Birded Skukuza rest camp, Mlondozi and Skukuza to Lower Sabie. Night at Lower Sabie rest camp

21 Sept - Birded Lower Sabie to Satara including Sweni Hide and Orpen Dam. Night at Satara rest camp

22 Sept - Birded areas to N, NW & E of Satara including Sweni Hide. Night at Satara rest camp

23 Sept - Birded Olifants River and area. Night at Olifants rest camp

24 Sept - Birded Olifants River and Olifants to Phalaborwa Gate where we exited the park. Drove west to Magoebaskloof area

Without going into each and every detail of each day the bird highlights were a total of 14 Southern Ground Hornbills, Cape Vultures, White-backed Vultures, Lappet-faced Vultures, White-headed Vultures, several Red-crested Koorhan and Kori Bustards, Purple-crested Turacos at Berg-en-dal, Yellow-billed Storks, African Openbills, 2 immense Saddle-billed Storks on the Olifants River after much much searching, 3 Senegal Lapwings, a single White-crowned Lapwing, Secretarybird, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Bennett's, Golden-tailed and Bearded Woodpeckers, White-throated, Red-capped and White-browed Robin-chats, Mocking Cliff Chat, Mariqua Sunbird, Jameson's Firefinch, Green-winged Pytillia, Golden-breasted Buntings and African Quailfinch.

Into the bargain, other new birds I managed to score with were Blue Waxbill, Kurrichane Thrush, Southern Black Flycatcher, Grey Go-away Bird, Southern Yellow-billed, Southern Red-billed, Trumpeter and Crowned Hornbills, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Brown-headed Parrot, Lazy Cisticola, Croaking Cisticola, Dark-capped Bulbul, Arrow-marked Babbler, Red-billed Oxpecker, White-bellied Sunbird, Swainson's and Crested Francolins, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Grey-breasted Green Pigeon, Burchell's Coucal, Water Thick-knee, White-fronted Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Acacia Pied and Black-collared Barbet, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Chinspot Batis, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bush-shrikes, Black-backed Puffback, Magpie Shrike, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Southern Black Tit, Sabota Lark, Rattling Cisticola, Lesser-striped, Rufous-chested and Grey-rumped Swallows, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Burchell's Starling, Red-billed Buffalo-weaver, White-winged Widowbird, Lesser Masked Weaver, Red-headed Weaver and African Firefinch. Phew, I'd have taken that lot before I went!

The numerous photos that follow are at least in chronological order! Scroll past them for details of the mammal action we experienced...

Red-billed Oxpecker

Arrow-marked Babbler

Blue Waxbill

Crested Barbet

Southern Black Tit

Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling

Green-winged Pytilia

African Hoopoe

Wahlberg's Eagle

Black-collared Barbet

Croaking Cisticola

Lilac-breasted Roller

African Quailfinch

Southern Ground Hornbill


Magpie Shrike

Kurrichane Thrush

Grey-headed Bush Shrike

Natal Spurfowl

Long-billed Crombec

Red-billed Firefinch

White-browed Robin-chat

Terrestrial Brownbul

Purple-crested Turaco

Brown-crowned Tchagra

Orange-breasted Bush Shrike

Greater Honeyguide

Southern Red-billed Hornbill

White-fronted Bee-eater

Red-billed Buffalo-weaver

Pale Chanting Goshawk

Cape Vulture

Golden-breasted Bunting

Swainson's Spurfowl

Tawny Eagle

Emerald-spotted Wood Dove

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Red-billed Oxpecker on Impala

Bearded Woodpecker

White-backed Vulture

Lappet-faced Vulture and White-backed Vulture

Goliath Heron

Hooded Vulture

White-backed Vulture

Marabou Stork

Striated Heron

White-bellied Sunbird

African Pied Wagtail


Blacksmith Plover

African Fish Eagle

Dark-capped Bulbul

White-throated Robin-chat

Yellow-bellied Greenbul

Village Weaver

Pied Kingfisher

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Cape Turtle Dove

Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling

White-crowned Plover

Yellow-billed Stork

Yellow-billed Kite

African Jacana

Jameson's Firefinch

Dark-capped Bulbul

Mocking Cliff Chat

Sabota Lark

White-crested Helmet Shrike

African Openbill

Lizard Buzzard

Acacia Pied Barbet

Brown-hooded Parrot

Kori Bustard


Black-backed Puffback

Yellow-bellied Greenbul

Crested Barbet

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Red-billed Buffalo-weaver

Burchell's Starling

Red-crested Koorhan

Golden-tailed Woodpecker

African Grey Hornbill

Red-billed Quelea

Blue Waxbill

Cape Glossy Starling

Red-crested Koorhan

Grey Go-away Bird

Blue Waxbill

White-winged Widowbird

Yellow-billed Stork

Water Thick-knee

African Mourning Dove

Southern Ground Hornbill

White-headed Vulture

Lesser Striped Swallow

Giant Kingfisher

Brown Snake Eagle

Tawny Eagle


Black-headed Oriole

Mariqua Sunbird

White-bellied Sunbird

Chinspot Batis

Mocking Cliff Chat

Martial Eagle

African Spoonbill

Yellow-billed Stork

Saddle-billed Stork

Lesser Masked Weaver

Of course, animals were the other big reason to visit Kruger and they didn't disappoint. In fact I was surprised by the volume of animals as well and being well and truly blown away by the views we got of all the ones I wanted. The commonest antelopes are without a doubt Impala followed by Greater Kudu with smaller numbers of Waterbuck, Nyala, Steenbok, Bushbuck and just one small group of Sable Antelopes. The numbers of Plains Zebra (300+), Giraffe (100+), Elephant (300+) were astounding with numerous Hippos, c25 White Rhinos, loads of African Savannah Buffalo and Blue Wildebeest. It was the predators that stole the show with c20 Lions (including males, females, cubs and even a family on a Wildebeest kill) and 2 Leopards plus 1 Brown Hyaena, several Spotted Hyaenas including a family party, Warthogs, 1 Black-backed Jackal, Chacma Baboons and Green Vervet Monkeys. The latter raided our car and nicked a bag of bananas at one point! Smaller mammals included Slender Mongoose, Common Dwarf Mongoose, Savannah Hare, Tree Squirrel and Single-striped Grass Mouse. We finished the whole trip with 42 mammal sp!



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