Mpumalanga boasts a variety of habitats that result in a spectacular diversity of birdlife. From shallow water pans to magnificent gorges, Mpumalanga has it all.
Leaving Gauteng and travelling along the N4, the following birding routes are worth further investigation:
Wonderfontein Pans: Between Middleburg and Belfast are a series of shallow pans that are home to a selection of Highveld water birds including Greater Flamingo, Macoa Duck, Cape Shoveller, African March Harrier, Black-necked Grebe and African Grass Owl. To reach these pans, head east along the N4 Toll Rout and turn right (south) at the Wonderfontein road, 45 Kms from Middleburg. 10 Kms along one comes upon the largest of the 3 pans, the Klip Pan, with the other 2 pans a few hundred metres down the road. Spending time here with a flask of coffee and binoculars can be most rewarding.
Steenkampsberg: Turn off the N4 at the Belfast sign and continue along the R540 towards Dullstroom. The Steenkampsberg lies between these two towns and is a grassland and wetland birding hotspot and includes the Verloren Valei Nature Reserve, a breeding spot for the critically endangered Wattled Crane. Lakenvlei on the left is a most rewarding drive and is ranked as the eighth most important Bird Area in South Africa, supporting at least 337 bird species. These include 12 globally and 29 nationally threatened species such as the White-winged Flufftail, found at both Lakenvleispruit and Middelpunt Vlei
Kaapsehoop: This tiny hamlet situated on the Mpumalanga escarpment overlooking the De Kaap valley is renowned for its wild horses – and its bird life. Walking trails to the Battery Waterfall and the Escarpment offer great birding and to the south of Kaapsehoop is the Blue Swallow Natural Heritage Site, home to the highly threatened Blue Swallow. Local Birding guide –Enos 072 331 1197.
Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom and Lydenurg is an ideal destination for those wanting to explore the diversity of birdlife in this most scenic area.
OTHER BIRDING HOTSPOTS NEAR STONECUTTERS LODGE: