Drakensberg birding and bird watching is one of the most popular outdoor activity for visitors. The Drakensberg Mountains and Kwazulu Natal Midlands are some of the richest birding regions of South Africa. This is mainly because of the diversity of habitats. The Drakensberg and Kwazulu Natal Midlands is home to over 500 species of birds. Many of these are endemic to the Drakensberg and Kwazulu Natal Midlands.
This region holds a number of unique species that birders come from all over South Africa and overseas to see and includes majestic raptors, vultures, cranes and bustards. The most sought-after species in the Drakensberg Mountains and Lesotho are Drakensberg Siskin, Drakensberg (Orange-breasted) Rockjumper, Mountain Pipit and Bearded Vulture.
The Drakensberg Mountain Range is much more than high mountains. The foothills are a mosaic of grassland, protea woodland and evergreen Afro-montane forest, with thornveld in warmer valleys, all dissected with perennial clear streams and associated riverine thicket. Thornveld specials include the dazzling Violet-backed Starling and endemic Fiscal Flycatcher. In the grassland are six species of cisticola, the endemic Cape Longclaw and Yellow Bishop, and, strolling majestically, the Secretarybird, Southern Bald Ibis and Southern Ground-Hornbill. Forest species include Southern Boubou, Bush Blackcap, Chorister Robin-Chat and Forest Canary – all endemics.
The theme continues in the riverine scrub – Swee Waxbill, Cape Canary and Drakensberg Prinia: and yet further among the proteas where the Greater and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds coexist with spectacular Gurney’s Sugarbird. Two exceptionally beautiful birds live along the streams – the Mountain Wagtail and Half-collared Kingfisher.
Higher up are boulder-strewn slopes, the haunt of Cape and Sentinel Rock-Thrushes, Buff-streaked Chat, Bokmakierie and Ground Woodpecker – all endemics.
Above the great basalt wall, the Drakensberg summit is more of an undulating plateau with its own special birds. The “must-see” is the tiny and delicate Fairy Flycatcher; the “must-hear” is the Large-billed Lark, one of our finest songsters. Soaring high above everything see the Jackal Buzzard, and Cape and Bearded Vultures. Of particular interest to bird photographers is the Lammergeyer hide (vulture viewing hide) at Giants Castle
Birding can be done at Antbear Lodge and in the nature reserves of the Drakensberg region. The region is well supplied with roads and you can explore it on your own or you can enlist the services of a specialist birding guide