Kruger Park: Best Birding Guide

White Chested Sun-bird Which Birds? Which Region? Everything for the enthusiast and the amateur.

Take your next birding holiday in Kruger National Park.

This collection of over 60 different routes is ideal for self-drive bird-watching tours, enabling you to seek out your favorite species around the various regions of the Park.
This guide will also help you locate the ideal Rest Camps or safari lodge on or near the routes you want to tour, with an easy to book reservation process

See Birding Routes in Kruger Park

Carmine Bee-eaters The Top Ten Birding Drives in Kruger Park

Birding is all about habitat. Although birds can fly anywhere, they generally are to be found in the habitat that most favours their feeding requirements.

Those routes with the biggest variety of habitat and generous riverine bush are more likely to throw up "lifers".

In researching this project it become clear to the authors which have been the most rewarding birding drives.

Explore the Best Birding Drives

African Fish-eagle

Kruger's Birds of Prey

Raptors are the lords of the skies and Kruger is their sanctuary. Of the 83 species of raptor that regularly occur in southern Africa, 58 species are common to Kruger Park.

See a comprehensive guide about:

Buzzards, Eagles, Falcons and Kestrels, Fish-eating Raptors, Goshawks and Sparrowhawks Harriers Kites, Owls and Owlets, the Secretary Bird and of course - Vultures.

See Birds of Prey


The Best Time to go Birding in Kruger Park

The months between October and March is when the bird population swells by approximately 200 migrant species that have flown south from elsewhere in Africa and from Eurasia.

Migrants and nomads normally arrive after the first summer rains when the availability of water ensures that food is plentiful. Most depart by the second week of April.Saddle-billed Stork.Generally the chances are that the enthusiastic birder has a better chance of rare sighting fulfillment than his counterpart looking for rare mammals. For instance, there are an estimated 80 Saddle-billed Storks in Kruger and approximately 200 cheetah.

One is almost guaranteed a sighting of the Saddle-billed Stork at Kanniedood dam near Shingwedzi Camp. But not even the most bush-savvy ranger can guarantee a cheetah sighting.

Definitive Birding Guide

The Definitive Kruger Park Birding GuideEverything for the Enthusiast and the AmatuerHere you will find a Kruger Park Birding Calendar as well as the rainfall patterns and geology of Kruger Park, that governs the habitats where various bird species can be found.
Read up on: Bird Migration Routes, Endangered Species and Kruger's Summer Visitors from the northern hemisphere winters.
Get a Birds eye View of Kruger

Quick Guides

Lilac breasted rollerAll you need to know about endangered bird species in Kruger Park, as well as an overview of what you can expect at the Various Kruger Park Rest Camps.
Best Birding Tips
Borderline Endangered Species
Kruger's Most Endangered Birds
Camp Quickguide
See Quick Guides

Birding Trails and Hides

Greater FlamingoFor the birding enthusiast or novice visiting Kruger Park for the first time, these resources & expert advice will come in handy:
Bird Hides
Birding Trail Hikes
Nigel Dennis Photo Tips
Sleep-Over Bird Hides

See Birding Activities

Each trip to Kruger deepens one's affinity to the birds of the bush and produces something new or different. Birding in Kruger is an experience that gets deeper over time with the joy of the familiar sighting - confirming one's existing knowledge - and the thrill of the unexpected. No two birding trips to Kruger are ever the same.

Swainson's SpurfowlTraditionally, coming across a kill is the highlight of a visit to the Kruger Park. And while there is undoubtedly vicarious pleasure in seeing nature in all its savage beauty, visitors to the Park are increasingly looking for a deeper experience, one that offers a taste of life beyond the confines of our modern existence, an insight into a world driven by natural forces rather than artificial deadlines.

The bush links us to our most ancient past as it is typical of the African landscape in which our earliest ancestors emerged before their long walk to global dominance.

It speaks about survival, reminding us of what we once were, and gives us a chance to reflect on what we have become. In Kruger we have the space to lose ourselves ... and find ourselves all over again.

Birds as a species, are old. Their origins lie in the era of the dinosaurs some 200 million years ago. That is a hundred times older than our own genus, of which some of the earliest evidence has been found in Kruger.

There are recently discovered human occupation sites in the far north of the Park that date back over 1.5 million years to the early stone age, a time when our brain size was less than half of what it is today, when we had no language to speak of and could only master the most rudimentary stone tools.Crowned Eagle

During the entire passage of our subsequent evolution as a species, birds have been a constant companion along the way, inspiring us with their songs, colours and habits.

They have even preyed on us. A large raptor - quite possibly the African Crowned Eagle - was probably responsible for the death of the Taung child (see the Bird of Prey Hypothesis) some 2.4 million years ago.
A Note on Nomenclature

This birding information follows the lead of Roberts VII for bird names, while tree names take their cue from the Sappi Tree Spotting Lifer List (Jacana, 2004). All new name changes have been adopted for both birds and trees - with one exception. The common Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus migrans parasitus) has been deliberately retained while recognising that it has been scientifically reclassified as the same species as the Black Kite (Milvus migrans).

The main justification is that the Yellow-billed Kite is one of the most commonly seen raptors, while the Black Kite is an occasional visitor. To talk about them in the same breath as far as Kruger is concerned is to invite confusion (see Kites ). All new bird name changes are marked with an *.

Yellow Billed Ox-peckerMost experienced Kruger birders will probably agree with us that the best birding in Kruger is in the Far North in the sandveld and tropical riverine bush.

This is where subtropical and tropical species overlap resulting in the highest diversity of birds in the Park and the chances of sightings that one will not have elsewhere in South Africa.

See the Kruger National Park Birding Calendar to discover what is happening in the Park's birdlife on a month by month basis. Read up on bird migration details of the fascinating journey undertaken annually by hundreds of thousands of birds that make Kruger their summer home.

The Kruger Park Raptor Guide

African Eagle in the sunset. Nigel DennisThe Raptor Guide is a comprehensive guide to Kruger's birds of prey with individual illustrations of, and identification tips for more than 50 raptors and suggestions as to where best to find them in the Park.