Best Birding Drives
Image : Goliath Heron
Engelhard Dam near Letaba (S62)
The birding is varied because of the large expanse of water and the diversity of habitats - mopaneveld, riverine forest and Lebombo bush. The drive along the northern bank (S62), via a stop on the Letaba River Bridge, has better views over the water than does the southern drive (S44). Matambeni Hide is one of Kruger's best hides with an engaging view over the dam and the surrounding bush.
On a good summer's day, one can chalk up 50 sightings within an hour including a wide variety of water and grassland birds. Among the Engelhard specialities are the Goliath Heron, which breeds along the Letaba River and the African Hawk-Eagle, which hunts above the riverine bush.
There is a profusion of storks, egrets, stilts, lapwings and other waders, while the summer time calls of the Jacobin Cuckoo and Woodland Kingfisher pierce the bush. European and Southern Carmine Bee-eaters, Blue Waxbills, swifts and swallows are common sightings.
Engelhard Dam wall is an excellent birding spot with views over the dam and at the rocky stretch of river below the retaining wall. Occasionally, pelicans and flamingoes land at Engelhard. Collared Pratincoles* have been breeding on the southern banks of Engelhard since the 1980s. (See - Engelhard Dam).