One of the great pleasures of birding in Kruger National Park is that you don’t necessarily have to go on a game drive to find a variety of birds. Birding the camp on foot is often a very productive way of building up a list of bird sightings and, if you are fortunate, you may be allocated a rondavel or chalet with surrounds that bring the birds to you.
Most of Kruger’s camps attract many birds with their well developed trees and gardens, as well as the bush that surrounds the camps, and there is no better way to enjoy the diverse bird life than sitting on your small stoep, sustained by regular injections of appropriate beverages, watching the passing show of birds and occasional animals.
As I mentioned in my last post, we were lucky to get a booking in Olifants camp for 5 nights during the last week of the winter school holidays – prime time in Kruger – and were doubly lucky to get a rondavel with “River view”, which are very sought after.
When we arrived at Olifants and drove to our rondavel after checking in, we were thrilled to see just how good our “river view” was – a view that started with the fence a couple of metres away, then dense bush and trees all the way down the steep slope to the river far below, where we could already make out an elephant or two and some hippos in the pools that form amongst the rocky course of this iconic river.
The River View from our stoep
Over the next 5 days, between the customary game drives, we spent as much time as possible on our small stoep, from early morning coffee to sundowner time, just chilling, reading and seemingly not concerned with our immediate surroundings, but ready at any moment to check out a nearby bird in the bush or more distant ones flying across the river below.
Seen from the Stoep…..
Here are some of the birds that came by to visit us, all taken from our stoep:
The bush in fron of our rondavel was alive with bird life for most of the day and we saw many more than those photographed above, including the likes of …..
Golden-tailed Woodpecker (who decided to “shadow-box” a supposed rival in our car’s external mirror on the day we packed to move on)
And to round off, a couple of non-bird visitors………
4 thoughts on “Kruger in Winter – Lazy Birding”
You had some really welcome visitors gracing your stoep with their presence!
We did – so much so that we had to tear ourelves away and go and do some of the other Kruger activities
This is the life! We camp and I usually try to find a site near some bushes / shrubbery for I find it entertaining to see the wide variety of birds than hang around the area. They have mostly become habituated to humans too and don’t seem to mind being photographed. I have enjoyed this post immensely.
It’s a bit like having your own bird hide in the bush – the birds come and go without concern and you can observe them and photograph them fairly easily. One afternoon I set up my spotting scope on the stoep and was able to see many other species, way down in the river – Saddle-billed Stork, Red-billed Oxpeckers (on a Hippo), White-crowned Lapwing and other delights.