The Drakensberg Mountains offer fantastic birding hotspots. So if your a twitcher some Drakensberg birding is for you. The magnificent mountain region and escarpment is the habitat to over 350 species of bird life. High-altitude alpine sites, steep grassy slopes, forested rivers and more provide sanctuary to majestic raptors, tiny thrushes, pipits and hundreds of other rare and even endangered unique birds. An increasing number of proficient local guides can assist in finding them, providing the rewarding experience of tracking down some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures.
The vulture hides
And then there are the vulture hides at Giants Castle where there are regular sightings of cape vultures and bearded vultures offering a very special Drakensberg birding experience.
The Crane Sanctuary
The Wattled Crane is a very large, conspicuous bird with a white neck, grey back and black belly. It has two whitish wattles beneath its chin. Its habitat ranges from midland to highland wetlands and moist grasslands. These cranes, of which there are only about 70 nesting pairs in South Africa, are severely endangered due to the loss of their spongy wetland habitats. The Hlatikulu Crane sanctuary with its rehabilitation program, just up the road from Antbear Lodge, is the perfect location to spend some time in these wetlands. In fact all 3 varieties of crane can be seen here.
The Midlands Birding Route
Starting in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site, the route meanders its way down from the sand stone cliffs, basalt precipices and buttresses, through the foothills of the Drakensberg and into the picturesque rolling hillsides of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Other key Midlands birding attractions include some of the most reliable sites for Cape Parrots and Blue Swallows
Highmoor has the largest colony of breeding Bald Ibis in the Drakensberg. Highmoor also has a single nesting site of Wattled Crane. A variety of birds can also be seen including black stork, Verreaux’s eagle, bearded vulture, lanner falcon, Cape vulture and giant kingfisher.
Falcon Ridge is a bird of prey center in the Champagne Valley that includes large birds rehabilitated from injury, and provides an excellent opportunity to see these magnificent sky warriors in action. Daily shows include an informative talk and a memorable performance of avian acrobatics, as the resident birds of prey swoop down to seize tasty morsels of meat midair.