• Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes

Kgalagadi Raptor Bonanza 2021-Series 2

26 February to 6 March 2021

Kalahari Sunset

The Kgalagadi is an enchanting wilderness with its nuances of colour, glorious sunrises and sunsets, its constant struggle for life, water and existence. It is a land that grows on one with a beauty of lights and colours, red dunes and vast spaces that seem to recharge the soul.

The Birding Attractions of the Kgalagadi

This will be an unforgettable experience for the raptor birder. Of the 80 species of raptors recorded in South Africa, 52, or two-thirds have been seen in the Kalahari.

Tawny, Martial, Bateleur and Black-chested Snake-Eagle are the common Kalahari eagles and are all sure to be seen in good numbers.  Secretary Birds are a dime-a-dozen and often congregate in large numbers at waterholes.

Secretarybird
Secretarybird

Southern Pale Chanting and Gabar Goshawk, together with Greater Kestrel are the most abundant and widespread of the smaller raptors. Lanner Falcons are frequently found near windmills, where they prey on the Sandgrouse (both Burchell’s and Namaqua), doves and other small birds that come to drink.

Mata Mata Waterhole

This is one of the few places in South Africa to see Red-necked Falcon. The beautiful Pygmy Falcon, South Africa’s smallest raptor, at no more than 20 cm in length, is common. White-backed and Lappet-faced Vultures are regularly seen, whilst White-headed and Hooded Vultures are occasionally encountered.

Red-necked Falcon
Red-necked Falcon

Seven species of owls have been recorded. Grass Owl is a rare visitor in years of exceptionally high rainfall, but the others are all resident.  Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Southern White-faced Scops-Owl, Barn Owl and Pearl-spotted Owlet are often seen, whilst the tiny African Scops-Owl is heard calling at night.

The most conspicuous bird in the Kgalagadi dunes is the Northern Black Korhaan and the Kori Bustard, the heaviest flying bird in the world, is abundant.

Kori Bustard
Kori Bustard

Larks, sparrowlarks, canaries, weavers, wattled starlings, sandgrouse and doves come and go in their thousands.  Insectivores include Marico and Chat Flycatcher, the striking Crimson-breasted Shrike, Fork-tailed Drongo, Familiar and Anteating Chat and Swallow-tailed Bee-eater.  A few mixed feeders such as the Red-eyed Bulbul, Acacia Pied Barbet, Great Sparrow and Cape and Burchell’s Glossy Starlings are also common residents.  The lapwing-like Double-banded Courser is also often seen.

Crimson-breasted Shrike
Crimson-breasted Shrike

The Mammals of the Kgalagadi 

The Kgalagadi is not merely a paradise for birders.  Early morning and late afternoon game drives regularly provide spectacular wildlife experiences.

The Park is the home of the world-renowned Kalahari Lion.  Set against the open landscape, especially if it is atop a red dune, a large male lion with its head, neck and shoulders draped with a luxuriant black mane is indeed a marvellous sight.  Cheetah is regularly seen and the Auob river bed is widely considered to be one of the best places in Africa to observe this graceful feline hunting.  Less common predators include Leopard, African Wild Cat and Caracal.  Both Brown and Spotted Hyaena occur in the Park and are often seen at the floodlit waterhole at Nossob camp after dark. Blackbacked Jackals, Bat-eared Foxes and Cape Foxes are regular nocturnal visitors to the camps.

The herbivores are well represented, with the magnificent Gemsbok, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest and Steenbok being regularly seen.  Less common species include Eland, Red Hartebeest, Giraffe and Kudu.

We stay in the following camps in the Park: Twee Rivieren (3 nights), Mata Mata and Nossob (two nights each).

The last night of our trip is spent at the charming Kalahari Guest House, situated on a farm some 40 km north of Upington.

Auob River
Auob River

 

This 9-day tour departs from Johannesburg. We travel in an air-conditioned VW Caravelle, 4-wheel drive Microbus.

Itineraries

Day 1

Date : February 26, 2021

Johannesburg-Twee Rivieren

Depart at “sparrows” from Johannesburg. Travel via Kuruman and Upington and arrive at Twee Rivieren in the mid-afternoon. Late afternoon drive and overnight at Twee Rivieren camp.

Day 2

Date : February 27, 2021

Twee Rivieren area

Day spent birding and game viewing. Overnight at Twee Rivieren camp.

Day 3

Date : February 28, 2021

Twee Rivieren-Mata Mata

Early morning departure from Twee Rivieren. Travel along the Auob River en route to Mata Mata. Enjoy brunch at Kamqua picnic site. Arrive at Mata Mata at around lunchtime. Afternoon birding and overnight at Mata Mata.

Day 4

Date : March 1, 2021

Mata Mata area

Day spent birding and game viewing. Overnight at Mata Mata camp.

Day 5

Date : March 2, 2021

Mata Mata-Nossob

Early morning departure from Mata Mata. Travel along the Auob River and the lower dune road en route to Nossob camp. Enjoy brunch at Dikbaardskolk picnic site Arrive at Nossob camp in mid-afternoon. Late Afternoon birding and overnight at Nossob camp.

Day 6

Date : March 3, 2021

Nossob camp

Day spent birding and game viewing. Overnight at Nossob camp.

Day 7

Date : March 4, 2021

Nossob-Twee Rivieren

Early morning birding on loop roads around camp. Depart after breakfast and head for Twee Rivieren, arriving early afternoon. Late afternoon birding and overnight at Twee Rivieren camp.

Day 8

Date : March 5, 2021

Twee Rivieren-Kalahari Guest House

Early morning game drive from Twee Rivieren camp. Enjoy breakfast at Melkvlei picnic site. Exit Park and head for Kalahari Guest House, some 50 km north of Upington. Afternoon birding on farm. Overnight at Kalahari Guest House.

Day 9

Date : March 6, 2021

Kalahari Guest House-Johannesburg

Early morning birding in area around farm. Depart after breakfast for Johannesburg, arriving early evening.

Includes

Transport, all meals and accommodation, guiding and daily conservation fees.

Excludes

Alcoholic beverages, gratuities, and items of a personal nature.