We visit two lesser-known, yet extremely productive birding destinations, located within 2-3 hours drive from Johannesburg
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Loskop Dam & Mabusa Nature Reserves 2021
18 to 20 July 2021
Loskop Dam Nature Reserve
One of Mpumalanga’s most attractive reserves covers an area of 23 612 ha. The reserve lies around the massive Loskop Dam on the Olifants River, 55km north of Middelburg. The dam has created a natural floodplain and the scenic valley has been restocked with animals once indigenous to the area. These include Buffalo, Sable Antelope, Eland, Giraffe, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest and White Rhinoceros.
The dam is approximately 30km long and supplies water to a vast irrigation scheme in the areas of Loskop, Groblersdal, and Marble Hall.
The reserve’s position at the interface between rocky Highveld grassland and mixed bushveld, coupled with the presence of the dam, results in a wide diversity of habitats. Most of the reserve is in a valley and the landscape is hilly, with steeply sloping valley sides and deeply incised drainage lines creating several impressive cliffs and peaks. Broad-leaved woodland covers the hill slopes and is densest in the numerous kloofs. It grades into almost open grassland on the high plateau in the north of the reserve. The hilltops are covered with Transvaal Sugarbush (Protea caffra ) scrub. The dam is the most significant aquatic habitat in the reserve and is surrounded by a varying amount of exposed shoreline, depending on the water level. The Olifants River and the upper reaches of the dam provide important riparian habitat.
Birding Attractions (Approx.320 species)
eBird hotspot link:https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1649408
Secretarybird, Verreaux’s and Tawny Eagle, Lizard Buzzard, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Black Stork, Blue Crane, White-bellied and Red-crested Korhaan, Red-winged, Coqui and Shelley’s Francolin, African Finfoot (rare), Goliath Heron, Giant, Striped and Half-collared Kingfisher, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Flappet Lark, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, Greater Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Green-capped Eremomela, Striped and Bushveld Pipit, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Grey Penduline-Tit, African Quailfinch.
Mabusa Nature Reserve
Situated to the north-east of Bronkhorstspruit, and covering some 15 800 ha, is a little-known but extremely productive birding gem. The reserve hosts a variety of habitats, from spectacular granite outcrops, open grassland, broad-leaved woodland, riverine woodland and thornveld in the northern section to prime Highveld grassland on rolling hills in the south. A few dams and vleis are found south of the reserve.
The reserve boasts a list of nearly 300 species and is regarded as one of the best places to locate several tricky to find birds. Specials include Shelley’s Francolin, White-bellied Bustard, Bushveld Pipit, Fawn-coloured Lark, Green-capped Eremomela and Short-toed Rock Thrush.
Birding Attractions (Approx. 300 species)
eBird Hotspot link: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2923659
African Hawk-Eagle, Lanner Falcon, African Cuckoo Hawk, Rock Kestrel, Pearl-spotted Owlet, African Black Duck, White-backed Night-Heron (rare), Denham’s Bustard (uncommon) White-bellied Korhaan, Shelley’s, Red-winged and Coqui Francolin, Temminck’s Courser, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Red-billed Oxpecker, Grey Tit Flycatcher, Bearded Woodpecker, Cape Grassbird, Flappet, Eastern Clapper and Fawn-coloured Lark, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Long-billed and Bushveld Pipit, Green-capped, Burnt-necked and Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Tinkling (rare),Wailing, Lazy and Red-faced Cisticola, Black-faced and Orange-breasted Waxbill.
This 3-day tour leaves from Johannesburg. We travel in an air-conditioned VW Caravelle Microbus.
Date : July 18, 2021
Johannesburg-Loskop Dam Nature Reserve
Depart from Johannesburg bright and early.
Travel via Devon and Wonderfontein Pans to Loskop Dam.
Afternoon boat cruise on Loskop Dam.
Overnight at lodge.
Date : July 19, 2021
Loskop-Mabusa Nature Reserve -Loskop
Early morning departure for Mabusa NR, arriving around sunrise.
Morning birding in woodland and grasslands of Mabusa.
Afternoon birding on Old Verena Road and surrounding area.
Return to Loskop Dam and overnight at Loskop Dam lodge.
Date : July 20, 2021
Early morning birding in Loskop Dam Nature Reserve.
Depart after brunch
Transport, all meals, accommodation, guiding, entrance fees
Gratuities, alcoholic beverages, and items of a personal nature