This reserve complex is the oldest in south Africa, and the Umfolozi section is famous for its Rhinoceros conservation programme. The varied topography and range of habitats in this large area has produced a bird list in excess of 340 species. Two days' stay in each of the two main camps is recommended in order to cover the complex adequately. Daily bird lists of around 110 species are possible in summer.
Birding in Hluhluwe
2. From the camp follow the south road and turn right into the loop road past Crocodile Pool and Hippo Pool around the Nzimane loop. Along the way you may encounter Red-billed Firefinch, African Firefinch, Green-winged Pytilia and many Hamerkop and African Pied Wagtail. (2 hours)
3. Take the road south from the camp and turn left past Isivaneni view site and on to the Hluhluwe Dam and Maphumulo picnic site. At these sites you may see Hamerkop, African Jacana, Green-backed Heron, African Fish-Eagle, Trumpeter Hornbill and Lesser Honeyguide. At Maphumulo look for African Finfoot opposite the launch site. Continue on to the main road and return to the camp through grassy hills via Zincakeni Dam. (3 hours).
4. Boat cruise: African Darter, Reed Cormorant, African Finfoot, Green-backed Heron, Grey Heron, Black-headed Heron and Goliath Heron, African Fish-Eagle, Water Thick-knee, African Jacana, Black Crake, Lesser Moorhen, Spur-winged Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher and Malachite Kingfisher. Occasionally seen are Great White Pelican, Pink-backed Pelican and African Openbill.
5. Night drives: Spotted Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar and European Nightjar (Nov-Apr). After heavy rains when the streams flow, White-backed Night-Heron can be found. African Wood-Owl, African Scops-Owl, Barn Owl and Marsh Owl are found occasionally.
6. Seme: Look for Secretarybird, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle, Martial Eagle, White-backed Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Black-bellied Bustard, Crowned Lapwing, Red-throated Wryneck, African Pipit and African Stonechat. At the Seme viewpoint one can find Sabota Lark, Red-throated Wryneck and with luck Flappet Lark. Summer visitors include Amur Falcon, Harlequin Quail, European Roller, Red-backed Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher. The small pans occasionally hold Egyptian Goose, White-faced Duck and the odd wader.
Gate Wetlands. Woolly-necked Stork, Hadeda Ibis, Burchell's Coucal, Red-collared Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Rufous-naped Lark, Yellow-throated Longclaw and Common Waxbill. Occasionally Yellow-billed Duck, Spur-winged Goose, egret, African Marsh-Harrier, Cape Wagtail and Cuckoo Finch. The nearby Manzibomvu stream has African Black Duck, African Finfoot, Mountain Wagtail and Malachite Kingfisher. The hills of Mangangeni have Jackal Buzzard, African Cuckoo Hawk, Flappet Lark and Croaking Cisticola.
Birding in Umfolozi
2. Leaving Mpila Camp, follow the road westward, bearing left past Mantiyane to Mphafa Hide, which overlooks a small waterfall. Here one may find Mocking Cliff-Chat, Three-banded Plover and Lesser Masked-Weaver. Continue along this road again, keeping left to the end which overlooks the white Umfolozi River. You may be fortunate to find Rudd's Apalis and Red-faced Cisticola here. (3 hours)
3. Between the entrance gate and Mpila Camp stop at the Nyalazi look-out for a good view over the reserve, and frequently soaring raptors such as Bateleur, Wahlberg's Eagle and White-backed Vulture may be seen from here. The low level bridge over the black Umfolozi River is home to Wire-tailed Swallow and many other swifts and swallows and is always worth stopping at. There are view sites on both sides of the river where one may get out of the vehicle and find small thornveld species like Long-billed Crombec, Chinspot Batis, Red-faced Mousebird and Pale Flycatcher. (1 hour)
Gate Opening and Closing Times:
Distance and Time from Gate to Camp: 15 kms and 45 minutes
Camp Telephone Number: +27 35 562 0848
The nearest town which has a full range of services is Hluhluwe which is 25 kms away.
How to get there:
Roy Cowgill and Steve Davis 1998
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