There are rare birds in Limpopo, high on birders’ covet and bucket lists – this is only region in South Africa where you can, if you are lucky and persistent, see the Mottled Spinetail.
Birdlife SA guide
Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge offers guided birding trips to Birding hot spots of choice with Samson Mulaudzi, a qualified BirdLife South Africa guide. These hotspots are all in relative close proximity to Madi a Thavha: Hanglip,Thathe vondo Forest, Roodewal, Entabeni, Muirhead Dams and Reserve, Luvuvhu River, Albasini Dam whilst places like Golwe, Sagole Baobab Tree, Crook,’s Corner and Pafuri Picnic site can easily be managed in scenic day-trips from our lodge.
Bird watchers going with Samson, leave early in the morning and return to the lodge in the afternoon to relax at the swimming pool or to continue bird watching around the farm house or in the surrounding mountains. Samson is always on the look-out for varied species such as White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot and Osprey. Various kingfishers can be seen in his area of operation, as well as Buff-spotted Flufftail. Rarities such as the Rock Pratnicole have turned in on occasion too.
Hanglip Forest, an easily-accessible Afro-temperate mist-belt forest, has a resident Narina Trogon, Lemon Dove, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, White-starred Robin, Knysna Turaco and Yellow-streaked Greenbul. Roodewal Nature Reserve is renowned for its fairly reliable sightings of the elusive African Broadbill, Samson has stake-outs for this enigmatic bird, as wel l as for the gorgeous Bush-Shrike, the Eastern Nicator and Green Twinspot in this forest. Entabeni Forest’s special birds include a resident Bat Hawk. Other birds to be found around here are Orange Ground Thrush, Brown Scrub Robin and Green Twinspot.
Expert’s Soutpansberg big five
Local bird expert and co-writer of the book Greater Limpopo birding, Dr Sarah Venter gave us her pick of the Soutpansberg’s ‘big five’ and if you’re patient, persistent and fortunate you might just tick them all during one visit to our region. Here they are: The Blue-spotted Dove and African Broadbill, not readily found elsewhere in South Africa but can be seen in the subtropical Levubu valley 50 km from our lodge. During specific times and seasons the Mottled Spinetail can be found only at Sagole’s Big Tree (Baobab) and nowhere else in the country. Our region is also a hot spot for the African Crowned Eagle with many of these magnificent birds nesting in the Soutpansberg. The Crested Guinea fowl is a regular sight in our indigenous forests and at Madi a Thavha.
Northern Kruger Park also part of us
Apart from regularly hearing and seeing purple crested Loeries in Madi a Thavha’s garden whilst having breakfast on the veranda, birders can look forward to abundant birdlife with the Soutpansberg region being home to 60% of South Africa’s bird species. The National Kruger Park’s two most northern gates are in Limpopo and their Big six: Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Saddle-billed Stork and Southern Ground Hornbill, are also part of our repertoire of possibilities.
- Tshivhazwa Dam: The dam is situated just 7 kilometers from the R524 road turn off to Vuwani on the road from Louis Trichardt to Punda Maria. This is the best place to see African Pygmy Goose, Allen’s Gallinule and White-Backed Duck
- Hanglip Forest: An easily accessible Afro-temperate Mist-belt forest with a picnic site and short trails. This is the best place to find White-starred Robin and Yellow streaked Greenbul.
- Roodewal Nature Reserve Forest: This is the best and most reliable site in the Soutpansberg for African Broadbill.
Rates birding trips
|Self drive – birding guide – picnic. From 3 persons then per person. Valid until 31/10/2017||R 450|
|Self drive – birding guide – picnic. For 2 persons, per person. Valid until 31/10/2017||R 675|
The birds around Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge
The numbers are according to the 6th edition of Roberts Birds of Southern africa.
Drawn from a list supplied by Samson Mulaudzi and supplemented by records from Dave Brown.
|131 Verreaux’s Eagle||600 Red–capped Robin – Chat|
|141 African crowned Eagle||602 White–throated Robin – Chat|
|152 Jackal Buzzard||613 White–browed Scrub – Robin|
|157 Little Sparrowhawk||643 Willow Warbler|
|160 African Goshawk||645 Bar–throated Apalis|
|189 Crested Francolin||648 Yellow-breasted Apalis|
|196 Natal Spurfowl||651 Long–Billed crombec|
|203 Helmeted Guineafow||657 Green–backed Camaroptera|
|204 Crested Guineafowl||674 Red – faced cisticola|
|350 African olive–pigeon||679 Lazy Cisticola|
|352 Red – eyed Dove||683 Tawny–flanked prinia|
|358 Emerald–spotted Wood –Dove||689 Spotted Flycatcher|
|359 Tambourine Dove||693 Grey Tit–Flycatcher|
|371 Purple–crested Turaco||700 Cape Batis|
|374 Common Cuckoo||701 Chinspot Batis|
|377 Red–chested Cuckoo||710 African Paradise–Flycatcher|
|385 Klaas Cuckoo||712 Mountain Wagtail|
|394 African Wood–Owl||720 Striped Pipit|
|404 European Nightjar||733 Red–backed Shrike|
|405 Fiery–necked Nightjar||736 Southern Boubou|
|415 White–rumped Swift||740 Black–backed puffback|
|424 Speckled Mousebird||747 Gorgeous Bush–Shrike|
|427 Narina Trogon||750 Olive Bush–Shrike|
|432 African Pygmy–Kingfisher||751 Grey–headed Bush-Shrike|
|435 Brown–hooded Kingfisher||769 Red–winged Starling|
|438 European Bee–eater||785 Greater Double–collared Sunbird|
|444 Little Bee–eater||791 Scarlet–chested Sunbird|
|449 Purple Roller||792 Amethyst Sunbird|
|464 Black–collared Barbet||793 Collared Sunbird|
|470 Yellow–fronted Tinkerbird||796 Cape White–eye|
|475 Scaly–throated Honeyguide||810 Spectacled Weaver|
|476 Lesser Honeyguide||814 Southern Masked–Weaver|
|486 Cardinal Woodpecker||821 Red–billed Quelea|
|487 Bearded Woodpecker||826 Yellow–crowned Bishop|
|488 Olive Woodpecker||827 Yellow Bishop|
|518 Barn swallow||831 Red–collared Widowbird|
|527 Lesser Striped Swallow||835 Green Twinspot|
|543 Eurasian Golden Oriole||840 African Firefinch|
|543 Eurasian Golden Oriole||841 Jamesons Firefinch|
|568 Dark–capped Bulbul||846 Common Waxbill|
|569 Terrestrial Brownbul||857 Bronze Mannikin|
|572 Sombre Greenbul||860 Pin–tailed whydah|
|574 Yellow–bellied Greenbul||864 Dusky Indigobird|
|575 Eastern Nicator||869 Yellow fronted Canary|
|576 Kurrichane Thrush||881 Streaky–heade Seedeater|
|689 Familiar Chat||884 Golden–breasted bunting|
|599 White–browned Robin–Chat|