Birding and Wildlife

The Southern Drakensberg forms part of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, declared a World Heritage Site for both its precious cultural and natural resources. The spectacular escarpment of the Drakensberg hosts a rich biological diversity of endemic and rare plant and animal species including unique high altitude Alpine vegetation. The summer months see the mountainside transformed into a mass of colourful flowers, not to be missed. Nowhere is this abundant floral splendour more evident than in the Southern Drakensberg, because the Sani Pass makes rapid access to even alpine flora very easy. Birdwatchers come here to see rare and uncommon cranes, endemic raptors like the mighty Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer), and mountain grassland species like the Drakensberg Siskin and the Orange breasted Rockjumper. Over 150 rock art sites exist in the Southern Berg. The San paintings represent a coherent tradition that embodies the beliefs and cosmology of a people whose cultural traditions are largely lost in the region. Rock paintings can be visited if accompanied by a certified guide.

Birding in the Drakensberg

Around the world bird watching is the most popular outdoor activity after gardening but in the Drakensberg and Lesotho it is THE most popular outdoor activity for visitors.

This region holds a number of unique species that birders come from all over South Africa and overseas to see and includes majestic raptors, vultures, cranes and bustards. The most sought-after species in the Drakensberg Mountains and Lesotho are Drakensberg Siskin, Drakensberg (Orange-breasted) Rockjumper, Mountain Pipit and Bearded Vulture.

In the mist-belt forests and mist-belt grasslands of Donnybrook and Creighton the most charismatic species are Cape Parrot, Orange Ground Thrush and Blue Swallow.
In the upland grasslands look for Wattled, Blue and Grey-crowned Cranes, Denham’s Bustard and Secretary bird.

The region is well supplied with roads and you can explore it on your own or use a registered bird tour guide listed below.