Friday, February 2, 2018

Kruger Park birdlife.Game drives from Tented Adventures, Pretoriuskop. Kruger National Park.


Tented Adventures in the early morning.
Not all the guests go out for the morning drive as the wake up call is at 04h30!
But as far as I am concerned, if it is not raining, then I will be on the vehicle.
Even in winter, when the temperature can hover in the very low numbers,
I am prepared to layer up and freeze until the sun comes up to get THAT shot.


By the time sun rises over the great African landscape, we were well into the drive.
As it started to warm up, the chances of seeing game increased.
Birds especially wait for the sun to warm themselves before flying off to forage


Field guide, Jason Banford is a passionate birder.
During my drives with him, we tended to focus on those Park inhabitants
 that have feathers and beaks...and even talons in some cases.

A family of Water Thick-Knee searching for food.
The youngsters seem to be waiting for Mom to be doing all the providing.

Not the usual place to find a male Pin-tailed Whydah.
Especially in the breeding season, when the males are intent on primping and preening.
Fun fact #89: This particular species is able to hover in mid air, 
all the while showing off to prospective mates.

A Grey Heron, doing what a Grey Heron does...
keeping an eye open for an early morning snack.

A Ruff...
A strange name for a bird indeed.
At least it will never get into a fight!

A European Roller enjoying and Elegant Grasshopper for breakfast!
Usually it is the Lilac-Breasted Roller that is seen during drives,
this time they seemed to be almost non-existent.

A lone White-Headed Vulture.
And no carrion in sight.

A juvenile Bateleur.
This particular birds morphs several times before taking on the recognizable adult plumage.
The "experts" tried to rename this species the Short-tailed Eagle, luckily without success.
Bateleur in French can mean either a tightrope walker or an acrobat.

The iconic African Fish Eagle.
The cry of this bird is what makes Africa memorable.
Once heard, never forgotten.

Woodland Kingfisher.
Not all Kingfishers live near water and not all of them eat exclusively fish.
This particular species, as its name suggests, is found in woodland and savanna with tall trees.,
and it favoured prey species is insects.
That being said, it has been known to eat fish, snakes and even other birds.  

Not the Disney character, but a close relative.
This is the Southern Red-Billed Hornbill.
The Yellow and Grey variety can also be found in the Park,
with the former being the Disney character Zazu.

A Helmeted Guinea fowl.
I did not even have to leave the camp site to get this shot.
I found this willing subject right outside my tent flap.
For the longest while I thought that they were unable to fly,
as they will only take to the wing at the last moment.
It is rather funny watching them running up and down the camp fence
 trying to get through or under it.
Finally, they eventually figure out that they are able to FLY over it!

A Red-Billed Oxpecker on a giraffe.
The bird has a symbiotic relationship with the host animal.
The bird gets food and the animal is relieved of ticks and parasites.
A win-win situation.

A glorious Southern Carmine Bee-eater

A Steppe Buzzard.
One of the more recognizable Buzzard species and often seen alongside the road.

A beautiful European Bee-Eater

A Black shouldered Kite.
The huge red eyes make it easily identifiable.
Aside from finding them in the various game reserves,
they can often be found perched on telephone cables that run alongside the main roads. 

An Arrow-marked Babbler.
Another species that I did not have to leave my tent for.
There was a huge flock of them just the other side of the fence.
There raucous calling alerted me to their presence.
They are SERIOUSLY noisy!

As the sun quickly sinks behind the Western horizon,
it is time to head back to camp.

Around the dinner table.
Where game drives emotions are shared and stories are exchanged.
On the evenings that I was in camp, the guests were all from various European countries.

This is Marvelous preparing dinner.
Aside from making dinner and breakfasts,
his bubbly personality will be part of the memories that guests depart with.

This is Stephan, he and his brother (who was off duty during my visit)
have infectious laughs and smiles and both are a joy to interact with.
Both are favourites with the guests.
And his expertise in the kitchen is becoming legendary.

*BREAKING NEWS*
Tented Adventures recently won a Lilizela Tourism award!
Well done to all concerned.
To find out more about what they offer,
visit their website:

In order to get to Tented Adventures, I used this shuttle company.
The Johanneburg/Nelspruit/Hazyview route was only recently introduced.
It is already proving to be very popular with those who chose to use Ashtons.

The pick up and drop off point in Hazyview.
If you get here early there are a plethora of shops 
to browse in and buy last minute gifts or snacks.

The driver on the return leg was Hector Ndlovu.
My second trip with this happy fellow!
Despite the inclement weather and a couple of accident scenes along the N4,
he brought us safely back to Johannesburg
More importantly, the shuttle left on time.
I can highly recommend this service.
To find out more about the routes they offer,
visit their website: 



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