Birding On The S25
It was our final day in the Kruger National Park, and we decided to go birding on the S25. Game viewing would be included, of course, but our main aim was to drive this beautiful dirt road very slowly and see what bird species we could find. Adrian was really enjoying the birds we had seen, 84 in total, so he was happy we were doing this as well.
Birding On The S25 – What Did We See?
The day started off with a beautiful sunrise, and a Spotted Hyaena patrolling the fence at Malelane Camp. We left the gate, full of excitement, but a bit sad knowing this was our last day. We immediately saw Blue Waxbill and Green Woodhoopoe, followed by a Trumpeter Hornbill flying overhead. As we got onto the S114 which links to the S25 for our birding adventure we came across Impala and the usual suspects – Laughing Dove, Natal Spurfowl, Egyptian Goose, Crested Barbet, Yellow-billed Hornbill and Helmeted Guineafowl.
A flock of Brown-headed Parrots made a brief appearance, and we saw Giraffe, Dwarf Mongoose and a large herd of Elephants, Aimee’s favourite! More common birds were on the menu – Magpie Shrike, Fork-tailed Drongo, Red-billed Hornbill, Burchell’s Starling, Swainson’s Spurfowl, Crested Francolin, Grey Go-away Bird, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove and Arrow-marked Babbler.
We had an amazing few sightings of the White-fronted Bee-eater, where we got some amazing photographs. The raptors were around on the S25 as well. We managed to see White-backed Vulture, African Fish Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle and Yellow-billed Kite.
We had an interesting experience. We heard some tapping and stopped, knowing it was a Woodpecker, but so often they heard and not seen, especially in thick bush. We managed to track down a magnificent Bearded Woodpecker after a few minutes of listening and looking through binoculars.
We saw a few more animals along this route as well, which included Kudu, Bushbuck, Burchell’s Zebra and Common Warthog.
Off The S25 And On To Sunset Dam
We arrived at Sunset Dam after getting some Coffee at Crocodile Bridge and making the short trip on the H4-2. Impala and Lilac Breasted Rollers abounded, and we saw Chacma Baboon, Slender Mongoose and a few Leopard Tortoise on the way. There were Elephants in the Sabie River as we approached Sunset Dam.
When we arrived we could not believe it. We counted, and there were 30 Nile Crocodiles spanning the banks of the dam. Some really big ones were present as well. There must be a lot of Crocodiles in Sunset if this is what we could just count! The Hippo’s were around as well, and there were wading birds such as Grey Heron, Openbill Stork, Yellow-billed Stork, Black-winged Stilt and Hadeda Ibis. There were Barn Swallows and Little Swifts flying above, and a shy Southern Boubou made a brief appearance from some of the shrubbery around the dam.
The Sad Reality Of The End
So we started off birding on the S25, and ended up at Sunset Dam, seeing some amazing things, and now time was unfortunately not on our side. We drove from Sunset Dam out the Crocodile Bridge gate, and we were all really upset. It was a great few days, and we drove a total of 576 kilometers! We witnessed some amazing sightings, truly special, and it was a Blessed trip. We will always be back though, nothing will stop us from visiting the Best Place On Earth – the Kruger National Park!
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