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Magoebaskloof | Tristan Spurway

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

There are very few places in the country that even begin to compare to the Magoebaskloof area. With over 300 species of bird within a day's reach, countless habitats and a wealth of endemic fauna and flora the area is a birders paradise. I’ve spent my life birding the area, adding Black-fronted Bush Shrike to my list way before adding Orange-breasted. To top it all off, the waterfalls and views make it the ideal family destination, meaning that your non-birding family members won’t get in the way of your much needed birding.


Black-fronted Bushshrike
Black-fronted Bushshrike

The area’s habitats include montane grassland, mist-belt forest, dry bushveld, lowveld woodland, riparian woodland and sub-alpine Drakensberg vegetation. This diversity of habitats provides an abundance of highly sought after species for the keen birder to find! With a little bit of effort and some neck-breaking forest birding even a novice birder can manage 150+ species in a day.


Magoebaskloof grassland habitat
Magoebaskloof
Magoebaskloof forest habitat
Magoebaskloof

If you had told me that you could go from seeing Short-clawed Lark within 100 metres of a Gorgeous Bush shrike and then proceed to drive half an hour to see Gurney's Sugarbird, Striped Flufftail and Buff-streaked Chat I would've said that you were insane, this area turns that insanity into a breath-taking experience that even expert birders can’t believe.

Gurney's Sugarbird
Gurney's Sugarbird

The area is easily traversible with well-demarcated roads and countless accommodation options. Guides are readily available in the area and I would suggest David Letsalo at the Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge as he has vast experience of the area and its birds, and I have never seen his face without a smile. For the birder that prefers to explore alone there is a wealth of information in “The Chamberlain Guide to Gauteng Birding” by Faansie Peacock and Etienne Marais. There are also a few local birders(Including myself) that are very happy to share any form of Gen with a fellow birder.


White-starred Robin