The small town of Underberg is situated on the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal.
For birders, the area presents many opportunities for sought-after species. Underberg is the gateway to the world-famous Sani Pass, which not only allows for some amazing birding but also breathtaking scenery. The pass presents the opportunity to see species such as Drakensberg Rockjumper, Drakensberg Siskin, and Mountain Pipit.
There is a variety of other habitats around the town, including mist belt forests, grasslands, and wetlands. These forests will allow birders the possibility of seeing the Cape Parrot - endemic to South Africa - as well as species such as Chorister Robin-chat and Forest Canary. Other species in the area include Barratt’s Warbler, Fan-tailed Grassbird, Bush Blackcap, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Buff-streaked Chat, as well as all three Southern African crane species (Wattled, Blue, and Grey-crowned Crane).
Over the years that I have birded, Underberg has become one of my favorite destinations to visit. This is not only because of the birding opportunities in the area but also because of what else the town has to offer. The town is the ideal destination for birders with families, as there is a lot to do besides birding.
So for those who are looking to visit the town, here is what Underberg offers besides just great birding.
A well-stocked supermarket - The Underberg Spar is well-stocked, eliminating the need to pack plenty of groceries before your trip. Not only does the shop have a wide selection of food items, but it also has a coffee shop and a fantastic bakery. When staying in Underberg, I enjoy buying freshly baked bread from the Spar in a variety of options, all at great prices. The only negative thing about the Spar is that it does get very busy at times. With that being said, I have been able to get everything that I need at the Spar and have even seen items stocked that I struggle to get in other Spars. Contact 033-7011554 | Facebook
A quality butchery - The last time I visited Underberg, I decided to try out Underberg Meat Supply. I was blown away by the high-quality meat in the shop and the fantastic service. The shop is small but very well-stocked - including jams and fresh bread. I brought boerewors and steak for braaiing, as I was impressed with how good it was. Although the shop was busy while I was there, it still maintained the 'small town' feel. Contact 063-6077916 | Facebook
A homely bistro - The first time I visited Underberg, I fell in love with The Lemon Tree Bistro. What I love about this venue is the homely feel. The food, service, and the vibe are fantastic (oh, and the coffee is really good also). I have tried a few of their breakfast options over the years - but the eggs benedict has become my go-to breakfast option. I also recommend their burgers - not your standard takeaway processed meal - but quality meals at affordable prices. Contact 060-7352092 | Facebook
A handy camera shop - The Photo Shop might not have all the high-end camera equipment that shops in bigger cities have, but they stock a wide variety of camera accessories. They stock items such as memory cards, lens cloths, binoculars, and even some camera batteries. If you are a photographer, this shop is worth a visit. Contact 033-7010036 | 079-6003219
If you are looking to stay in the area, we recommend Penwarn Farm, situated only a few kilometers from town. The farm provides stunning accommodations and has species such as Wattled Crane, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Ground Woodpecker, and Eastern Long-Billed Lark on their property. Book your stay at Penwarn Farm.
Before leaving the website, be sure to check out the Accommodation Directory for venues catering specifically to birders. We also encourage you to visit our Online Shop for gear and books at competitive prices.