At Thanda we’re celebrating alongside many that 2018 is the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. KwaZulu Natal is home to more than 700 bird species. Located within KZN, Thanda Safari, a 35,000-acre private reserve, has a bird list containing more than 350 species, with at least 100 to 150 being easily spotted with good regularity. For Twitchers to Thanda who only want to stay on property, we generally suggest reserving a private vehicle and specifying that they would like to be with one of our bird-enthusiastic guides. For guest who would like to fly further afield, we offer excursions to the nearby Mkuze Game Reserve, which features a few excellent bird hides with both forest and aquatic birds.

Mkuze Game Reserve is an hour drive from Thanda, and the reserve’s kuMasinga Hide is one of the most active hides in South Africa, visited year-round by hundreds of animals and a large number of bird species, all of which get very close to the hide. This is a wonderful experience for birders and non-birders alike. We offer two different excursions, a 5-7 hour and a full-day. Both are costed for a maximum of three guests in each vehicle. The shorter activity is in place of a morning game drive, and includes the transfer to the kuMasinga hide, a 4-hour session at the hide, a packed breakfast, and Nikon binoculars. The longer activity is in place of both a morning and afternoon game drives as it includes the Nsumo Pan, where guests can also see hippos and crocs in addition to ample bird life. The full-day excursion includes a 4-hour session at both the hide and the pan, a packed breakfast and lunch, and Nikon binos.

Our resident photographer and guide, Christian Sperka, who accompanies guests on these excursions, shared that one of his favorite birds is the Purple-crested Turaco (pictured). The Zulus call it Gwala Gwala, which stands for coward. When approached this birds likes to hide in bushes and trees and only its very distinct loud and deep ‘kor-kor-kor’ call may be heard. The bird is a permanent resident at Thanda Safari. At the moment Thanda Safari is also host to thousands of Red-billed Quelea. These small seed eating birds live in huge colonies. They are one of the most abundant bird species on earth.

For more information, contact Brooke Berlin, brooke@karooconsulting.com, 720-226-4545.