|The Zinkwazi Birding Experience...|
Klaus Achtzehn, one of your hosts at Zinkwazi, has compiled a SPOTTING GUIDE TO THE BIRDS of the area, to facilitate finding those specials and endemics amongst the more than 250 species identified. For those from up-country it's a great place to add a feather to your cap, so to speak. On site this can be achieved with little effort on the elevated sundeck over a cool drink , or during similar non strenuous activities on offer.
The camp is set in lush riverine forest, constantly ringing with a chorus of song from a multitude of species. Further species are found along the extensive lagoon, with its extensive reed beds and estuarine trees, the dune- and rare coastal lowland forests and the pristine beaches. The Zinkwazi Conservancy also includes the subtropical woodland and moist thorn-veld of the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve. This diversity offers prime habitat for many bird specials, unique to the North Coast.
Specials to be seen include: Wattle-eyed Flycatcher, Grey- and Olive Sunbirds, Crested Guinea Fowl, African Finfoot, White-eared Barbet, Goldenrumped Tinkerbarbet, Scalythroated and Lesser Honeyguides, Squaretail Drongo, Spotted Thrush, Bluemantled Flycatcher, Yellow- Forest- and Brownthroated Weavers, Green Twinspot.
The emblem of the resort is the Fish Eagle (Nkwazi in Zulu) and the committed visitor can be assured of at least one sighting, especially when enjoying an up-river cruise with the boatman.
With very little encouragement, the cruise raft can be equipped with a few jars of wine and tasties. You bring the binoculars, kids, and a warm sweater, a memorable bird watching late evening up the lagoon. The wine, of course, is only to encourage good eyesight and in the unlikely event that the birdlife is unco-operative, then sufficient wine will ensure that you won't feel disappointed or discouraged.
For the more brave there are canoes, to explore the quiet backwaters of the lagoon for those skulkers and L.B.J's. Should you feel the need to get fit, there are also many trails and walks beckoning with rich rewards. Then treat yourself to a leisurely drive to one of the many well known birding venues in the vicinity.
Back in camp the Purple Crested Lourie, one of Natal's favourite species can be heard and seen bounding along the overhead branches, accompanied by the haunting call of Trumpeter Hornbills. Beware of the mimicry of the tame Natal Robins, which are known to imitate the call of the African Fish Eagle. Do not confuse the Pygmy Kingfisher with a Malachite, when seen bobbing on low branches overhanging the riverside.
Other Bird Spotting opportunities ( guides are available for some areas):
Zinkwazi is ideally situated for birders wanting to visit some of the top birding destinations in southern Africa. The Zululand Birding Route is to the north with prime forest habitats around Eshowe and Ngoye (all approx. 70 km) hosting bird specials such as Green Barbet, Delegorgue's Pigeon, Green Coucal, Yellow-streaked Bulbul, Emerald Cuckoo and Narina Trogon.
In the wetlands and thornveld around Eshowe and the Goedetrow dam, Red-chested Flufftails, White-backed Night Herons and the most southern Rudd's Apalis population occur.
At Mtunzini (60 km) and Richards Bay (100 km), unique eastern subtropical estuarine habitats support massive wader populations, wetland birds and specials such as Palmnut Vulture and Mangrove Kingfisher.
To the south there is the well known Jex Estate (Umvoti mouth 30 km) with Redwinged Pratincole and many unusual wader sightings.
Stanger Tranquila Hide (20 km) also regularly makes birding news.
* Harold Johnson Nature reserve (woodland and thorn veld -15km)
* South bank of the Tugela river (waders and waterfowl -15km)
* Dhlokweni coastal lowland forest (forest specials) - 15km)
* Tugela Gorge at Kranskop (Raptor specials - 80km)
* Amatikulu Game reserve (Palm veld and forest 30km)