Honorary Rangers’ Birding Trip Kruger National Park

The Earl and I along with three friends recently attended  The Satara Honorary Rangers’ Birding Weekend in the Kruger National Park.

We spent a total of nine days in The Park.   The weekend took place from 14 February to  16 February.

This time we did not take the caravan but flew to Nelspruit with SA Airlink and hired a Volkswagen Kombi.    We stayed in bungalows in Berg en Dal, Skukuza, Satara and Lower Sabie and were very impressed with the quality of the accommodation.

Gillian was the overall list keeper while Priscilla and I did the recording on our Bird Lasser app.

It was really amazing being on a trip with a group of people who were just as happy as we were to stop for every bird!   Kruger has had a lot of rain and plenty of flooding in the past few months so it was lush and the grass was tall.  Because of this, it was difficult to spot animals but the birdlife was excellent.

I usually blog each day when on a trip but this time I concentrated on bonding with our friends so did not get to the computer each evening.  So I am just going to share some of our best photographs with little comment.

We spent one night at Berg en Dal, two at Skukza, two over the weekend at Satara and finished with three nights at Lower Sabie.

It was Heather’s birthday on the second night and we celebrated with the most amazing meal at The Cattle Baron, Skukuza.

IMG_9001 Heather's 81st Birthday at Skukuza 2020-02-12 7-25-51 PM

Happy Birthday, Heather

The weekend was wonderfully organised by The Honorary Rangers of West Rand.   Our bird guide, Duncan, on board of our 20-seater open safari vehicle was awesome. He instantly recognised birds both by their visual appearance and their calls.

We had two catered meals for the weekend.  The first night was Valentine’s Day so we all dressed in Red and White.  On the second we had an African theme and had to dress for a Shabeen evening!  Priscilla was the queen of the evening and won a prize!

IMG_9288 Priscilla dressed up for Shabeen Evening 2020-02-15 7-59-16 PM

The Shabeen Queen

IMG_9292 Helen and Earl dressed up for Shabeen Evening 2020-02-15 8-00-50 PM

Earl in his Mandella Shirt – we got our name tags confused!

We also met up with Colin and Melodie, friends of Priscilla from Swaziland.   They were camping in the same rest camps and joined us each evening for meals.  On the last night, we had a farewell supper at Lower Sabie.


Front – Gillian and Priscilla. Behind – Me, Heather, Melodie, Earl and Colin

Below I have posted some highlights from our drives both when we were on our own and from the open safari vehicle.

IMG_0005 Helmeted Guineafowl 2020-02-17 7-45-20 AM

Helmeted Guineafowl

IMG_0012 Carmine Bee-eater 2020-02-17 8-12-03 AM

Carmine Bee-eater

IMG_0036 Ground Hornbill 2020-02-17 10-42-29 AM

Groud Hornbill in a tree

IMG_0051 Diederick's Cuckoo 2020-02-17 4-24-01 PM

Diederick Cuckoo

IMG_0056 Fish Eagle 2020-02-17 4-56-21 PM

Fish Eagle

IMG_0071 Black-crowned Night-heron 2020-02-17 6-09-30 PM

Black-crowned Night Heron

IMG_0090 Sabota lark 2020-02-18 7-08-32 AM

Sabota Lark

IMG_0100 Southern White-crowned Shrike 2020-02-18 8-46-46 AM 2020-02-18 8-46-46 AM

Southern White-crowned Shrike

IMG_0108 White-winged Widowbird 2020-02-18 9-16-01 AM

IMG_0139 Zebra 2020-02-18 12-15-57 PM

Burchell’s Zebra

IMG_0151 Pied Kingfisher 2020-02-18 4-20-34 PM

Pied Kingfisher

IMG_0156 Malachite Kingfisher 2020-02-18 4-22-07 PM

Malachite Kingfisher

IMG_0190 Baboon 2020-02-19 6-23-36 AM

Chacma Baboon

IMG_0192 Impala enjoying a spa treatment 2020-02-19 7-16-50 AM

Red-billed Oxpecker grooming an impala

IMG_8917 lioness awake 2020-02-12 12-23-13 PM


IMG_8929 Purple crested Taruco 2020-02-12 1-56-08 PM 2020-02-12 1-56-08 PM

IMG_9022 White-breasted Cormorant 2020-02-13 8-41-23 AM 2020-02-13 8-41-23 AM

White-breasted Cormorant

IMG_9030 African Jacana 2020-02-13 8-44-40 AM

African Jacana

IMG_9053 Black Crake Lake Panic 2020-02-13 9-21-56 AM

African Black Crake

IMG_9058 Lake Panic 2020-02-13 9-23-03 AM

Lake Panic

IMG_9097 Sleeping Lion 2020-02-13 6-01-51 PM

Lazy Lion

IMG_9106 Green Pigeon 2020-02-14 6-41-38 AM 2020-02-14 6-41-38 AM

Green Pigeon

IMG_9188 Helen on the signpost 2020-02-15 7-46-51 AM

You are not allowed outside your vehicle in Kruger National Park – Unless you’re with authorities so I could not resist posing on the signpost in the middle of my most favourite place in the world!-

IMG_9227 Martial Eagle Face 2020-02-15 9-05-30 AM

A curious immature Martial Eagle

IMG_9279 Bateleur 2020-02-15 5-07-01 PM



IMG_9283 Purple Roller 2020-02-15 5-26-44 PM

Purple Roller


IMG_9366 Woolly-necked Stork 2020-02-16 12-43-25 PM

Woolly-necked Stork doing a pirouette

IMG_9399 Sunrise 2020-02-17 5-52-27 AM


P1190409 Woodland's Kingfisher with bug 2020-02-12 7-03-47 AM

Woodlands Kingfisher with a bug

P1190417 Giraffe necking 2020-02-12 12-07-40 PM

Necking giraffe

P1190457 Elephant with trunk on tusks 2020-02-14 4-09-26 PM


P1190536 Swainson's 2020-02-15 5-24-00 PM

Swainson’s Spurfowl

P1190583 Hyaena 2020-02-17 6-32-38 AM

Spotted Hyaena

P1190602 Black-crowned Night-heron 2020-02-17 6-19-38 PM

Black-crowned Night Heron

P1190611 Water Thick-knee 2020-02-17 6-24-14 PM

Water Thick-knee

P1190624 Warthog 2020-02-18 11-52-45 AM





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