Birds of a feather flock together… Especially when summer sets in in the Drakensberg. If you’re an avid birder, now is a better time than ever to plan a birding holiday at Oaklands.
A Birding Paradise
There’s no need to gallivant through the KwaZulu-Natal countryside on a wild goose chase to tick off your feathered checklist – you can enjoy the birds of the Drakensberg from the Oaklands grounds and surrounds! We are in close proximity to escarpments, wetlands and walking trails that are home to over 300 indigenous bird species. And for keen twitchers, here’s where things get interesting: the area surrounding Oaklands offers unique sightings of some of the southern hemisphere’s rarest birds!
Endangered Birds of the Drakensberg
While bird life on the estate thrives, some of these species survive on a wing and a prayer. Nestled in the escarpment of the nearby Northern Drakensberg Mountains you’ll find the only population of Bearded Vulture in the southern hemisphere. But you’ll have to search to spot them – there are less than 200 breeding pairs left, which is 50% less than there were five decades ago. This severely endangered bird shares breeding space on the escarpment with another rare raptor – the Cape Griffon, whose population figures have declined by nearly 40% over the last 30 years. The sad part is that man caused this decline and it’s on the rise. Poisoning, power line collisions and loss of habitat continue to threaten these birds, but thanks to conservation initiatives like the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project, they are now monitored and protected.
Rare Bird Life in the Wetlands
The countryside surrounding Oaklands features a large wetland where indigenous birdlife thrives. Our walking trails offer unique sightings for birdwatchers to tick off their list. These include rare crane species to the tune of Grey Crowned, Wattled and Blue Cranes, as well as the Rudd’s Lark and White-Winged Flufftail.
Have you got a checklist that needs ticking? Then pack your binoculars and bird book and head over to Oaklands Country Manor for a summertime birding holiday.