Emakhosini Heritage Park

The eMakhosini area is steeped in Zulu history. Directly translated from Zulu, it means “Place of Kings” and the area was home to a number of Zulu kings such as Dingaan. This birding spot covers the entire stretch of road from the main R34 tar road from Melmoth to Vryheid to the main tar road from Melmoth to Babanango. The surface is gravel, but is kept in a good condition. The bottom of the valley is covered in bushveld, and this merges to grassland and grassy slopes as one climbs up to Babanango

Starting up near Babanango, stop at the large fig trees 6km after turning off. Look out for various frugivores such as Green Pigeon, Black-collared Barbet and Glossy Starling. Cape Robin-Chat forage under the trees, and Grassbird, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Ayre’s, Fantailed and Croaking Cisticolas can be heard from the grassy slopes. Familiar Chat can be seen at the road cutting on the left.

Typical species include White-browed Scrub-Robin, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Cardinal Woodpecker, Crowned Hornbill, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, , Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagras, Pied Crow, Brubru, Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Chinspot Batis, Ground-scraper Thrush, Fiscal Flycatcher, Emerald-spotted Dove, White-browed Robin-Chat, Rattling Cisticola, White-bellied Sunbird and various seed-eaters such as Blue Waxbill, Golden-breasted Bunting and Yellow-eyed Canary. Summer migrants include European Roller, Jacobin Cuckoo and Red-backed Shrike.

On reaching the tar road, turn left and drive down to the bridge. A brief stop here in summer could produce various swifts, swallows and martins, as well as circling Black Stork.

Directions

From Babanango, take the tar road down to Melmoth and turn left after 3km at the sign “Denny Dalton”. This road continues for about 22km till it reaches the R34 Melmoth/ Vryheid tar road. From Melmoth, travel north up to Vryheid and take the “Babanango” turn-off to the left after about 39km.