Zimanga, South Africa - 28th February - 6th March 2018

Published by Brian Clasper (BRIANCLASPER AT aol.com)

Participants: Brian Clasper, Jim France


Zimanga is in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. We reached the reserve via British Airways flights from Newcastle - London Heathrow - Jo`burg - Durban, from there collected by a superb driver (organised by the Lodge). After a relaxing 3 hour drive on good roads we were then collected at the entrance of the Game reserve by the main road. Air conditioned accommodation was faultless, as was the food & supporting staff. Indeed they are building another lodge about a mile away which should be open now. The reserve is designed for photographers and should be on every aspiring Wildlife photographers bucket list. It is 6000 hectares of bushveld, fever tree forests and rolling hills. Zimanga is bisected by the Mkuze River and home to a splendid variety of animals and birds. Basically you have the place to yourself and you do what you want to do and can spend as much time as you like on the suitable subjects. You don`t have to check your time. You don`t have to worry about other vehicles as you are alone with the best guides and you can … enjoy. The guides as well as being expert trackers can tell you the best camera settings!. It’s a vacation. In the past in Africa you tend to get flooded by eager loud tourists. Here it is for you and the great thing is the animals' care is paramount.

The vehicle safaris, have no more than two clients per row, in fact we had the whole vehicle to ourselves. They have the best wildlife photographic hides in the world expertly built by true experts. We used 3 photographic hides.

The `Lagoon hide` focuses on waterbirds getting at water level, getting there through a 30m tunnel for a 4 hour late pm session, surreal.

`Umgodi ` overnight Hide is currently the only hide that is custom designed for large mammal photography, from 1430 to 0930 next day. Air conditioned, WiFi, beds, kitchen, quality toilet amazing. The hide as featured in the BBC wildlife magazine.

The `Scavengers Hide` is situated on a hill looking over a valley and beautiful mountain backdrop, and the action can be fierce between the Malibu storks and Vultures competing for food.

If you are a Lister don`t come here as this serene place is designed for you to enjoy Africa`s wildlife and you won`t attain a mega list

Species Lists

Southern Ostrich (Struthio camelus australis) 9

Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea) Common

Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala) 1

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) 2

Striated Heron [sp] (Butorides striata) 1

Hamerkop [sp] (Scopus umbretta) Common

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) 2

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) 5

Woolly-necked Stork [sp] (Ciconia episcopus) 10

Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) 4 ON TAXI RIDE

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) 20

Hadada Ibis [sp] (Bostrychia hagedash) Common

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) 30

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) Common

Spur-winged Goose [sp] (Plectropterus gambensis) Common

Comb Duck [sp] (Sarkidiornis melanotos) 2

Black-shouldered Kite [sp] (Elanus caeruleus) 3

Black Kite (Milvus migrans migrans) Common

Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus migrans parasitus) 6

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) 2

African White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) 30

Lappet-faced Vulture [sp] (Torgos tracheliotus) 1

Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus cinereus) 1

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) 5

African Harrier-Hawk [sp] (Polyboroides typus) 1

Western Steppe Buzzard (Buteo buteo vulpinus) 1

Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina) Scarce

Tawny Eagle [sp] (Aquila rapax) Scarce

Wahlberg's Eagle (Aquila wahlbergi) 1

Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) 1

Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis) 2

Natal Francolin (Francolinus natalensis) Scarce

Swainson's Francolin [sp] (Francolinus swainsonii) Common

Helmeted Guineafowl [sp] (Numida meleagris) Very Common

Crested Guineafowl [sp] (Guttera pucherani) Common

Small Buttonquail (Turnix sylvatica lepurana) Common

Black-rumped Buttonquail [sp] (Turnix hottentotta) Common

Grey Crowned Crane [sp] (Balearica regulorum) 2 TWICE

Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostris) 1

African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus) 4

Water Thick-Knee [sp] (Burhinus vermiculatus) 3

Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus)

Crowned Lapwing [sp] (Vanellus coronatus) Common

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) 3

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) 1

Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata) 20

Ring-necked Dove (Streptopelia capicola capicola) Common

Laughing Dove [sp] (Streptopelia senegalensis) Common

Namaqua Dove [sp] (Oena capensis) Common

Brown-necked Parrot [sp] (Poicephalus robustus) 1

Thick-billed Cuckoo [sp] (Pachycoccyx audeberti) 1

Burchell's Coucal (Centropus superciliosus burchelli) 1

Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba) 1

Spotted Eagle-Owl [sp] (Bubo africanus) 1

Verreaux's Eagle-Owl (Bubo lacteus) 1

Pearl-spotted Owlet [sp] (Glaucidium perlatum) 1

Fiery-necked Nightjar [sp] (Caprimulgus pectoralis) Common

Square-tailed Nightjar [sp] (Caprimulgus fossii) Common

African Swift [sp] (Apus barbatus) Common

Little Swift [sp] (Apus affinis) Common

Horus Swift [sp] (Apus horus) Common

Red-faced Mousebird [sp] (Urocolius indicus) Common

Brown-hooded Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon albiventris) Scarce

Striped Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon chelicuti) 4

Woodland Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon senegalensis) 3

Pied Kingfisher [sp] (Ceryle rudis) 1

White-fronted Bee-Eater (Merops bullockoides) 10

European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster) Zimanga Common

Lilac-breasted Roller [sp] (Coracias caudatus) Common migrating in big numbers

European Roller [sp] (Coracias garrulus) Very Common on migration

African Hoopoe (Upupa epops africana) 1

Common Scimitarbill [sp] (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) 8

Red-billed Hornbill [sp] (Tockus erythrorhynchus) 6

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) 4

Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii vaillantii) 2

Cardinal Woodpecker [sp] (Dendropicos fuscescens) 1

Bearded Woodpecker [sp] (Dendropicos namaquus) 2

Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana africana) Common

Sabota Lark (Calendulauda sabota sabota) 2

Banded Martin [sp] (Riparia cincta) Common

European Swallow (Hirundo rustica rustica) Common

Wire-tailed Swallow [sp] (Hirundo smithii) 30

Lesser Striped Swallow [sp] (Cecropis abyssinica) Common

Mosque Swallow [sp] (Cecropis senegalensis) Scarce

Yellow-throated Longclaw [sp] (Macronyx croceus) 1

African Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla aguimp) Common

Dark-capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor) Common

Mocking Cliff-Chat (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) 1

Southern Black Flycatcher [sp] (Melaenornis pammelaina) Scarce

African Paradise-Flycatcher [sp] (Terpsiphone viridis) 2

Rattling Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola chiniana) Common

Croaking Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola natalensis) Scarce

Zitting Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola juncidis) Scarce

Long-billed Crombec [sp] (Sylvietta rufescens) Scarce

Southern Black-Tit [sp] (Melaniparus niger) 6

Amethyst Sunbird [sp] (Chalcomitra amethystina) Common

Eurasian Golden Oriole [sp] (Oriolus oriolus) 2

Eastern Black-headed Oriole [sp] (Oriolus larvatus) 3

Red-backed Shrike [sp] (Lanius collurio) Common

Common Fiscal [sp] (Lanius collaris)

Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegala orientalis) Scarce

Brown-crowned Tchagra [sp] (Tchagra australis) Scarce

Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike [sp] (Telophorus sulfureopectus) 6

Grey-headed Bushshrike [sp] (Malaconotus blanchoti) 2

Retz's Helmetshrike [sp] (Prionops retzii) 2

Fork-tailed Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus adsimilis) Common

Common Myna [sp] (Acridotheres tristis) Common

Cape Glossy-Starling [sp] (Lamprotornis nitens) Common

Black-bellied Glossy-Starling [sp] (Lamprotornis corruscus) Common

Violet-backed Starling [sp] (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) 8

Red-winged Starling [sp] (Onychognathus morio) Common

Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) Common

House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus) Scarce

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow [sp] (Passer diffusus) Very Common

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver [sp] (Plocepasser mahali) Very Common

Southern Masked-Weaver [sp] (Ploceus velatus) Common

Village Weaver [sp] (Ploceus cucullatus) Common

Red-headed Quelea (Quelea erythrops) Very Common

Red Bishop [sp] (Euplectes orix) 6

Red-collared Widowbird [sp] (Euplectes ardens) Scarce

Green-winged Pytilia [sp] (Pytilia melba) 1

Blue-breasted Cordonbleu [sp] (Uraeginthus angolensis) Very Common

Black-tailed Waxbill [sp] (Estrilda perreini) 6

Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura) Common

Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah (Vidua obtusa) Scarce

Yellow-fronted Canary [sp] (Serinus mozambicus) Very Common

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting [sp] (Emberiza tahapisi) 12

Golden-breasted Bunting [sp] (Emberiza flaviventris) Common


Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)
60 reservoir

Scrub Hare (Lepus saxatilis) common

Cheetah [sp] (Acinonyx jubatus) 1

Lion [sp] (Panthera leo) 7

Cape Genet (Genetta tigrina) 1 both nights

Slender Mongoose (Galerella sanguinea) 1 both nights

White-tailed Mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda) 1 both nights

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) 4

Burchell's Zebra (Equus burchelli burchelli) 150

White Rhinoceros [sp] (Ceratotherium simum) 30

Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) 2 reservoir

Giraffe [sp] (Giraffa camelopardalis) 60

Impala [sp] (Aepyceros melampus) 400

Blue Wildebeest [sp] (Connochaetes taurinus) 150

African Buffalo [sp] (Synceros caffer) 50

Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) 20

Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) 20

Waterbuck [sp] (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) 20

Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis