Hiking, Trails and Routes

ID #4525

Zululand Birding Route – Babanango District, Zululand, Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Rolling hills and meandering valleys. This high altitude area offers a number of species not found elsewhere on the route.

• Emakhosini  “Valley of the Kings” Road. From the stop sign in Babanango, take the R68 towards Melmoth. Take the Denny Dalton turnoff after 3.1-km. Turn left and proceed for a further 6 km and stop on the winding pass under a group of fig trees (ficus natalensis) on the right. Look for mocking chat, Cape robin-chat, cisticolas, prinias, green Pigeon and grassbird.  Continue to the junction marked Denny Dalton on the left. There are two river crossings between this junction and the tarred road.  Stop at either and look for swallows, swifts, wagtails and black stork.  The T-junction on the tarred road is 26.3-km from Babanango.
• Babanango Valley. From the stop sign in Babanango, take the R68 towards Dundee. Stop after 1.5 km. Overlooking the dam in the valley, you could see crowned crane and orange-throated longclaw.  Proceed for a further 4-km and turn right onto the D139 (at the Babanango Valley sign).  Continue for 1 km and take the left-hand fork to Babanango Valley Lodge. Stop at the flat at the first cattle grid and look for buff-streaked chat, ground woodpecker, malachite sunbird and a variety of widow birds. This venue hosts nesting raptors including black, tawny, Wahlberg’s and African hawk eagles, jackal buzzard, Lanner falcon and rock kestrel. Other species include half-collared kingfisher, African black duck and red-fronted tinkerbird. 17.5-km from Babanango stop sign.
• Mangeni Waterfall and Gorge. From Babanango take the R68 towards Dundee. After 5.5-km stop and look for widows, chats and malachite sunbird. Continue for a further 10.5-km. After passing the second Vryheid turnoff, stop and look over the dams to the left and right of the road for pitpits, larks, African spoonbills and herons. Proceed for a further 19-km and take the Isandlwana turnoff to the left. After 6-km take the right fork and proceed for 500 m along the ridge overlooking the plains below. Look for pink-billed lark, redheaded finch and Amur and Lanner falcons.  Return to the fork and continue towards Isandlwana.  After 2-km, turn left towards Qudeni. After a further 2-km turn left continuing towards Qudeni and proceed for 12-km ignoring all turnoffs. After crossing a saddle of land with a conical hill to the left, you will reach a one-way bridge with a wide rocky riverbed to the right.  Immediately after the bridge take a right onto a small track, with a drift made of concrete.  Cross through the stream. Immediately after crossing take the smaller track that veers off to the right. Proceed for approximately 1.5-km until a rough rocky dry riverbed is reached.  Park and walk for about 300-m. The Mangeni Falls and Gorge are to the right.  See black and Wahlberg’s eagles, Lanner falcon, rock kestrel and spike-heeled lark.  A high-clearance vehicle is recommended.

Babanango is on the R68 between Melmoth and Dundee, which is on the R621 southeast of Newcastle, which is on the N1 south of Ermelo, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N11 and the N17. AUZubaba

Contct:   Hamish Mclaggan
   Box 266 Eshowe 3815
   +27 (3547) 41234 telephone office
   +27 (3547) 42531 telephone home
   e-mail: zulubird@iafrica.com
   web: www.birding.co.za/zulubird/


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Last update: 2009-07-12 02:37
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.0

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