Both Rocktail and Pafuri fall within areas that are regarded as birding meccas within South Africa. Both areas host a number of species that reach the southern most extremities of their afro-tropical ranges here and in addition feature significant diversity and a good dose of southern African endemics. The more than 1km of raised decking at Pafuri camp allows guests to cover riverine and floodplain environments unescorted during the day (despite being in a big game area) and camp birding is excellent. At Rocktail the hide positioned in the forest is legendary for producing excellent sightings of sought after species and the self guided forest trails are ideal for birders. Essential to ensure good birding is a coverage of a variety of habitats and both Rocktail and Pafuri include good diversity.
Punda Maria Sandveld – sandy soil with broad leafed woodland, a number of cliffs and kopjes provide additional habitat
Baobab Mopane Rugged Veld – mopane and baobab covered ridges that run along the central part of the concession, with stands of mature mopane and white syringe creating additional sub-habitat
Mopane Shrubveld – broad stands dominated by shrub mopane
Combretum / Mopane Woodland – broad-leafed woodland
Limpopo & Luvuvhu Floodplains – dense riverine woodland, fever tree forests, acacia dotted floodplains, vlei and pan systems, sandbanks
Dune Forest – dense evergreen forest most developed on the leeward side of the dunes
Coastal grassland and pan systems – open grassland on fossil dunes with pan systems in the interdunal valleys
Waterberry savannah – rolling grassed dunes covered in a mosaic of waterberry trees and pockets of woodland
Beach and tidal zone – from rocky to sandy shoreline and the Scaevola covered edges of the dunes
Some sought after bird species that can be encountered at the two camps are listed below:
- 400 species recorded (~90% of Kruger’s total)
- 33 Red Data Book species (1 Endangered, 14 Vulnerable)
- 20 southern African endemic or near-endemic species
- Excellent regional specials like: three-banded courser, racket-tailed roller, grey-headed parrot, mottled & Böhm’s spinetails, white-crowned lapwing, Dickinson’s kestrel, white-breasted cuckooshrike, Arnot’s chat, Meves’s starling and tropical boubou
- Excellent SA specials like: Pel’s fishing owl, crested guineafowl, bat hawk, Ayres’ hawk-eagle, African yellow white-eye, black-throated wattle-eye and lemon-breasted canary.
- Excellent diversity: For example 5 rollers, 6 hornbills, 5 bee-eaters, 10 cuckoos, 7 storks, 15 shrikes and no less than 41 raptor species.
- 300+ species recorded
- 28 Red Data Book species (2 Endangered, 10 Vulnerable)
- 12 southern African endemic or near-endemic species
- Excellent regional specials like: Southern banded snake-eagle, sooty falcon, black-rumped buttonquail, Denham’s bustard, black-winged plover, black coucal, green malkoha, swamp nightjar, Rudd’s apalis, pale-crowned cisticola, Woodward’s batis, short-tailed pipit, rosy-throated longclaw (both cape and yellow-throated can be seen in close proximity), pied manikin, green twinspot, lemon-breasted canary.
- Excellent SA specials like: African cuckoo hawk, palmnut vulture, buff-spotted flufftail, lesser jacana, Livingstone’s turaco, African emerald cuckoo, white-eared barbet, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, red-fronted tinkerbird, grey-rumped swallow, square-tailed drongo, brown robin, white-starred robin, yellow white-eye, black-throated wattle-eye, black-bellied starling, dark-backed weaver, southern brown-throated weaver, yellow weaver, red-backed manikin, grey waxbill.