Final Game Drive – Pretoriuskop To Malelane Gate

We got a pretty late start since the birds were so engaging at Pretoriuskop restcamp, but luckily we didn’t have far to go.  In a pinch, we could have simply exited at Numbi Gate and driven back to JNB at normal speed.  But I didn’t want to miss one last chance to see more birds and animals in Kruger so we took the scenic route!  In the map below, a red road is paved and a yellow road is a dirt road but well-maintained.  Our route is in blue.

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We saw lots of Fork-tailed Drongos but not close to each other.  They seem to be pretty territorial.

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There are also a lot of these “Jock of the Bushveld” plaques.

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I really wanted to get a decent shot of a Lilac-breasted Roller in flight.  I had to wait a bit but this little guy finally obliged!

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European Bee-eaters come here to escape the cold in Europe.

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Vervet monkeys are always amusing.

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Combining this with the map, you can see distances aren’t that great.

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G’waaaayyyyyyy!

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Greater Blue-eared Starling

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Weaver birds are also everywhere.

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This Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill was at a picnic spot.

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An elegant Pin-tailed Whydah.

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The quintessential African photo.

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Red-breasted Swallow

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Red-billed Ox-pecker, apparently near-sighted as he is pecking a giraffe!

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Jacobin Cuckoo

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Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus)

The Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus) is a species of bird in the Musophagidae family.   It is the National Bird of the Kingdom of Swaziland.  According to Wikipedia, sadly the crimson flight feathers of this and related turaco species are important in the ceremonial regalia of the Swazi royal family.  I really hate when birds are killed so their feathers can provide decoration.  Especially when the bird is as stunning as this one!

IMG_4350 IMG_4349 IMG_4254 IMG_4260 IMG_4128aThey have a very large range which is great news for African safari enthusiasts!  They can be found in It is found in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Their southernmost occurrence is at the Mtamvuna River on the KwaZulu-Natal-Eastern Cape border.

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I found them easily in the Pretoriuskop Restcamp in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PURPLE-CRESTED TURACOS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Biodiversity Explorer

Swaziland National Trust Commission

VIDEO

Not live action but a great sound clip of this bird’s call.

I can’t tell if this is filmed in a bird park or in a restcamp but it’s excellent quality.

The Birds Of Pretoriuskop Restcamp

As promised, here are some of the amazing birds of Pretoriuskop Restcamp.  I was thrilled to see so many Brown-headed Parrots which were my main target bird, but there were lots of other great birds too!

This first batch of photos was taken near the laundry room in the late afternoon.

Helmeted Guinea-fowl

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African Green Pigeon

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Purple-crested Turaco – stunning bird, photos don’t do them justice!

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Black-collared Barbet

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These remaining photos were taken early in the morning.  We were up around 5:30 and we spent a good 3 hours just wandering around following the birds (especially the parrots) as they went about their daily activities.

Grey-headed Bush-shrike

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Finally!  A flock of Brown-headed Parrots!

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They really like the trees just outside cabin 124!

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African Mourning Dove

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Scarlet-chested Sunbird

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Meanwhile back at the cabin, Ina was watching the Crested Guinea-fowls who came right up to us and the monkeys who were trying to rob some campers of breakfast.

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The Brown-headed Parrots beckoned again and we were off chasing them as they flew from tree to tree.

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We also saw several Purple-headed Turacos!

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The Grey Go-away Bird told me to g’wayyyyyyyy……………so I did and kept following the parrots.

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Black-collared Barbet

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G’waaayyyyyyyyyy!

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Crested Barbet

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Dark-capped Bulbul

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Blue Waxbill

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Southern Black Flycatcher

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Red-headed Weaver

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Black-backed Puffback

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Yellow-fronted Canary

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As we were pulling out of the camp, I spotted this Purple Crested Turaco and anther Bulbul in the trees outside reception.

IMG_4343 IMG_4344 IMG_4349 IMG_4350 IMG_4351 IMG_4352Obviously this is not a complete list of all the birds you can find here, this is just what we saw on one particular early November morning.

Lodge Review: Pretoriuskop Restcamp, Kruger National Park

Pretoriuskop Restcamp has it all!  It’s one of the easiest Kruger Restcamps to get to if you can only spare a few days from a Jo-burg business trip.  They have accommodation to suit all budgets from tent campers to fully furnished cabins.  But from my point of view, this is what really attracted me!

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Brown-headed Parrots!  But more about them tomorrow in the Birds of Pretoriuskop post.  Let’s focus on the facilities for now.

It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from Jo-burg if you enter at the nearest gate which is Numbi Gate, then you have at least 20 minutes more to reach the camp.  If you are coming from elsewhere inside Kruger then make sure you leave enough time considering the 50 kph speed limit and the fact that you will be stopping to watch birds and animals frequently.

IMG_4101 IMG_4102On the camp map below, I highlighted the location of our cabin #103, the ablution blocks (showers & toilets), retaurant, laundry and areas I found good for birding as we walked around the camp.