On the weekend of 11-14 July 2013 we took a break to Singo Safari Lodge in Makuya Park in the far north-eastern parts of the Limpopo Province. Bordering the Pafuri region of the Kruger National Park, birding is excellent and there is always the chance of stumbling upon something unusual.
However, being winter we did not exactly expect fireworks, but we managed to tick off 81 species during our time there and do some SABAP2 atlassing too. With lions roaring around the camp every night and buffalo drinking water below the camp, we were understandably not too keen to go wandering around in the bush and birding was mostly done on the beaten track or from the deck of our safari tent. The view from Singo camp is breathtakingly beautiful and perched (excuse the pun) upon a cliff, it is a good spot to do raptor spotting from.
Some noteworthy sightings included a resident pair of White-crowned Lapwings, a pair of Saddle-billed Storks, Southern Ground Hornbill, Retzs and White-crowned Helmet-shrikes, Stierlings Wren-warbler, and no fewer than seven raptors, including Bateleur, Lappet-faced Vulture and a pair of Martial Eagles perched in a Baobab. On Saturday night (or shall I say Sunday very early Sunday morning), a Pels Fishing-Owl was calling for at least two hours just below the camp, but roaring lions nearby shelved any ideas of going down to the river to look for it.
The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the resident pair of Mocking Cliff-chats who kept us entertained with their cheeky habit of helping themselves to food in the kitchen or on the deck whenever they felt like it, and their skilful mimicking of other birds. They seem to miss the European Bee-eaters as they often imitated them, causing us to scan the skies in the hope of seeing the first signs of summer!
PHOTO: The view from the deck of Singo camp. The Levubu River in the foreground is the boundary between Makuya Park and the Kruger National Park.