Kalahari – Marrick Safaris

About the Birding

Once entering Marrick, one should make their way to reception, which is nestled on the slopes of a rocky ridge and large stands of thornveld and vegetated gardens which are often teeming with bird activity. Spending some time around here and sitting at the bird bath during the heat of the day can produce Pearl=spotted Owlet, Marico Sunbird, Yellow Canary, Black-throated Canary, Acacia Pied Barbet, Village Indigobird, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Violet-eared Waxbill, Blue Waxbill, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Crimson-breasted Shrike. Ashy Tit, Common Scimitarbill, Green-winged Pytilia, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver and Kalahari Scrub-Robin.

Exploring the large grassy plains below the lodge is very rewarding and a network of roads in the area will help you cover the area extensively. Here one is likely to bump into Capped Wheatear, Scaly-feathered Weaver, Northern Black Korhaan, . Careful scanning of large open patches of soil should improve one’s chances of finding Double-banded Courser, whilst Temminck’s Courser is also an option, especially after fires. In dryer seasons, the sought after Burchell’s Courser and Lark-like Bunting move through the area. With some luck, Ludwig’s Bustards may be spotted, and the area is often teeming with Red-capped Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Rufous-naped Lark and Grey-backed Sparrowlark, with the nomadic Pink-billed and Stark’s Lark showing now and then. Further to the west, the areas dotted with termite mounds are a good place to look for Eastern Clapper Lark and Ant Eating Chat, while the areas with deeper Kalahari sands behind the campsite, and within the current Buffalo breeding facility are the best places to look for Fawn-coloured Lark.

The vlei area, which usually at holds a small amount of water, is home to a breeding pair of Blue Crane and often has Zitting Cisticola, Levaillant’s Cisticola and waterfowl like Red-billed Teal and Yellow-billed Duck moving through. In seasons of heavy rainfall, a large ephemeral pan and the vlei may host both Lesser Flamingo, Greater Flamingo and South African Shelduck too.

Night drives are the main attraction here, and Spotted Eagle Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet and Western barn Owl are commonly encountered. However it’s the unique mammals that most visitors are here to see and Aardvark, Black-footed Cat, Aardwolf, African Wild Cat, Bat-eared Fox, Small Spotted Genet, Cape Porcupine, Smith’s Red Rock Rabbit, Cape Hare, Springhare and a host of other species can all be encountered on a single drive.

Key species:

Blue Crane, Ludwig’s Bustard, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark, Stark’s Lark, Ashy Tit, Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-faced Waxbill, Double-banded Courser

About the Birding Site

Marrick Safaris is a privately owned game farm located on the western outskirts of Kimberley. Covering 3000 hectares of savannah thornveld and stocked with plains game, the scenic property offers some wonderful birding and mammal viewing. Few places produce sunsets as beautiful as Marrick, but only once the sun has set, does the real fun begin.

The famous guided night drives offer one access to tough species like Black-footed Cat, Aardvark and Aardwolf.

Key species:

Blue Crane, Ludwig’s Bustard, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark, Stark’s Lark, Ashy Tit, Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-faced Waxbill, Double-banded Courser

Other Related Information

Marrick can be accessed by air via the Kimberley airport, where car rental services are provided.

Situated only 6 hours away from Johannesburg, one takes the N1 south towards Bloemfontein. However you turn right onto the R34 just after Kroonstad and head towards Welkom, travelling a further 233km on the R34 to reach Kimberley. To reach the gate, one must take the R357 towards Douglas. Marrick is located roughly 11km along this rough, and is well signposted.

Other related information:

From Cape Town, take the N1 north to Beaufort West, merging onto the N12 to Kimberley north of town. Just before entering town, you turn left onto the R31 and then left again onto the R357 to Douglas, where after roughly 11km you will find the signposted gate on your right hand side.

Main gate: -28.7873 24.6205

Please visit the website prior to arrival for details on gaining access, the gate is not manned 24hrs a day and needs to be called, so announcing your arrival in advance is recommended.

Marrick Safaris is situated in a semi-arid region, due to this, extreme temperature fluctuations can be experienced. Pack sufficient warm and light clothing to accommodate for this.

Marrick Safaris offers a number of activities, which include:

  • Guided Morning, Day, Sunset and Night Drives.
  • Mountain Biking.
  • Easy access to Mokala National Park, The Big Hole, Spitskop Da,. Kamfers Dam and other key birding sites.

Important information:

  • There is no fuel station or groceries shop on site, Kimberley just up the road has everything one would need.
  • No sit down restaurant facilities, but well prepared meals can be catered for if ordered in advance.
  • Main gates are not manned 24 hours a day, please phone ahead for arrivals.
  • Although this is a low risk malaria area, consult your doctor/chemist.

All maps for Marrick Safaris can be found here.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
Marrick Safaris is a self-catering lodge but catering can be provided on request. Tented camps, chalet and farmhouse style accommodation can be located on the property.

There are no BirdLife Recommended Accommodations in the area.

Local guide information:
There are no community bird guides available for this site. However, there are a number of BirdLife Recommended Tour Operators that can supply guides or guided tours for this site, Unearth Safaris.

Text prepared by:
Justin Rhys Nicolau (Unearth Safaris)

Key species:

Blue Crane, Ludwig’s Bustard, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark, Stark’s Lark, Ashy Tit, Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-faced Waxbill, Double-banded Courser

Contact details:

Marrick Safaris
Tel: +27 (0) 53 833 7004 or
+27 (0) 83 649 9964 or
+27 (0) 76 373 4981
Email: marrick@marricksafari.com or
Website: https://www.marricksafari.com