Kruger National Park – Pretoriuskop

About the Birding

Camp specials around the pool area include Brown-headed Parrot, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Black-backed Puffback, Green Twinspot, Red-headed Weaver, Blue Waxbill and Arrow-marked Babbler. Woodland Kingfisher and Violet-backed Starling are conspicuous summer visitors that breed in and around the camp.

In the camp look for African Green Pigeon, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Retz’s Helmet-shrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Brown-headed Parrot, Cutthroat Finch, Redheaded Weaver and several sunbird species. Black Cuckoo (summer) and Gorgeous Bush Shrike can be heard calling from the dense bush surrounding the camp.

The area is also very good for a variety of sunbirds, and common species include White-bellied, Marico and Scarlet-chested; while this is one of the few areas of the park where Amethyst Sunbird can also sometimes be found.

The impressive granite dome known as “Shabeni Hill” is not far from the camp where one may spot a Lizard Buzzard. The dense thickets at the base of the dome are good for Southern Boubou, Brown-crowned Tchagra and Mocking Cliff-chat, as well as the more easily heard than seen Gorgeous Bush-shrike and Grey-headed Bush-shrike. The grasslands areas attract species such as Flappet Lark, Neddicky, Red-billed Firefinch and Streaky-headed Seedeater.

The Fayi Loop (S14) around Pretoriuskop is a loop to drive to search for some of the specials known from the Pretoriskop area. Some of the birds to be on the lookout for are: African Cuckoo Hawk, Broad-tailed Warbler, Red-throated Wryneck, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Amethyst Sunbird, Dusky and Village Indigobirds. Shabeni Rock on the Albasini Road (S10) has some dense thickets that support Gorgeous Bush-Shrike and Striped Pipit. Other birds to look out for are Mocking Cliff-Chat, Lazy Cisticola and Brown-crowned Tchagra. If you leave camp very early in summer, and preferably on an overcast morning, you may be lucky enough to see Freckled Nightjar. The woodland areas are particularly good for accipiters and an early morning drive could produce Lizard Buzzard, Shikra, Gabar Goshawk, Little Sparrowhawk and the rarer Ovambo Sparrowhawk. Long-crested Eagle (not a regular Kruger bird) is sometimes found in the Pretoriuskop surrounds.

The Albasini Road (S3) between Pretoriuskop and Phabeni is a scenic drive through the Terminalia woodland, past the giant, granite boulders. From Shabeni Hill, the S1 becomes the S3 and follows the Sabie River to Skukuza. The riverine forest supports some species more typical of forests, including African Goshawk, Black Sparrowhawk, Narina Trogon, Trumpeter Hornbill, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Green Twinspot. In winter a number of species moving to lower altitude are found, including Grey Cuckooshrike, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Cape Batis and Cape Robin-Chat. The river itself should be checked for African Finfoot.

About the Birding Site

Pretoriuskop is found on the higher lying ground in the part of the park that receives the most rainfall. Some 3,500 million years ago, molten rock forced its way through the earth’s crust and solidified to form the spectacular granite outcrops where Pretoriuskop Rest Camp is now nestled in the south-western corner of Kruger. The impressive granite dome known as “Shabeni Hill” is not far from the camp.

Other Related Information

The southern camps can be accessed through the gates at Crocodile Bridge, Malelane, Numbi, Phabeni and Paul Kruger. The closest access gate to Pretoriuskop is Numbi Gate and the closest town is the town of Hazyview.

Skukuza GPS Point: -24.993, 31.593
Crocodile Bridge Gate GPS Point: -25.358, 31.893
Malelane Gate GPS Point: -25.461, 31.534
Numbi Gate GPS Point: -25.156, 31.200
Phabeni Gate GPS Point: -24.970, 31.410
Paul Kruger GPS Point: -24.981, 31.485

The Kruger National Park charges a conservation fee as below for 2021: Wild cards are accepted at all the gates.
South African Citizens and Residents (with ID) R105 per adult, per day R52 per child, per day
SADC Nationals (with passport) R210 per adult, per day R105 per child, per day
Standard Conservation Fee R424 per adult, per day R212 per child, per day

Entrance Gates Opening Times:

Oct – Mar: 05:30
Apr – Sep: 06:00

All visitor facilities, i.e. entrance gates, restaurants, shops and venues, are accessible for wheelchairs.

Contact details:
SANPARKS Central Reservations
Tel: +27 (0)12 428 9111

Text prepared by:

Marc Cronje (Nature Travel Birding)

Key species:

Pale Flycatcher, Black-bellied Bustard, Shikra, Green-capped and Yellow-bellied Eremomelas, Grey Penduline Tit, Bushveld Pipit, Flappet Lark, Striped Kingfisher, Striped Pipit, Long-crested Eagle and African Cuckoo Hawk.

Contact details:

SANPARKS Central Reservations
Tel: +27 (0)12 428 9111