Soutpansberg – Entabeni Forest

About the Birding

Entabeni Forest is a narrow strip of Afro-temperate mist-belt forest situated above the Entabeni State Plantation. Consisting of approximately 853 hectares, this is one of the largest remaining forests in the Soutpansberg boasting the full assemblage of forest species for the wider area. A bird guide is recommended for this locality given that one has to navigate through areas of timber plantation to reach the forest.

Entabeni Forest is one of the most reliable sites for the scarce Blue-spotted Wood Dove in the country, though beware of confusion with the similar Tambourine and Emerald-spotted Wood Doves as all three species occur side-by-side at this site. The Blue-spotted Wood Dove is most easily seen on overcast and drizzly days, particularly in the early morning, though remains shy and is usually seen darting off the road/trails and into cover.

Upon entering the State Plantation complex, turn to the right and follow the Lutanandwa River for roughly 2km. Search the river for the African Finfoot, Mountain Wagtail, Giant and Half-collared Kingfisehrs, and African Black Duck. The riverine woodland here supports a healthy population of Narina Trogon and this species is best seen in early summer when their calls echo through the forest.

To reach the main forest, follow the sights to Nthavhine for roughly 15km. Park your car at the junction with the forest drive and walk into the forest from there. Forest interior species include the Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Knysna Turaco, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Grey Cuckooshrike, Bush Blackcap, White-starred Robin, Brown Scrub-robin and the Chorister Robin-chat. The scarce Orange Ground Thrush also occurs and is best seen on damp and overcast days when they are most vocally active. The shy Barratt’s Warbler is fairly common at this site and is best detected by its ringing call, though patience and luck are required to see this species.

About the Birding Site

The Eastern Soutpansberg Mountains are dominated by timber plantations, nut orchards and avocado plantations though nestled between these agricultural lands are some of the best forest birding sites in the country. All three forest types – Afrotemperate mistbelt, semi-deciduous scrub, and semi-deciduous mixed – occur supporting a plethora of interesting forest specials including the Gorgeous and Black-fronted Bushshrikes, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Orange Ground Thrush, Chorister Robin-chat, Crested Guineafowl, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Knysna Turaco and Scaly-throated Honeyguide. Many of these forests are easily accessible and all fall within State protection.

Other Related Information

Access point GP- GPS 23.0499,30.2236

The main gate can be accessed from R524 road either from Thohoyandou or Makhado(Louis Trichardt). Turn at the sign-post labelled ‘Entabeni’ and follow the gravel road to the main gate.

Entabeni charges a nominal admission fee as follows:
Adults is R10 per person.
Vehicle is R15 per vehicle.

Key species:

Black-fronted Bushshrike, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Barratt’s Warbler.

Contact details:

Ticket Office: 015 583 0100
Information Office: 012 481 3500