Soutpansberg – Hanglip Forest
About the Birding
Hangklip Forest consists of approximately 354 hectares of indigenous Afromontane forest overlooking the town of Louis Trichardt. It is one of the most easily accessible mist-belt forests with many large trees and a canopy exceeding 20 metres in height, therefore providing excellent habitat for many sought-after forest specials. Begin your exploration around the picnic site, listening for the rattling call of the Scaly-throated Honeyguide. Chorister Robin-chat is also present and is sometimes seen foraging in the open. A short circular walk through the forest interior should deliver the Yellow-streaked Greenbul, which is surprisingly common within the reserve. Several coveys of Crested Guineafowl patrol the area, while other forest specials include the Olive Woodpecker, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Olive Bushshrike, and both the Lemon and Tambourine Doves. Blue-spotted Wood Dove has been recorded but beware of confusion with the similar Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, which also occurs at the forest edge. Overhead, watch for the African Black and Alpine Swifts.
The mountain tops are good places to see Gurney’s Sugarbird and Malachite Sunbird. It is worth looking for a Red-chested Flufftail in this area.
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
In Makhado (Louis Trichardt), take Krogh Street due north, towards the mountain. Krogh Street becomes Forestry Road and takes you straight to the Hangklip Plantation gate. From here follow the main road and sign boards to the Picnic Site. It is about 8km from the gate to the Picnic Site.
A nominal entrance fee of R10 is charged per vehicle, and R5 per person.
Text prepared by:
Daniel Danckwerts (Rockjumper Birding Tours)