Soutpansberg – Thohoyandou National Botanical Gardens

About the Birding

Thohoyandou National Botanical Gardens is a beautiful garden set against the slopes of Soutpansberg Mountains in the northern part of Limpopo Province. The garden features an interesting mixture of indigenous scrub forest and mist belt forest. A birding walk in the gardens could last up to 1-2 hours.

Two long trails lead through the gardens, beginning at the main entrance and the offices. Both take roughly 2-hours to complete. Search the forest for the Pink-throated Twinspot, Bearded Scrub-robin, Bar-throated Apalis, Narina Trogon, Red-capped Robin-chat, Green Twinspot, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, and Gorgeous Bushshrike. Watch for the resident pair of Black Sparrowhawk darting through the forest, and check dense thickets for the roosting pair of African Wood Owls.

Other Related Information

GPS: 22.967, 30.464
Adults fee of R10 per person.
Children under 6 years are free.

Contact details:
Ticket Office: 021 799 8782 / 021 799 8602
Information Office: 021 799 8783 / 021 799 8773

Local guide information:
Samson Mulaudzi
Mobile: +27 (0)83 662 9960

Text prepared by:
Daniel Danckwerts (Rockjumper Birding Tours)

Other related information:


The easiest access to Addo Elephant National Park is from Port Elizabeth. To reach the Matyholweni Gate, take the N2 east from Port Elizabeth for 40km. The gate itself is located a few kilometres to the north of the small village of Colchester along a well sign-posted road. Alternatively, take the Motherwell off-ramp from the N2 and follow the R335 to the left for about 50Km to enter the main gate. The main gate is 70Km north of Port Elizabeth and 15km from Addo village.

Notable points of interest include the:

Addo Elephant National Park main gate: -33.4444, 25.7383
Addo Elephant National Park main camp: -33.4434, 25.7460
Bird hide at the main camp: -33.4443, 25.7470
Underground wildlife and bird viewing hide: -33.4453, 25.7465
Reserve entrance: -33.4416, 25.7506
PPC discovery trail: -33.4427, 25.74954
River Bend Lodge: -33.4260880119258, 25.75315138742868
Jack’s Picnic site: -33.5168, 25.7615
Spekboom tented camp: -33.5126, 25.7535
Matyholweni gate: -33.6804, 25.7992

The nearest towns to the main rest camp at Addo Elephant National Park are:
Addo: 16Km
Paterson: 27Km
Uitenhage: 55Km
Port Elizabeth: 70Km
Colchester: 41Km

Access and facilities:

Gate times vary seasonally (Apr-Sept: 06:00-18:00; Oct-Mar: 05:30-18:30), and standard national park conservation fees apply. Wild Cards are accepted for both day visitors and overnight stays. Note that accommodations are mostly of a self-catering nature, however there is a small restaurant and convenience shop at the main rest camp. Various shopping facilities are available in Port Elizabeth and the nearby villages of Colchester and Addo. A fuel station is provided at the main rest camp for your convenience, though it is advisable to top up in either Colchester or Addo prior to entering the park itself. A selection of activities are available through the lodges in Addo Elephant National Park including game drives, walking safaris, horse trails and elephant back safaris. However, self-driven tours are permissible.

Contact details:
Addo Elephant National Park
PO Box 52, Addo, 6105
Tel: +27 (0)42 233 8600
Fax: +27 (0)42 233 8643

For more information, visit:

For bookings, visit:

SANPARKS head office
Tel: +27 (0)12 426 5000

Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency
17-25 Oxford Street
East London CBD
Tel: 043 492 0081

Recommended accommodation nearby:

The nearest Birder Friendly Establishment is within the Nytathi private concession of Addo Elephant National Park. Through River Bend Lodge, one has private access to over 14 000 hectares and over 332 species are known to occur in this section of the park. Guided birding activities are on offer. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact:

River Bend Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)42 233 8000
Fax: +27 (0)42 233 8028

A range of self-catering accommodation options are available through SANPARKS, mainly at the Addo Main Camp and the Spekboom tented camp. Accommodation options include luxury guest houses, chalets, rondavels, and both caravan and camping sites. Gorah Elephant Camp offers high-end accommodation options, located in private concessions within the park and with limited access to standard Addo visitors.

To reserve accommodations at the main camp, contact:

SANPARKS reservations
Tel: +27 (0)12 428 9111
Fax: +27 (0)12 426 5500

Alternatively, to reserve accommodations at Gorah Elephant Camp, visit:

Local guide information:

No local guides are currently available for Addo Elephant National Park, though a range of guided activities are available through the Main Camp and private lodges.

Text prepared by:

Daniel Danckwerts (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours)

Key species:

Pink-throated Twinspot, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Narina Trogon, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Lesser Honeyguide, Black Sparrowhawk, African Wood Owl.

Contact details:

Ticket Office: 021 799 8782 / 021 799 8602
Information Office: 021 799 8783 / 021 799 8773