Pilanesberg National Park – a Bird Lovers Paradise

When one thinks about National Parks, the first subjects that typically come to mind are Big Cats. Frantically chasing around for these cats is an easy trap for people to fall into, myself included from time to time.

The problem with this approach is if you do not spot any cats your whole trip could be ruined!

There is a simple solution – look closer at what nature has to offer!

What does “look closer” mean ?

This simply means to take note of every creature, no matter how small it might be.  How often can you say that you have stopped and photographed a chameleon or a millipede ?

By taking the time to slow down (not only your vehicle but also your mind) it opens up a whole new window on nature. 

Everyday life requires us to do things at speed – this often carries over to when we are in the Bush. We tend to “fly” through the parks expecting to spot our bucketlist animals posing for us. The 40km/h speed limit in National Parks are there for a reason – I challenge you to slow down even further!

During a recent visit to Pilanesberg National Park I consciously travelled between 20-30km/h – what a difference this made! I was in my element as a bird photographer because of the number of photographic opportunities that presented itself. I am certain that if I was only looking for lions, leopards and hyena I would not have noticed half the birds.

A few favourite birds of the trip

  • European Roller – My favourite image as it has eluded me on previous trips.

European Roller.jpg
  • White-winged Widowbird – This male bird is displaying his tail feathers in order to attract females (they will mate with up to 4 females in a breeding season!)

White-winged Widowbird.jpg
  • Long-tailed Paradise Whydah – This bird looks like it belongs in a tropical forest – the tail on this bird is AMAZING!

  • Red-billed Oxpecker – These birds feed on the ticks (can eat 100 per day) found on giraffe, zebra and wildebeest so keep a close lookout next time.

  • Yellow-billed Hornbill – Easy to see where this bird gets its name from – that characteristic bill is huge! 

Yellow-billed Hornbill.jpg
  • Red-backed Shrike – This bird is carnivorous and are also known as “butcher birds” because of their feeding habits.


Are you willing to take on my challenge next time you in the bush ?

Till next time...