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IIf you’re a birder and haven’t yet seen a red-chested flufftail, Rudd’s lark or a blue korhaan, you can’t miss out on a trip to Wakkerstroom.
This bucolic farming town in Mpumalanga is nestled in a valley on the edge of a spectacular wetland. Even beginner birders will find the town rewarding – there are over 370 bird species to be spotted.
Non-birders will also find plenty to do: fly-fishing; drumming; golf; cooing over alpaca babies; wild-flower walks; cheese tasting; bike riding on country roads; and historical tours.
The town and its surrounds are designated an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area because the sheer variety of habitats provide an unprecedented opportunity to see endemics. South Africa has 13 unique bird species, and you can spot nine of them in and around Wakkerstroom.
The area is mostly comprised of high-altitude grassland, but there are also gorges, cliffs, mistbelt forests, farm dams and, of course, the magnificent wetland where the flufftail lurks.
Grassland birds are notoriously hard to spot, but birders in and around town can offer tips on where to find the critically endangered Rudd’s lark. There are several bird hides to make use of.
To up your chances of seeing the specials in this area, partner with a local bird guide (trained by BirdLife South Africa). They can guide you straight to all the right places. Your bird list is bound to look rather impressive by the end of a birding trip to Wakkerstroom.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)84 951 2656
BirdLife South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 789 1122
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency
Tel: +27 (0)13 759 5300
How to get here
Take the N3 towards Durban. Turn off onto the R23 at Heidelberg. Head towards Standerton and Volksrust. As you enter the town of Volksrust, turn left to get on the R543 (which is also the road to Piet Retief). Travel around 28km to Wakkerstroom.
Best time to visit
Summer in Wakkerstroom is glorious, with plenty of birdlife and wildflowers to see.
Things to do
The area is also known for its off-road and hiking trails.
What to pack
Binoculars, a local bird guide and comfortable walking shoes will help you make the most of your visit.
What to eat
The area is famous for its delicious cheese and trout.