Limpopo Birding Routes

Soutpansberg Limpopo Birding Hotspots

Albasini Levubu

White-backed Duck - Jody de Bruyn

The Albasini Dam is the biggest water-body in this area. From the north one can visit the Department of Water Affairs Picnic Site, which has some waterfront and an extensive area of sour bushveld. Birding around the dam is best done by boat. The accommodation establishments on the dam offer pontoon trips usually including drinks and even dinner if arranged in advance. It is well worth taking one of these trips, as the guides know where to see many of the specials. Birds such as White-backed Night-Heron and African Finfoot can often be seen from the pontoon. There are also many other water birds to be found on the dam and birding here is always rewarding. The vegetation around the dam also offers good birding.

Levubu is a sub-tropical fruit farming area; the little town of Levubu is the centre of this area and caters for the farming community in the district. The area is has two major rivers, the Lotonyanda River and the Luvuvhu River. Both are fringed by Lowveld riverine forest and semi-deciduous mixed forest, and birdlife is abundant. Access to the rivers is difficult as much of this area is under private ownership. The area has an impressive species total of over 300 birds. Purple-crested Turaco and African Green Pigeon are plentiful and African Paradise Flycatcher is a common summer visitor. Look out for Grey-headed Parrot which is in the area from August to November.

African Finfoot - Derek Engelbrecht
Albasini Dam

The Department of Water Affairs controls an extensive section of water frontage on the dam which can be reached through the main gate near the dam wall. Osprey can be seen here in summer, as well as the normal array of waterbirds, including White-breasted Cormorant, Green-backed Heron and African Darter. There is a large tract of sour bushveld with numerous roads on which you can drive or walk and while looking out for the numerous bushveld birds. This is one of the few places in the region where Yellow-throated Longclaw can be found. The best birding on the dam is done by boat excursions which can be arranged with Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge (see Accommodation Establishments).

Directions: Take the R524 east from Louis Trichardt / Makhado; after 21 km turn right onto the gravel road marked ‘Albasini’. The picnic site is 2.5 km further on the right. After the entrance gate, turn sharp right and find your way along the roads.

African Pygmy Goose – Dalena Mostert
Jacana Dam

This little dam can produce good sightings of Lesser Jacana, African Pygmy Goose, Thick-billed Weaver, a number of Widow species, Common and Lesser Moorhen. The vegetation between the road and dam can be quite thick at times, making access to the edge of the water difficult. 

Directions: Travel on the road to Thohoyandou / Punda Maria from Louis Trichardt / Makhado. Pass the Entabeni turn off, and three turn-offs to Levubu. Go through a 4-way stop, travel 3.3km further, and at the fourth sign to Levubu, turn right onto a gravel road. You will see the dam on your left after exactly 2km.  If you are travelling from Thohoyandou, turn left at the first sign to Levubu, which is 3km past the sign ´Welcome to Makhado Municipal Area´. The dam will be 2km further on your left. If you are travelling from Levubu, turn left at the ´Levubu Filling Station´ towards Thohoyandou. Drive for 1.6 km and turn right towards ´Hoewes´. The dam is 3.5 km further on the right. 

African Green Pigeon – Dalena Mostert
Levubu Post Office Tree

A large Mobola Plum (Parinari curatellifolia) is situated outside the Levubu Post Office; Grey-headed Parrots often feed in this tree between August and November and they can sometimes be seen flying over the rugby field just to the north of the post office. African Green Pigeons can also been seen in the area.

Directions: Travel on the R524 from Louis Trichardt / Makhado towards Punda Maria. Take the second Levubu turn- off, after 4.6 km you will reach a T-junction, turn left towards ´Levubu Oos´. The Post Office is 2km further on the left, just before the Primary School.

White-fronted Bee-eater - San3 de Wet
Muirhead Dams

These lovely dams are on private property and the owner kindly allows birdwatchers to visit free of charge. A bird hide has been built and trails have been laid out around the dams. This is a reliable place to find Blue-spotted Wood Dove, one of the region’s top 10 birds; other species found on and around the dams are African Pygmy Goose, White-backed Duck, Horus Swift, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Red-backed Mannikin and Lesser Moorhen. Horus swift can be seen around the soil bank, just across the dam wall. The Blue-spotted Dove is usually found on the northern side of the dams; if you are there after hours, you can look around the packing sheds just to the west of the dam. Please remember to respect the property and privacy of the land owner!

Directions: Travel east on the R524 from Louis Trichardt / Makhado. After 21km, turn left onto the property ‘Royal Macadamia´ keeping right after the turn-off. Pass the macadamia nut orchard on the left and banana plantation on the right, after 800m park your car next to the bat box, just before the dam wall. Find your way around the dams following the footpaths.