Self-drive Routes

Recomended "drives" for the CLBR


Blue Route

2 Day plan
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Day 1: Follow the Green Route (Day 1) as far as the Turfloop Dam Nature Reserve. Now pass through the Mamabolo Bushveld and look out for Greater Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and a host of Larks and Cisticolas in this unusual habitat. Stop in at Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge to do some forest birding and pick up specials such as Blue-mantled Crested-flycatcher, White-starred Robin and Green Twinspot.
Day 2: Head down the Kudu´s River Valley and bird along this scenic dirt road, looking out for Narina Trogon, Black, Crowned and Long crested Eagles, Cape Rock-Thrush, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Olive Bush Shrike, Shelley´s Francolin and Lazy Cisticola. From Mooketsi, travel back towards Polokwane, stopping off at Knott´s Trail Camp to check for Sombre Greenbul, Purple-crested Turaco, Yellow-throated Longclaw and Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird. All 5 Southern African Bush-Shrikes can be seen along this route.

Green Route

3 Day plan
This route is the heart of the CLBR and mostly follows the R71.
Day 1: Start in Polokwane, visiting the Polokwane Nature Reserve and Bird Sanctuary. This area will provide specials such as the Short-clawed Lark, Bushveld Pipit, Great Sparrow and Crimson-breasted Shrike to name but a few. From Polokwane, travel eastwards towards Tzaneen and visit the Turfloop Dam Nature Reserve to pick up some waders, ducks and possibly Southern Bald Ibis. From here, head towards Haenertsburg to explore the grasslands above the village for birds such as Broad-tailed Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow warbler, Drakensberg Prinia and Cape Grassbird.
Day 2: An early morningĀ“s exploration along the Woodbush Forest drive is sure to be a rewarding experience where specials such as Cape Parrot, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike and Grey Cuckooshrike may be seen. A stop at the Debengeni Waterfalls is always a good area to check for the Grey Wagtail (summer) before moving onto the Rooikoppies Bat Hawk nesting site. Look out for African Finfoot and Half-collard Kingfisher on the way up to the latter site. Then drive down to the Tzaneen dam and bird the area below the dam wall for Grey-rumped Swallow, Yellow-throated Longclaw and White-browed Robin-Chat.
Day 3: Head out towards Letsitele, making short stops on the Taganashoek road and at The Junction recreational club. Look out for Woodland Kingfisher, various Bee-eaters and Purple-crested Turaco. Now follow the road eastwards to the Eiland holiday resort and the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve. Spend the rest of the day birding this reserve, looking out for ArnotĀ“s Chat, Broad-billed Roller and White-breasted Cuckooshrike.

Purple Route

2 Day plan
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Day 1: From Polokwane head towards Haenertsburg along the R71 and after about 45 kilometers, turn right onto the dirt road sign posted ´Randfontein´ that is situated on the big horseshoe bend. Follow this road to the first junction and turn left towards Haenertsburg. (If you turn right here you will head towards the Wolkberg.) Along this road, look out for Pearl-breasted Swallow, African Black Swift, White-fronted Bee-eater, Jackal Buzzard, White-necked Raven and Lazy Cisticola. This road eventually leads back to Haenertsburg via the Black Forest Mountain Lodge where you can stop to look for various grassland and forest birds.
Day 2: Explore the grasslands above the village of Haenertsburg and the forests in the area. Head down the George´s Valley road (R528) towards Tzaneen, stopping off at Thaba Metsi to bird along the upper reaches of the Letaba River, looking out for African Finfoot and Half-collared Kingfisher. Continue towards Tzaneen and head up to Agatha, where there are many lodges including Kings Walden which is situated close to the Agatha State Forest where there is another Bat Hawk roosting and breeding site. Finally, continue down towards the Letsitele Valley and link up with sites mentioned in the Green Route description, Day 3.

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