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Ken Borland

Sabie River

Posted on May 13, 2015 by Ken


The S3 Sabie River Road between the Paul Kruger and Phabeni Gates of Kruger National Park takes you through some dense woodland alongside the acacia thickets and grassveld that characterise the south-central parts of the reserve, and is ideal habitat for the Gabar Goshawk, a typical small raptor of the well-treed regions.

Although the road is along the river, there aren’t too many vantage points to look at the water, but there is nevertheless plenty of life to be seen thanks to the gallery forest that fringes the Sabie.

Apart from the Gabar Goshawk hunting from a perch within the trees, other raptors seen on a grey, rainy morning were Whitebacked Vulture and Gymnogene, while the proximity to the water and ample food meant Elephant, Impala, Bushbuck, Giraffe, Warthog and Waterbuck were common along the gently ascending road.

The Bearded Robin is generally uncommon in Kruger Park, but the Sabie River is one of the best places to see it, hopping around in the undergrowth.

Typical woodland birds like the Emeraldspotted Wood Dove, Arrowmarked Babbler, Southern Black Tit, Scimitarbill and African Hoopoe are easily seen, while Whitefaced Duck were spotted flying above the river.

The other side of the Sabie River is less untouched wilderness and more human development, which does at least provide better access to the river, allowing Hippopotamus, Water Dikkop, Blacksmith Plover, African Pied Wagtail, Greenbacked Heron and Pied Kingfisher to be viewed.

The woodlands around the Sabie River are also great for Brownhooded Kingfisher and Blackbacked Puffback.

Sightings list


Little Swift

Water Dikkop

Blacksmith Plover

Glossy Starling

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Helmeted Guineafowl

Rattling Cisticola


Forktailed Drongo


Arrowmarked Babbler

Blackeyed Bulbul

Southern Black Tit



Cape Turtle Dove


African Hoopoe

Goldenbreasted Bunting

Grey Heron


Gabar Goshawk

Whitebacked Vulture



Whitefaced Duck

Bearded Robin

African Pied Wagtail

Greenbacked Heron

Hadeda Ibis

Pied Kingfisher

Brownhooded Kingfisher

Blackbacked Puffback

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