The low-lying karroid plains host the endangered Ludwig’s Bustard, several Karoo endemics and, in the winter months, flocks of hundreds of Blue Crane, South Africa’s national bird. In the Acacia riverine thickets you’ll find herons, kingfishers and weavers alongside woodpeckers and African Hoopoes. Make your way to the mountain grasslands for a chance to spot the stately Secretarybird, noisy francolins and nesting Black Eagles. The latter can be seen at Samara’s most famous lookout point high on the mountaintop – the eponymous Eagle Rock, from where you can also witness kites and falcons riding the thermals.
Other common residents include Africa’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori Bustard, and its largest flightless bird, the Ostrich, as well as Pale Chanting Goshawks, Greater Flamingos, Steppe Buzzards and Martial Eagles.
A particularly exciting recent addition to the bird list has been the Cape Vulture, or Cape Griffon. These birds of prey are classified by the IUCN as Endangered, with fewer than 10,000 individuals remaining worldwide. Confined to Southern Africa, many of them breed in the grassy mountainous regions of South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Lesotho. Much maligned and misunderstood beasts, vultures are in fact critical determinants of healthy ecosystems, and we are delighted that the fruits of conservation efforts, both at Samara and by conservation programmes across Southern Africa, have yielded such results.