Tshabalala Sanctuary

Acacia Pied Barbet


Red-crested Korhaan

Tshabalala Sanctuary is a game park run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. It is situated at the southern end of Bulawayo, with its northern boundary being the city’s suburb of Eloana. The entrance gate to the sanctuary is approximately 12km from the city centre, along the Matopos Road. The sanctuary consists of approximately 1200 hectares of thornveld savannah. In fact it is the only game park in the country where the Acacia tree is predominant. Due to the black clay soils, heavy rains make roads impassable, so entry may be periodically restricted during the rainy season.

Over 200 different species have been recorded for the area, with notable varieties being the Tawny Eagle, Kori Bustard, Red-crested Korhaan, Secretarybird, Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark and Purple Roller. Thornveld species such as the Acacia Pied Barbet, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Marico Flycatcher and the striking Crimson-breasted Shrike are relatively common. Where there is more open grassland, Crowned Lapwings are common, and spotting the Capped Wheatear, Temminck’s Courser and various larks and pipits should be possible. The White-throated and White-browed Robin-chats, Black-faced and Violet-eared Waxbills, together with many other bush birds may be found in patches of denser woodland. The summer months bring various kinds of cuckoo, kingfisher, swallow, and visiting raptors to the area.

With its close proximity to the city, having no known dangerous animals of prey allowing one to walk in the area, Tshabalala Sanctuary is the perfect place for that ‘quick birding getaway’ into the bush with the added advantage of maybe seeing impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest.

Image credits: Landscape by Qhelani Moyo; Acacia Pied Barbet, Secretarybird & Red-crested Korhaan by Roger MacDonald

Keeping Common Birds Common