The Makuleke Concession in the Kruger National Park is a Biodiversity Hotspot

The Makuleke contractual park in the northern Kruger National Park is approximately 24000ha in size and is bordered by the Limpopo River on the northern side and the Luvuvhu River to the south. It is considered the most biodiverse area in Kruger, comprising 1% of Kruger yet accounts for between 75% and 80% of the biodiversity to be found in the Kruger National Park.

Walking the Luvuvhu River in winter is manageable with the low water levels

The Limpopo and the Luvuvhu rivers and geographical location of the Makuleke concession comprise of a variety of landscape features such as the riverine forest, riparian floodplain forest, floodplain grassland, river channels and flood pans which all provide food, shelter and nesting sites to a large number of bird species.

The magical fever tree forest

There are approximately 350-400 bird species found within Kruger National Park. The pans also provide a vital stopover for many migratory water birds. For this specific reason, the Makuleke area was designated as a Ramsar Wetland in 2007. These wetlands are considered important bird habitats and are of international importance. South Africa has 19 designated Ramsar sites located across the country.

Earlier this year, the Nwambi Pan was over 100% full after some good rainfall. This will sustain the surrounding area as it enters into the dry months until the next rains return. This will hopefully fall either late 2018 or early 2019.

The floodplains are intermittently filled by floods and rains and are of great importance in this ecosystem as they hold water right into the dry season. There are 31 flooded pans scattered along the floodplains of the Limpopo River within Makuleke. These wetlands play a vital role in purifying water, regulating water flow and acting as a sponge releasing water slowly and easing the impact of droughts and floods in the process.

A section of the Limpopo floodplains after the recent rains

This pan is very much temporary and will likely dry up in the next few months. This, however, is an important drawcard because wildlife in all forms is reliant on these wet and dry cycles that occur within the floodplains. This allows for feeding, reproduction and nourishment for the surrounding nature.

A few of the birding specialities that can be found in Makuleke concession are; the Bohm’s Spinetail, Mottled Spinetail, Racket-tailed Roller, Three Banded Courser, Lemon-breasted Canary, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Meve’s Starling, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Bat Hawk, Tropical Boubou and Brown-necked Parrot. These are only a few names mentioned so you can just imagine the thriving birding life in this majestic concession.

Pel’s Fishing Owl (c)

People who have visited Makuleke before will be well aware of the stunning biodiversity this landscape holds. We do urge you to make a plan to visit the northern part of the Kruger National Park, whether it be through a wildlife or career course through EcoTraining or as a visitor to the Kruger Park. You will be amazed!

About the Author:
Picture of Ross Hawkins

Ross Hawkins

Explore more

students in nature with clipboards

Leading the Way to Higher Education in Ecotourism

Are you an aspiring nature guide looking to develop your skills and expertise? Look no further than EcoTraining, Africa’s leading safari and wildlife training institution. EcoTraining has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the first Guide Training School on the continent to receive accreditation from the Council for Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa.
Let us explain why this is such a significant achievement for EcoTraining and the Field Guiding Industry.

Read more
bee on lavendar plant

Why Bees are Important?

Daily we hear about animals whose population numbers are in decline, but did you know that the humble Bees numbers are also in decline and they too are at risk of extinction?

Read more
arrow-marked babbler

The Magic of the Morning Chorus

Imagine yourself early in the morning in the middle of the South African bush; the sun is just about to rise, and the wildlife begins to wake up. You close your eyes and listen. What can you hear?

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.