The Capricorn-Letaba birding route stretches from Polokwane in the west to the Great Letaba River beyond the Letsitele valley in the east. The route runs just a few degrees south of the Tropic of Capricorn, mainly along the R71 road which links the towns of Polokwane, Haenertsburg, Tzaneen and Gravelotte.
An interesting geographical feature of this route is its varying altitude. Polokwane lies on a plateau at approximately 1300 masl, further east lies the escarpment of the Northern Drakensberg and Wolkberg mountain ranges where the altitude reaches 2300masl. The route then drops down into the lowveld where the altitude is approximately 480masl at the Letaba River. These extreme variations in altitude result in a great range of vegetation types within a relatively small area. It is within these diverse habitats that over 500 bird species are to be found.
The open thornveld habitat of the Polokwane plateau supports a great variety of both Bushveld and Kalahari-type birds. Typical species here include Crimson-breasted Shrike, African Wren-Warbler, Short-clawed Lark and Black-faced Waxbill.
Just before reaching the foothills of the Drakensberg and Wolkberg Mountains, one passes through the outcrop strewn Mamabolo Bushveld. These granite inselbergs hold many rock-dwelling species including the northern-most population of Southern Bald Ibis.