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BIRDING IN SOUTH AFRICA


Southern Africa is a paradise for birders with over 900 bird species, of which 179 are full or near endemic. A bird-watching tour around South Africa affords the opportunity to see the majority of birds and serves as a base for birding trips to the neighbouring states of Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. South Africa is home to 8% of the world’s bird species.

Quality accommodation, generally excellent roads, an active local birding community and first rate guides ensure that a bird watching trip to South Africa will be comfortable, stress free and will greatly increase your bird count. The pleasant climate adds to this value-for money experience.

 

Top Birding Areas


Western Cape
• The coast and marine rich waters support an incredible variety of sea birds and should be included in your birding tour.
• The floral kingdom of the Western Cape and semi-desert regions of the Karoo: A short birding tour, usually with Cape Town as a departure point, offers about 40 - 60 endemic bird species.
• North of Cape Town and the Kalahari: A typical birding tour requires at least 3 days and covers a fairly long distance if travelling by road from Cape Town.

Kwa Zulu Natal


• Drakensberg Mountains: Prime destinations such as Sani Pass and Giants Castle offer a rich diversity of endemic birds as well as sightings of the rare Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer)
• Mkuze and Ndumu Game Reserves- bushveld birding
• Dhlinza, Ngoye and Ntumeni Forests: Indigenous forest birding.


Mpumalanga
• Wakkerstroom, the highest wetland in the Southern Hemisphere, offers a wide variety of bird species as well as several endemic birds.
• Kruger National Park and neighbouring private reserves, offer the biggest diversity of bird species with the northern areas of the park being the southern most point of many species.


Limpopo Province
• Magoebaskloof/Tzaneen area. Excellent forest birding can be combined with a trip to the Kruger National Park.

Best birding seasons
South Africa does not experience the same seasonal extremes as in Europe and the USA so birding is excellent all year round.

October through to January(Spring/Summer) is probably the most productive period for birding Southern Africa whilst in the Western Cape, September through to October is the best.

The winter months (May-August) are cooler and drier in the North and East of the country for those wanting to combine game viewing and biding. During this time, the grass is also shorter making game viewing easier.

Bird Species Count
During the summer months in the Kruger National Park or the Zululand coastal plain, with the assistance of a good guide, it should be possible to see about 200 species in three days or 280 species in 5 days. A two week tour including the major birding destinations of the country would produce between 400 and 500 species.

The Western and Northern Cape probably have the highest number of endemics but in a four day birding trip around the greater Pretoria- Johannesburg area, one could expect to see about 50 species. The eastern regions of the country are also good for endemics.

 

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