South Africa â€“ a birderâ€™s paradise
With its varied geographical and climactic regions, South Africa is a popular destination for bird lovers. The country is host to a great number of both rare and well known birds â€“ the variety includes species as diverse as penguins at the coast and ostriches in the Karoo!
South Africa has a reputation for protecting its wildlife and that includes our birds. When the King Shaka Airport in Durban was recently upgraded, the bird flight path which was affected was given special attention and every effort made to protect the birds in question.
If youâ€™re planning a bird watching holiday in South Africa youâ€™ll want to consider the type of birds youâ€™re hoping to spot, and plan your accommodation accordingly â€“ no point hoping to spot pelagic birds if youâ€™re staying inland!
South Africaâ€™s many and varied birds
South Africa has many wetland areas and these are prime locations for bird watching. Some of the wetland birds you can look out for in SA include a variety of Egrets and Herons, the Great White Pelican, the Greater Flamingo, Kingfisher and a number of duck and goose species such as the Dabchick and the Egyptian Geese. And donâ€™t forget South Africaâ€™s national bird â€“ the Blue Crane!
Popular birds that may be viewed in South Africa are those of the sun and sugar bird variety such as the Cape Sugarbird and the Amethyst Sunbird â€“ these are dainty and as colourful as jewels!
For those who enjoy watching birds of prey in action, South Africa is home to a number of raptors and owls including the African Fish Eagle, African Goshawk and the sleepy Barn Owl.
Go coastal to enjoy watching the many strong flying seabirds such as gannets, gulls and terns.
Luxury Bird Watching accommodation in South Africa Game Lodges
South Africa has a large selection of privately owned game reserves offering luxury accommodation. Many visitors to South Africa stay in Game and Bush Lodges for the Big 5 and other mammal viewing â€“ but game reserves are also ideal destinations for bird watchers.
Try Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, Nedile Lodge in Limpopo, Makakatana Bay Lodge in sub-tropical KwaZulu Natal or Iketla Lodge in Mpumalanga near the Kruger National Park for great game and bird watching combinations in luxury safari accommodation.
When booking your game lodge accommodation, be sure to mention to your hosts that you have a keen interest in bird watching and ask them which species you may be lucky enough to spot while visiting their establishment. You can also find out at this stage whether bird watching walks or safaris are offered on site and book in advance where necessary.
Birding events in South Africa
South Africa offers a number of events around birds and birding throughout the year. Become a friend of BirdLife South Africa to keep updated on whatâ€™s happening in the world of birds in this country.
Bird sanctuaries in South Africa
If youâ€™re a bird watcher visiting South Africa with your family, you may find that the little ones are not keen on joining long quiet walks looking for birds. There are a number of bird sanctuaries around South Africa where bird lovers might enjoy spending time with their families â€“ this is a great way to get young children interested in birds. Try Montecasino Bird Gardens in Gauteng, World of Birds in Hout Bay, Cape Town, or Eagle Encounters at Spier in the Cape Winelands.