Birds, South Africa

Birds in South Africa.

With about 900 species, many of which are endemic, rare, or just plain beautiful, South Africa offers fantastic birding. Visitors will be enthralled by the sheer number, variety and beauty of South Africa's many birds.

Birders from around the world come to experience both the great variety of typically African birds, migrants and endemics (those birds found only in South Africa).

Birding Tours

It is important to cater specially for particularly keen birders as it is not optimum to mix serious birders and general game viewers on the same safari or vehicle. Your birder may be avidly trying to focus on what appears to be a pink-throated twinspot, while everyone else wants to go off to see Elephants.

So it's best to travel with like-minded 'feather-brained' companions. There are a number of specialised birding trips ranging from half-day escorted jaunts on the outskirts of cities to organised treks across the country. Some game reserves and national parks also have specific birding programmes.

Bird parks or sanctuaries

Although nothing can compare with stalking that special bird through the forest, or across an open plain, bird parks do have their place. As well as the few commercial parks, you can also get fantastic sightings of birds at a number of sanctuaries - many of which are within city limits.

And, of course, don't forget that Ostriches are birds and that you could learn a lot about them at an ostrich farm - even if they have spotted them in the wild. (Ostriches are fascinating - by far the largest bird in the world, they are truly spectacular and worth seeing.) Near Cape Town there are some protected penguin colonies, where visitors can spend ages just watching these endearing birds.

Birding Seasons:

The southern winter tends to be dry over much of the country, but wet in the extreme southwest around Cape Town. At this time, excellent birding can be had in the bushveld and lowveld areas of the northeast, complemented by outstanding game viewing, while huge numbers of seabirds that breed on sub-Antarctic islands move north.

The spring season brings the first of the breeding migrants from further north in Africa, and also heralds the start of the breeding season for the resident species.

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