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South Africa Birding Safari Guide

Birding Tours & Safaris
Travel Writer: EcoTravel Africa  

South Africa ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world. An incomparable combination of variety of birds, first class hotels and accommodation facilities, an excellent network of internal airline routes and a multitude of car hire companies (including the large internationals) and a supportive avi-tourism industry makes South Africa one of the most desirable birding destinations in the world.

Photographer: EcoTravel Africa 

Of the +/- 850 bird species recorded in South Africa, about 725 are resident or annual visitors, and 50 of these are endemic or near-endemic to South Africa, and can only be seen in South Africa. Apart from the resident birds, South Africa hosts a number of intra-African migrants such as cuckoos and kingfishers, as well as birds from the Arctic, Europe, Central Asia, China and Antarctica during the year.

There are many destinations in Southern Africa, that are particularly well suited as stopover points as they offer excellent bird watching opportunities on-site and are close enough to other top birding spots. For the go-it-alone birder, these destinations / accommodations are listed separately to the Birding Safari Operators.

Many of the hundreds of nature reserves and game reserves throughout South Africa provide excellent opportunities for bird watching. Facilities include trails, hides, information sheets and checklists, and trained bird guides. In some areas specific birding facilities have been established.

"Birder Friendly Eastablishments" are registered with BirdLife South Africa. They are committed to supporting BirdLife South Africa’s vision which is to conserve South Africa's wild birds and their habitats by promoting Avitourism. These establishments will do their utmost to ensure that birding guests have the best possible "birder friendly" experience. They offer flexible meal times or packed meals when requested, information on birds in their areas, and advice on where to pick up local bird guides.

Most of the game lodges in South Africa have expert guides who are skilled bird spotters and who will be happy to take you on walks or drives through the bush.

South Africa Our South African tours offer, quite simply, the best of African birding. The combination of our Eastern South Africa tour and Western Cape Extension provides a thoroughly comprehensive South African experience. South Africa boasts the highest total of endemic species of any African country, and our tour concentrates on covering all possible habitats to locate many of more than 130 endemic and near-endemic birds.

In addition to the fantastic variety of regional endemics and rich seabird assemblage, we also take time for many more widespread yet spectacular African birds and large mammals. Add to this the rich botanical heritage and scenic splendor of Africa's most varied country, fine food and wines, comfortable accommodations and superb value for money. It's not hard to see why this is our most popular tour!

From the classic African savanna of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, to the teeming Zululand game reserves, the endemic-rich mist-belt forests of the Natal Midlands, to the lofty peaks of the magnificent Drakensberg, Eastern South Africa offers the very best of African birding and game watching. The Mother City, Cape Town, widely considered one of the world's most beautiful cities is our axis for exploring the breathtaking Cape Peninsula, the succulent Karoo, flower-laden West Coast and teeming pelagic waters. This tour produces up to an incredible 500 bird and 50 mammal species. Some of this tour's birding highlights include African Penguin, 5 or more albatross, Southern Bald Ibis, Taita Falcon, Black Harrier, Blue Crane, Ground Woodpecker, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird and Pink-throated Twinspot.

Off the Beaten Track and Soutpansberg & Limpopo Valley tours are part of our range of shorter South African tours that explore the more remote corners of our fascinating land. We will also target some of the specialized endemics that are not available on our standard route. Our Northern South Africa and Kruger tour thoroughly encompasses the world-famous Kruger NP and outstanding surrounding regions.

Our Cape Birds, Wild Flowers, Whales & Game tour takes in the very best of the Fairest Cape at a time when the Cape Fynbos biome and Namaqualand Spring flowers are at their very peak. This tour provides incredible views of Southern Right Whales lounging offshore and exiting Kalahari big game


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South Africa has many top Game / Nature Reserves, and is home to many of the mammals of southern Africa. Numerous wildlife safari and tour companies operate guided tours to South Africa. Popular adventure travel activities in South Africa include: horse riding safaris, elephant back safaris, mountain biking, birding, wilderness walking trails, science safaris and volunteering especially for GAP year students.
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