Looking for the best birding in South Africa? We’ve got you covered. South Africa is said to be one of the best countries worldwide for bird watching, with over 900 species of birds waiting for you to rest your binoculars on their breast.
South Africa is home to more than 10% of the world’s bird species. The variety of habitats in the country means that South Africa offers some of the best birding spots in the world, from South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, to Pel’s Fishing Owl and many more. Southern Africa is home to many rare and endemic species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
More than 530 bird species visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, formerly the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, including over 20 000 Greater Flamingos and 40 000 Lesser Flamingos, as well as many other water birds. The area has been designated as a World Heritage Site because it has the greatest concentration of breeding birds in South Africa. Many coastal forest species can be found here.
African Pygmy-Goose, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Short-tailed Pipit, and Rosy-throated Longclaws live in the seasonally flooded wetlands of the region. Furthermore, rare species such as Neergaard’s Sunbird and Pink-Throated Twinspots can be found in coastal forests. African Fish Eagles can also be found in large numbers. Pel’s Fishing Owls and Mangrove Kingfishers are also possible sightings.
For more information on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park click here.
The Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the best spots for birding in South Africa — home to over 500 bird species, many of which are endemic. The reserve has a wide range of habitats, and the northern sections of the park are home to many tropical species, while the southern areas are home to many Southern African birds.
However, more than 20% of these are rare sightings, and many species have a limited distribution range. Some are also seasonal visitors, while others are difficult to locate. As a result, if you want to get the most out of your birding experience in the Kruger National Park, you must be patient.
The best time to visit is between October and March, when many migrant species arrive and more than double the park’s birding population. The northern sections of the park generally have the best birding.
For more information on the Kruger National Park click here.
Cape Town is especially unique in that it provides opportunities to observe various types of seabirds along its scenic coastlines, making it a great spot for birding in South Africa. The Cape’s coastline is home to a variety of Albatross species, the Giant Petrel, and very rare South Polar Gulls and Terns. Bird watchers can also visit Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town to get up close and personal with the Cape’s thriving African penguin population.
A variety of native bird species, including the Cape Sugarbird, Hottentot Buttonquail, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin, and Protea Seedeater, scurry among the historic landmarks and social buzz.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve is well-known for its diverse resident and migratory birdlife, with over 260 species recorded, making it a top spot for birding in South Africa. Water birds flock to the De Hoop Vlei in large numbers, while Potberg is home to the Western Cape’s only breeding colony of the endangered Cape vulture.
For more information on the De Hoop Nature Reserve click here.
Goegap Nature Reserve
The Goegap nature reserve is approximately fifteen kilometres east of the Springbok region. This lovely reserve is known for its sandy plains, granite peaks, and a wide variety of wildlife. The region has become a haven for bird watchers and bird enthusiasts, with over 92 South African bird species identified in the nature reserve. Black eagles, spotted dikkops, and ground woodpeckers are among the birds that can be seen in the reserve.
For more information on the Goegap Nature Reserve click here.