Bird Watching

Bird Watching


Deep in the bushveld of South Africa, away from bustling cities and noisy streets, you’ll find a plethora of birdlife with a variety of colors that no artist’s palette could cover. Bird watching or 'birding' in South Africa allows you to be privy to an incredible diversity of South African birdlife. Home to over 850 different species of birds, South Africa offers a bird watching experience like no other.

The grasslands and wetlands of South Africa are prime areas for bird watchers to catch a glimpse of some endangered bird species like the Blue Crane and the African Black Oystercatcher. Whilst the southwestern interior regions of South Africa are known for their high density of birds per square kilometer, spectacular bird watching can be experienced almost anywhere in the country.

Cape Town is home to the glorious World of Birds in Hout Bay. Over 3000 birds of 400 different species are beautifully presented over 100 different landscaped aviaries. Few other places will offer you the chance of seeing so many stunning varieties of birds all in one day. As you walk through the open aviaries, the unique calls, the striking sounds and vivid colors that are all around you are truly amazing. Spread over 4 hectares and set on the foot of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, the Cape Town World of Birds is a truly unique bird watching experience.

Along the Cape west coast of South Africa is a small fishing town called Lamberts Bay. About 60m off the coast of Lamberts Bay is the northernmost seabird island in South Africa. A special bird hide was built here in about 1998 which will afford you the chance to view the Cape Gannets busy at their daily activities thru a one-way glass wall. Also on the island is the African Penguin, of which there are sadly only 50 breeding pairs left. With any luck, you’ll be able to spot some Gull varieties on the island like the Kelp Gull and Hartlaub’s Gull.

Along the east coast of South Africa in KwaZulu Natal, you’ll find the Tembe Elephant Park. Don’t let the name of this South African game reserve fool you - there’s over 340 varieties of birdlife to be seen here. Birding enthusiasts will be delighted to know that even rarely seen bird species like the Rudd’s apalis, the Natal Nightjar and the Woodwards batis can be seen here.

For the more diehard of bird watching enthusiasts who tend to steer away from commercial birding spots and who prefer roughing it in the bush with binoculars and a safari suit, rest assured that there are plenty such bird watching spots in South Africa. The many game and nature reserves in South Africa offer a huge variety of birding opportunities. Certain game reserves will have tailored trips into the bush to grasslands and wetlands where you’ll be able to spot the Southern Bald Ibis, Tawny and Martial Eagles and the African Green-Pigeon amongst many others.

Alternatively, you can get your sleeping bag and tent and hike up into the Drakensberg Mountains where you’ll be able to spot, amongst others, the Jackal Buzzard, the Drakensburg Rock-Jumper and the Drakensberg Siskin. Armed with your binoculars and a birding guide, you’ll be amazed at the beauty and diversity of birdlife on display in these mountains in their natural habitat.

For the avid birding enthusiast, who’s perhaps not quite fit enough to hike into the mountains, the quaint town of Hogsback in the Eastern Cape is an ideal setting for some splendid bird watching. Easy contour paths through the forest will bring you close to such beautiful birds as the Forest Canary, Cinnamon Dove, the Knysna Lourie and the Forest Weaver. If you’re around during the dawn and dusk times, you might even be lucky enough to spot the rare Cape Parrot flying overhead.

South Africa affords you an incredible selection of bird watching opportunities. From man made aviaries, to birding in the bushes, South Africa offers the bird watching experience of a life time.