BIRDLIFE IN SOUTH AFRICA
There is a rich diversity of birdlife in Southern Africa and more than 850 bird species, which is roughly 8% of the world’s bird population, can be found in South Africa alone. The total bird species recorded in Southern Africa is 972. This definitely makes a trip to South Africa and Southern Africa as a whole, worthwhile for any casual birdwatcher or serious birder.
South Africa has a variety of top birding destinations. These include the Kruger National Park, Northern KwaZulu-Natal (coastal and inland areas), Drakensberg (mountain areas), wetlands such as Nylsvlei and Wakkerstroom and the wetlands area near Memel in the Free State Province.
Besides these areas there are the Western Cape coastal region, the Kalahari region, and indigenous forests in the Eastern Cape and near Magoebaskloof and Houtbosdorp in the Limpopo Province. Other areas that can be visited include the Marakele National Park, the Waterberg Biosphere and the Soutpansberg area in the Limpopo Province. Northern KwaZulu-Natal is also a very popular area for birders.
There are also ocean-going boat trips, for viewing of pelagic seabirds, while a few other areas can also be visited for specific endemic species. Boat trips on rivers and dams can also be arranged when looking for inland waterbirds, geese, ducks and wading birds.
Best Time of the Year
The birding is seasonal and the quality of the birding will differ, depending on the time of the year. Spring to late summer (September to March) is the best time for birding in South Africa with peak viewing in midsummer (December and January).
It is possible to spot a few hundred bird species in a single visit, depending on the time of year, the route taken and the areas visited.
Compiled by Wildlife South Africa