Birding in South Africa or birdwatching is a recreational activity of observing birds in their natural habitat. Birds are observed with the naked eye, or with the use of binoculars, cameras or telescopes. Birds are also identified by ear, listening for bird sounds. Birdwatchers study the birds’ by distribution, identification, molt, migration timing and habitat usage.
South Africa offers a wide variety of birds to study due to the various habitats, such as wetlands, grasslands, forests, fynbos, savannahs, deserts, beachesand vast open oceans. There are 841 species of birds found in South Africa, which is equivalent to approximately 8% of the world’s bird species. 74% only occur in South Africa, making a visit for birders well worth it.
Birding tourism, or Avitourism is offered to many visitors where you will be taken on a tour of the country which includes the ‘hottest spots’ for bird watching. It is one of the fastest growing outdoor hobbies in the world. It combines travel, conservation and birding, a fun way to experience a safari in Africa, especially when you can spot the ‘Big 5’ as well.
The following websites offer Avitourism:
- The Zululand Birding Route
- Birding Safaris
If you are in East Africa, Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya is an excellent reserve to go on a safari and see lots of birdlife, with beautiful pink flamingos being the highlight of your trip.