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Birding Safari Holidays in South Africa

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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Birding Safari Holidays in South Africa

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By Andre Van Kets

Co-founder, Discover Africa

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Birding safari holidays in South Africa_Narina Trogon

The narina trogon in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

South Africa is a superb birding safari destination. The national checklist comprises around 840 species, and includes the world’s largest bird (ostrich) and what is reputedly its bulkiest flying species (kori bustard) along with a dazzling variety of birds of prey, ranging from the largely terrestrial Secretary bird to the charismatic African fish eagle and macabre Lappet-faced vulture.

It also supports a dazzling array of colourful bee-eaters, turacos, parrots, rollers, and waxbills.

Birding safari holidays in South Africa_Kori Bustard A kori bustard in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

There are several sites in South Africa where a moderately skilled birder could tick 100 species in a day. Foremost among these – and an excellent overall introduction to African birds – is the Kruger National Park, though some would argue that iSimangaliso Wetland Park outranks it. But rewarding birdwatching can be enjoyed anywhere in South Africa, even in the suburbs of Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Of particular interest to visiting birders are the 35 species more-or-less endemic to South Africa (some have a range extending into the small bordering kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho) and several other near-endemics with a range that extends a small way into Namibia and/or Botswana. Good sites for these localized species include the Western Cape, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, and Pilanesberg/Madikwe.

Southern double collard sunbird sighting. Southern double-collared sunbird in the Western Cape | Credit: Jaime MacArthur

Avian variety is most significant in the southern summer (November-March) when several resident species assume a colorful breeding plumage and dozens of migrant species arrive from Europe or elsewhere in Africa. Several good regional field guides can be bought at any decent bookshop in South Africa.

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What Our Guests Have to Say?

Read recent reviews from travellers who have planned and booked their trips with us
An amazing week in Kruger organised by Discover Africa!

6 Day Kruger National Park Safari Review

Reuben, Malta
19 Sep 2023
Highly experienced, knowledgeable, polite, responsive, honest Safari tour operator.

Mala Mala Game Reserve & Cape Town Safari Review

Avi, United States
05 Jan 2023
Great organization, easy to reach, all around great experience.

Kruger National Park Tour Review

Jasmin, Switzerland
25 Nov 2022
Susan is amazing! she LISTENED to provide us with the experience we...

Botswana & Victoria Falls Safari Review

Xenia, United States
11 Nov 2022
Many thanks Adelle for your precious help!

Timbavati & Sabi Sands Safari Review

Donald, Canada
01 Nov 2022
Megan was phenomenal. Always responded to every question we had

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Pramila, United States
14 Aug 2022

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