Birding safari holidays in South Africa

Birding safari holidays in South Africa_Narina Trogon The narina trogon in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

South Africa is a superb bird watching 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, parrot, 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 it is outranked by iSimagaliso Wetland Park. 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 localised species include the Western Cape, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg and Pilanesberg/Madikwe.

Birding safari holidays in South Africa_Sunbird Southern double-collared sunbird in the Western Cape | Credit: Jaime MacArthur

Avian variety is greatest in the southern summer (Nov-Mar) when several resident species assume a colourful 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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Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

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Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

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Two countries in 8 days may seem like a lot but with this well thought out itinerary you will see some of the regions most iconic destinations without feeling like you are rushing through it…

 | Sabi Sand Game Reserve safari

Sabi Sand Game Reserve safari

You'll trek Africa's Big Five members in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve...

Aerial View of Sun City | Sun City & Madikwe Luxury Safari (SA 6 days)

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From Sun City's hedonistic pleasures to the majesty of nature at Madikwe Game Reserve, this journey combines the best of two very different worlds...

 | 5 Day Greater Kruger & Sabi Sands safari

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Enjoy an authentic African safari. Game viewing possibilities are unparalleled and include the Big Five in the Sabi Sands and white lions in the Timbavati Nature Reserve....

Stunning view from the Rovos Rail | Luxury South Africa (SA 11 days)

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 | South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

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 | 15-day Kruger, Cape Town, Mauritius Bush and Beach safari

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