South Africa found in the southern part of Africa is one of the largest countries in Africa and it is also as the best destination for every birder fanatic as it has a lot of different bird species that are a great sight to see for both the local and tourists who come to visit South Africa.
South Africa has a wide range of bird habitats and some of these include the many wetlands, lakes and rivers, the sea, the grasslands, the forests and cliff stones riverine forest. All these make it easy for the South African birds to breed easily and look after each other and they also offer a good spot place for watching the different birds.
South Africa is also known to have 10 percent of the bird species population in the world and once you visit you will be able to tell the different characteristics of birds and enjoy the modernized trails that you can use when you go for birding.
There are several birds that can be seen when one visits this awesome country and some of these include the ones listed below:
- The Agulhas Bank
- The blue crane
- Guinea fowl
- lesser and greater flamingos
- African Jacana
- The secretary bird.
What you really need before going for birding
There are several things that are needed when one goes for birding in South Africa and these are a few basic things that you will need once you set off for this journey and a few of them are listed below:
- A camera
A camera helps you keep record of all the birds that you have seen during birding and they also help you to compare the birds that are found in the forests and those that you find in the books. Therefore you will very much need the camera when you go for birding.
Identification books help you to identify which type of bird you are seeing at the moment. Many birds have the same features and this book helps you to identify and differentiate them easily.
- Identification books
Identification books can be sold in book stores and these have information and pictures of the different bird species that are found South Africa and they also help you to identify the bird species, their different habitants and their characteristics that each one has. So it is needed when one goes for birding.
Birds are a very good sight especially when you see them in large numbers but you should note that birds are one of the most elusive creatures and they shy away from being watched. Therefore if you want to see the birds, you will need to buy binoculars which can be adjusted and make you feel like you are bird viewing the birds up close using them.
- Portable voice recorders
The portable voice recorders help in recording the different sound voices that the birds make. It should be noted that some birds are easily identified due to the sounds and call signs that they make. A portable recording device helps to identify the different birds easily.
- food and water
Food and water are one of the most important things for birders. Most of the birding processes are done in the wild and remote areas since the birds tend to stay away from people as much as possible. Therefore you need to carry enough snacks and water so that you do not get hungry when birding.
- insect repellant
These birds are found in forests and grasslands which are breeding habitats for many insects especially mosquitoes. So in order for you to enjoy birding with less hustle from the insects carry insects repellant to enjoy birding without interruptions.
- Proper clothes
These can be bought in the different shops around South Africa and the place where you are going to bird watch from will highly determine the clothes that you will be wearing when birding. If you are going to bird watch from the sea during winter you will need to get warm clothes that are a bit warm and if you are going to the different forests you will need to put on
- The hides
The hides help you to approach the shy birds without being easily spotted. There are several birds that fly away once they realize they are being watched or if one is approaching them and this is where a hide comes into the picture.
The different birding destinations in South Africa
South Africa has a lot of bird destinations since it is known as the best birding spot in Africa and these birding destinations have different bird species that one can see. Grab a paper and pen and write down the best destinations. Some of the Best birding spot destinations include the following listed below:
The Kruger National Park
Most of the bird sightings in Kruger National Park are rare sightings and these are estimated to be like 20% as some of them are migrant birds and others are just elusive. There are more than 500 birds in this park and most of them live in the different habitats like the trees, grasslands and wetlands.
The best time to visit to visit this park is between October and March as this is the time when migrant birds come into the park and increase the number of bird sightings in the Kruger National Park. The different bird species found in Kruger include the Red Headed Weaver, Violet backed starling, African Green Pigeon, Crested barbet, Blur waxbill, Black headed Oriole, Violet backed starling, Southern Carminee Bee-eater, Lilac- breasted Roller, Woodland kingfisher and the red headed weaver.
Mkhuze Game Reserve
This is one of the top birding spots to visit while one is in South Africa and it forms the North western spur, Isimingangalo wetland which is a well known world heritage.
Mkhuze Game reserve has over 450 different bird species and a top spot for every birder to visit since it even has three hides which are extremely ideal when it comes to bird watching. In this Game reserve offers tour guides who help you to differentiate the different bird species and they can take you through the easiest birding routes.
The different bird habitants found in the game reserve are the riverine forests, savannah mixed woodland, the rocky cliffs and grasslands and the different bird species that can be viewed when one goes birding in this game reserve include the Blue mantled Crested-Flycatcher, pink-throated twinspot, Neergaard’s sunbird and the Pel’s fishing owl, southern banded snake Eagles and Broad billed rollers.
Isimangaliso Wetland Park
The park has over 500 bird species including 40,000 lesser flamingos and 20,000 Greater flamingos. The wetland is known to be the highest breeding place for birds in South Africa. The different bird species can be found in their different habitats and some of these included the following:
The flooded wetlands have bird species like the short tailed pipit, African pygmy goose, pale crowned Cisticola, Rosy throated longclaws and the black rumped Buttonquail.
The coastal forests have bird species include the pink throated twinspots, Mangrove kingfishers Pel’s fishing owl, Neergaard’s Sunbird, the yellow billed stork, African jacana, yellow billed duck, cape shoveler, African spoon bill, Great white pelican, Whiskered Tern, pink backed pelican and the African fish Eagle.
The Pelagic birding
This can be one at the south Western Cape coastline and it is known as the best area to do birding from in the whole world. The Banguela currents carry a lot of nutrients that the different bird species feed on and most birders go to this place to view the birds as well as they enjoy the cool breeze.
The different types of bird species that can be seen include the Albatrosses, the Terns and Cormorants, the gannets, petrels and the shearwaters and the bird species include the Skimmers, Terns, sea ducks, pelicans, gulls, Cormorants and the skuas. And the best time to visit is during the winter months.
Kristenbosch Botanical Gardens
These are located on the Table Mountain which is a good tourist attraction site in South Africa and is located in the western part of the country. The different bird species that can be seen here include the cape Batis, orange breasted birds, Sothern Boubou, doves, typicalowls, woodpeckers, ducks, pheasants, ibises, typical owls, hawks, swans, Eagles, geese, Grouse, turkeys, partridges and the Cape spurfowl.
You can also be sure to see the cape siskin if you travel through the skeleton gorge and other rare endemic bird species that are found in South Africa. You can also be sure to enjoy a great meal from the restaurant at Table Mountains after long hours of birding in the sun.