South African Birding Sites and Tours
South Africa Birding and Bird Tours
Avitourism – South Africa’s best bird and birding sites.
Avitourism – South Africa – birding destinations par excellence – one of the most desirable birding areas in the World.
This area offers spectacular birding diversity. Over 420 regularly species with 68 endemic species or near endemics are present in the region. The perfect area for a short birding tour and very worthwhile for birders with limited time.
Rondebult Bird Sanctuary
Mainly water birds in a series of large ponds. Kloofendal Nature Reserve – 150 ha Reserve, 30 minutes west of Johannesburg consisting of typical Highveld vegetation and rocky outcrops and ridges .Circular walking trails take you around the reserve, past a dam and a bird hide and various items of interest Birds encountered include Malachite Sun birds, Black Cuckoo shrike, Spotted eagle and Barn Owl, Lesser and Greater Honey guides, Klaas’s cuckoo, Diedericks cuckoo, Bokmakierie and Fairy flycatcher.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
excellent birding location with a bird list of over 220 species. Including a breeding pair of Verreauxs’ Eagles, African Black Duck, Cape Rock-Thrush, Half-collared Kingfisher, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Rock Kestrel, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Cape Bunting.
Blesbokspruit Nature Reserve
Key wetland system of international importance running from Kempton Park and flowing into the Vaal River. Bird list of over 250 species including substantial numbers of waterbirds. Acts as a sanctuary for many species in an extremely industrialized urban environment.
Marievale Bird Sanctuary
Part of the Blesbokspruit wetland, a modified high-altitude wetland consisting of a large pan and home to many water birds. A bird list of over 280 species including the Painted Snipe, Slaty Egret, Grass Owl, Bailons Crake, Cape Shoveller and Yellow Canary.
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
Gauteng’s largest nature reserve, 45 minutes South East of Johannesburg with a huge diversity of habitats. Over 13 000 hectares with excellent hiking trails and a bird list of over 260 species. Including Yellow-tufted Pipit, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Red-capped Lark, Black Harrier, Ground Woodpecker, Black Eagle, Red-throated Wryneck, Grey-winged and Red-winged Francolins, Orange River Francolin, Striped Pipit and Black-throated Canary.
Bull frog pan
One of the most natural and attractive looking pans in the area. Birding is quite unpredictable with no official bird list. Over 140 species can be found at different times of the year .A bonus is the appearance of the giant bullfrog after heavy rains.
Excellent site for the grey headed gull.
Korsman Bird Sanctuary
Natural pan bounded by a residential area. Good urban bird watching site.
Ezemvelo Nature Reserve and Bronkhorstspruit Dam
A 10000Ha Nature Reserve of excellent grassland habitat, riverine bush and acacia veld. A bird list of over 200 species and haven for waterfowl. Species include Buffy and Plain backed Pipits, White backed Duck, Great Crested Grebe, White-bellied Korhaan, Blue Korhaan, Orange River Francolin and Red breasted Swallow.
Dinokeng (Northeastern Gauteng)
A wide variety of grasslands and woodland habitats in five provincial nature reserves and the 12 500 ha Dinokeng Game Reserve. Dinokeng is a bird watcher’s paradise, with the highest species diversity in the country besides Zululand – Northern KwaZulu-Natal Natal.
Austin Roberts Memorial Bird Sanctuary
11 hectare bird sanctuary. Wetlands attract over 160 a birds species. A bird hide makes for excellent bird watching.
Vaalkop Dam and Borakalalo Nature Reserve Wide diversity of water, bushveld and woodland birds. 300 plus species, a high raptor count and with a summer list of 120 species.
Pilanesberg National Park One of the largest Game Parks in South Africa covering an area of 55 000 hectares with approximately 200km of well-maintained roads with the greatest variety of animals per square km in Southern Africa. All dams in the park, the largest being Mankwe dam, have hides perfectly suited for bird watching. Over 300 bird species with 120 being easily found in a summer morning tour.
Kruger National Park
Covering an area of over 20, 000 square km. Is approx 60km wide and 350km long. More than 500 bird species, 146 mammals, with more than 190 species of reptiles, fish and amphibians. Over 23000 plant species have been recorded in this conservation area. Kruger is the Flagship national game park of South Africa and a conservation area of unparalleled diversity. Graskop – through the spectacular Blyde River Canyon and panoramic route to Kruger National park.
An extensive and varied range of habitats providing a home to over of 74 bird families with an astounding bird list of over 500 species, 8 of these are endemic to the region. 85% of South Africa’s raptor species are found in this area. Drakensberg Mountain range – Awe inspiring birding setting with amazingly dramatic scenery. South Africa’s highest mountain range (3,482 metres)and most prominent geological feature stretching for some 1,000 kilometres.
The mountain range divides the coastal plain of savannah woodland from the high-lying grasslands of the interior This broad variety of habitat ensures a remarkable species diversity, with the total current bird count of over 400 species. Some 150 are common and 30 are endangered or highly endangered.
All the following sites are considered to be of South Africa’s best birding sites.
Phongola Bush Nature Reserve and Vryheid Hill Nature Reserve
This region of provides the birder with about 340 species, 50 of these endemic or near-endemic. With grasslands in the west and bushveld to the east. A large catchment area with the many wetlands and mountains, ideal birders location.
Amatikulu Nature Reserve
A 2100ha coastal reserve of forested dunes and grasslands. Situated at the convergence of the Amatikulu and Nyoni rivers and is one of the few coastal (Indian Ocean) forested reserves in South Africa. Numerous diverse habitats with a bird list of over 300 species.
Unique habitat diversity,bordering on the St. Lucia Wetland Park. These and the ability to walk within the reserve, make this a birders paradise. With a list of over 360 species, including a number of southern African endemic species and 4 east coast endemic or near-endemic species.
Dlinza Forest – Eshowe
A prime South African forest birding spot of 250ha Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park – A varied landscape and habitat diversity, with a bird list of over 360 species, with daily summer time lists of 100 birds being possible. Itala Game Reserve – Variable altitudes and diversity have resulted in an excellent range of birds.
Mkuze Game Reserve
Covering 40 000ha, Mkuze is one of Kwaulu Natal,s top birding sites. A protected area with a wide diversity of habitat, with a bird list of over 450 species.
Coastal and swamp forest, mangroves, lagoons and grasslands. All making for excellent birding opportunities.
Ndumo Game Reserve
Bordering Mozambique with the Usuthu River and also has the Pongola River flowing through the reserve. These and an extensive wetland has resulted in an amazing range of aquatic bird life. Acacia Savannah, thick bush and extensive forests have resulted in a bird list of close to 420 species. Summer lists of close to 200 species.
3900ha of stunning coastal forest stretching for about 20 km overlooking the Indian Ocean Richard’s Bay – One of South Africa’s largest estuaries and a top water bird area and an attraction to migrants down South Africa’s east Coast. In spite of increasing industrialization in the area, birding is excellent with a diverse range of habitats. A summer day can produce a bird list of 100 plus species.
St Lucia Isimangaliso Wetland Park
South Africa’s most definitive Eco-tourist experience. Covering a land area of about 240,000ha and a Marine eco system of 84,000ha – south Africa’s third largest National Park. A wetland park with exceptional species diversity. Over the course of the year over 500 different species of birds can be counted.
The Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park can be described in five recognized ecosystems.
Marine System. 280km of Indian Ocean coastline and marine eco-system. Endangered leatherback turtles return to the area year after year to lay their eggs on the beach.
Eastern Shores. lieing east of Lake St. Lucia, consisting of grassy plains, wetlands and coastal dune forests extending the full length of the reserve. These dunes form a natural barrier between the wetland and the Indian Ocean. Lake St. Lucia. Largest Estuarine system in the world.
Extensive lake with an average depth of 1 metre, 85 kilometers long, and home to numerous life forms.
Mkuze Swamps Expansive reed and papyrus wetland on the northern end of Lake St. Lucia.
Western shores. This is the driest part of the wetland park- comprising savanna and thornveld. Each of these ecosystems offering a diverse range of birds and St Lucia is an important breeding area for water birds, supporting large numbers of flamingos pelicans and storks. Summer day lists of over 100 are achievable.
Tembe Elephant Park
30000Ha reserve of thornveld ,scrub bush and sand forest habitat with a bird list of over 345.
Various habitat types but mainly includes woodlands with thorn and dune forests.
Different wildlife options available – structured around your requirements and timing to create a multi day local tour package:
- Ann van Dyk – De Wildt Cheetah Sanctuary – cheetah and wild dog experience.
- Elephant Sanctuary – an interaction tour that is compatible with wildlife conservation.
- Monkey Sanctuary – Experiencing primates in a natural environment – NO interactions with these primates.
Private – Professional – fully guided tours – 7 days a week.
Ekala Family & Guides
We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of South Africa and intimate knowledge of the tours, historically/culturally and wildlife safaris we offer. With our knowledge and experience, bringing a lifetime of experience in South Africa (and 4 generations before us) to ensure our clients capitalise best on their time and budget.
We personally conduct and organise all our tours and safaris as highly experience and professional guides.
Get an enhanced understanding of South Africa’s history and diverse cultures.
Our tours are non-invasive
Safaris are non-invasive with no wildlife interactions
Focusing on the national game parks – naturally wild.
As Kruger and Pilanesberg National Game Parks
We do not support private – commercially based “parks”
Enjoying and respecting South Africa’s national assets - wildlife, environment and the people.
An Eco Tour and Safari to remember for the right reason
Ekala’s Safaris are small group private safaris – in all-weather 4 x 4 vehicles:
Air-conditioned high view point vehicles – open as may be required – closed as may be required.
Certainly, more comfortable, practical, and suitable for year-round use including winter, rain and the changing environment and temperature during the day.
Also allowing for easier game viewing and a lot more comfortable than the large mixed group and noisy only open vehicles.
This also allows us to have an advantage of not only being able to get closer, but to be able to move the vehicle into the best position for your photography.
Also focusing on your interests and not that of the larger, mixed group
No prices on our website as we do not have set routes with set collection and drop off’s that waste a lot of your available and valuable time.
We structure our tours/safari's around our clients requirements, available time and collection and drop off requirements.
If time is limited:
We will structure the tour from arrival to departure – including airport collection and drop off.
Using all time available as a fully guided professional tour.
Not simply a point to point mixed group drive around.
We quote structured around your requirements/timing