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.

Gauteng

Johannesburg/Pretoria

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.

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.

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.

Northwest Province

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.

Mpumalanga Province

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.

KwaZulu-Natal

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.

Bonamanzi

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.

Mtunzini

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.

Ongoye Forest

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.

MKUZE

Various habitat types but mainly includes woodlands with thorn and dune forests.

Private – Professional – fully guided tours – 7 days a week.

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Ekala Family & Guides

Full or Half Day Tours

personalised historic, cultural or custom Tours.

Personised Historic Tours

including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Gold, Diamond, Gauteng Aviation and Military History.

Wildlife Safari's & Tours

Eco wildlife including Pilanesberg, Kruger National and Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Game Park.

Personised Cultural Tours

including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Alexandra Township and local Cultural Villages.

Private Transfers

including Sandton to O.R. Tambo Airport, Pretoria and Johannesburg Park Station Transfers.