Bird watching in Southern Africa

Southern Africa is full of life and colors—a region that features flora and fauna that’s so diverse. This area is composed of countries, namely Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland (Eswatini), South Africa, and some parts of Mozambique. It is home to numerous animals and species, making it an ideal place to savor the experience of wildlife. Also, it boasts more than 950 bird species (98 of which are categorized as endemic).

It is no wonder how southern Africa became home to a lot of bird species. The region has a lot of incredible, unique habitats, ranging from arid zones to grasslands and lush forests—it all offers itself a refuge to a wide array of bird species.

If you fancy going on a birdwatching trip, the southern African region has got to be the best place to be! So, if you are interested to know more, read further to know what countries or areas best suit your birding interests.

Bird watching in Botswana

Botswana offers a range of birding habitats, especially in the northern region—the arid Kalahari Desert and the swampy inland delta of Okavango. The latter was deemed as one of the best bird watching destinations in the entire continent, with more than 500 recorded bird species to see in the vast habitat. Anytime is a good time to go bird watching, but it is highly recommended to go from October to April (after the rainy season) to see migrant birds. In Okavango, you’ll be able to see bird species such as Slaty Egrets, Wattled Cranes, and Lesser Jacanas.

Other birdwatching spots in Botswana include the following:

  • Chief’s Camp
  • Chitabe Lediba
  • Chobe Under Canvas
  • DumaTau Camp
  • Jacana Camp

Bird watching in Namibia

Like in Botswana, the best period to go bird watching is after the rainy season, where various migrants visit the country. Situated in southwest Africa (near the Atlantic Ocean, the country is rich in cold wetlands, thus making an excellent refuge for coastal birds. If you want to go bird watching in Namibia during the early months of the year, start with Etosha National Park. In here, you will see common coastal birds such as Blue Cranes and Flamingos. Caprivi Strip is an exciting destination, too. This is where the dry areas of Kalahari, swamps of Okavango and Linyanti Rivers are situated.

Other bird watching spots in Namibia include the following:

  • Erongo Wilderness Lodge
  • Ichingo Chobe River Lodge
  • Kazile Island Lodge
  • Walvis Bay
  • Jackalberry Tented Camp

Bird watching in South Africa

South Africa is home to a lot of wildlife parks that you can visit. For instance, the Kruger National Park, where people delight at the sight of numerous animals such as the Big Five and over 500 bird species. Kori Bustards, Martial Eagles, Lappet-faced Vultures, Saddle-billed Storks, and Ground Hornbills are some of the birds that you can spot in this wildlife park.

If you fancy big coastal birds, head to Cape Coast where you will find birds such as Black-browed Albatrosses, Norther Royal Albatrosses, and Antarctic Prions. Summertime is the best time to see Phalaropes, Shearwaters, Skuas, and African Penguins.

Other bird watching spots in South Africa include the following:

  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Mkhuze Game Reserve

Bird watching in Zimbabwe

This country has not many endemic birds, but it still makes a perfect destination to go bird watching. The most suitable time to go bird watching is between October to March, when food for birds and migrants are plentiful and where the breeding season for most bird species is at its peak.

There is an average of 700 bird species that you can spot in Zimbabwe, including the rare African/Angola Pitta and the Taita Falcon. Nyanga National Park is a great starting point for first-time tourists. This features more than 300 bird species, including the rarest kinds you can find in the country. In here, you can spot Vulnerable Blue Swallows and Livingstone’s Turacos. The lush environment of Victoria Falls National Park also serves as a great destination if you want to bask in the beauty of flora and fauna—a fascinating experience of two worlds in one place.

Other bird watching spots in Zimbabwe include the following:

  • Hwange National Park
  • Mana Pools National Park
  • Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge
  • Little Vundu
  • Musango Safari Camp

These are some of the most notable wildlife parks where you can watch southern Africa’s beautiful birds fly and thrive. Consequently, there are areas in Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique where you can go bird watching, too! Lesotho Highlands and Bazaruto Archipelago are fascinating bird watching destinations as well. Make sure to include any of the destinations discussed in your itinerary to have a fun-filled bird watching experience!


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