Those who have a deep-seated passion for birds will find that guided bird-watching tours fulfill all of their needs and want. Some lodges and camps provide their guests with the opportunity to go on guided ornithological safaris in the surrounding area, including local reserves and national parks. The length of time spent on a bird watching safari can range anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire week.
You will have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of bird species during your safari, including some that are native to the area, rare, or at risk of extinction, thanks to the professional ornithologists who lead the excursions. During the warm season, bird watching is at its peak because this is the time of year when you have the best chance of spotting endemic species as well as migratory birds from Europe and Asia. The following is important and fascinating information regarding bird watching safaris.
What is Bird Watching?
To begin, the term “bird watching” refers to the activity of identifying and observing wild birds in the environments in which they are typically found. In addition, there are some subtle distinctions between bird watching and birding. Observing birds in their natural habitats is known as “bird watching.” On the other hand, traveling specifically to observe birds is an activity known as “birding.”
In addition to this, it fosters a connection between people and the natural world as well as the natural environment. The vast majority of individuals have already contributed financial support for; the protection of specific species of birds, which in turn helps local communities and contributes to the preservation and enhancement of wildlife protection.
Bird Watching Safari Destinations
There are so many different places to go bird watching safari in Africa, and many of them are in the most beautiful parts of southern and eastern African countries. These are some of the most amazing places in the world, and travelers shouldn’t pass them up.
1. Tanzania Bird Watching Safaris
A week’s safari in Tanzania is the best way to experience South Africa. This is also a good country to visit if you have at least 2.5 weeks. By birding in Tanzania, you can see a variety of East African endemics and nearly 20 endemics. Selous birding, Ruaha, Serengeti, Mahale, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, Gombe, Tarangire, Arusha, and Katavi are among the well-known birding destinations. You will also have the opportunity to see your first Miombo (South Central African) endemic bird species in Tanzania.
Within Tanzania, you will have the opportunity to see the country’s small and large animals, as well as the most beautiful and famous tourist sites. Some of these sites include the Serengeti with its big cats and the Annual Migration of zebras and wildebeests, the Great Rift Valley and its many Flamingo-filled lakes, the great Ngorongoro crater, and Kilimanjaro, one of the world’s most isolated massive mountains that rises straight out of the plains of wildlife below to a height of 19,341ft above sea level.
2. Bird Watching in Uganda
As you plan your birding safari in Africa, you will be able to see the majority of the bird species found there. You will have the opportunity to see the shoebill stork, Albertine rift endemics, and the green-breasted Pitta. Gorillas and chimps are among the mammals to be seen here. The country is also known for its beautiful colobus monkeys, among other things.
If you choose to spend days on safari in Uganda, you will have the opportunity to meet people who are fluent in English and friendlier than in other parts of Africa. You will have the opportunity to see the great Albertine or western rift, the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is well known for mountain gorillas, the mighty source of the Nile found at Jinja, the largest lake called Lake Victoria, and the papyrus swamps, which are well known for the Shoebill stork, which is the most monstrous bird that is placed by many authorities in its order because it is so different from any other species of bird on earth.
3. South Africa Bird Watching Tours
This is the most well-known country in Africa for first-time visitors, and it’s an amazing country with a variety of mountains, white and sand beaches, and wildlife. It is well known that the experience here is fantastic, and birders return as frequently as they can. These return despite having seen every bird species in the area. This country is so large that it takes several weeks of birding in South Africa to see these magnificent bird species. This is usually the main reason that visitors return to South Africa for birding.
This country is home to the big five (BIG 5) animals, as well as a variety of smaller mammals. These small mammals can be found in the Zulu Land Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park. If you take a two-week birding tour from Durban to Johannesburg, you will be able to see all of the mammals as well as the 400 bird species found in this area. By including the cape, you will be able to see over 150 bird species, as well as the whale and many others.
South Africa is reasonably priced, and you can bird the entire country on a self-drive tour. The country has a wide range of welcoming and comfortable Bed and Breakfast lodges and hotels. It’s best to connect with a birding tour operator in the country if you want to enjoy yourself while driving. Many itineraries on the website can help you if you like to read about the different parts of South Africa that you need to cover, and for those interested in seeing the big mammals and birds, a visit to the Kruger Escarpment area will give you the best experience ever!
4. Cameroon Birders Paradise
If you want to go birding in West Africa, Cameroon should be on your list of countries to visit because it has a diverse bird population. West Africa is known to be rougher than southern or eastern Africa, and you will find more basic accommodations; however, you are in the right place for birding. If you join a well-organized birding tour in Cameroon, you will have adequate comfort, including hot water showers. Cameroon is the best-known starting point in West Africa because you can see all of the country’s endemics, as well as the diverse West African rainforest species and many Sahelian birds. If you are a world birder, you will also want to visit the upper Guinea Forest to see more bird species.
Ghana is also the best country in West Africa to visit for birding because the local guides here have identified more birds than any other country in Africa. The country is an English-speaking country that is very simple to visit. This country is historically rich, but you will be bothered by its dominance of slave trade memories. This country is not as difficult as Cameroon, and if you want to bird in any West African country, Ghana has it all with a variety of bird species.
Gabon is another West African country that comes highly recommended. This country is home to the lowland gorilla and the Mandrills, two of West Africa’s best big mammals, as well as a wide variety of birds that are not found in Ghana or Cameroon. This country is also expensive, and those interested in wildlife chose it because it has a wide range of small and large mammals. Sao Tome and Principe, two of Africa’s richest islands known for their endemic birds, are located in Gabon’s offshore territory. There are more exciting birds to be found here than anywhere else on the planet.
5. Namibia Birding Safaris
This is also a must-see African country due to its uniqueness; it has the world’s oldest desert as well as the highest dunes in the world. These have a spectacular red color, as do the other dunes that come down the sea and the rugged desert mountains that run along the Namibian Escarpment, as well as rhinos and desert elephants. It also has one of the world’s best game parks, the Estosha National Park. This country also has a variety of bird species that are not found anywhere else in the world, and it is adjacent to Angola.
While touring Namibia, you can stop in Botswana to see the Pel’s Fishing Owl, one of Africa’s most popular birds, the Slaty Egret, an endemic species, and many other species found in the panhandle of the great Okavango Delta. You will also be close to one of the most beautiful and impressive waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls. A two-day trip to this site, either from Zimbabwe or Zambia, is well worth it and will allow you to see many birds in this area. An 18-day Namibia birding day tour will take you on an adventure through Namibia, the Okavango Delta, and Victoria Falls. Those who are interested in wildlife are welcome to visit this beautiful country, which is home to both small and large mammals.
6. Bird Watching in Ethiopia
This country is so open that watching birds is so simple, and it’s also not difficult to get a list of Ethiopian birds totaling over 550 species within three weeks of your safari. This country also has a large number of endemic species, many of which can be found in and around Addis Abeba. This country is also home to one of the last African birds thought to be extinct, the Liben (SIDAMO) Lark, which lives in a single football-sized arid grassland under pressure from cattle that overgraze, particularly during the horrendous droughts that the horn of Africa experiences. The only other species in the Liben lark genus are the Archer’s Lark, which is found in Ethiopia and is known to be extinct, and the Rudd’s Lark, which is found in South Africa and is critically endangered.
7. Madagascar Birders Hub
This island is so isolated from the rest of the African continent that any interested birder should visit it. This island is also home to many endemic mammal families, the most famous and charismatic of which are the lemurs, as well as chameleons, and other species. Birding will be enjoyable in the Baobab-dotted spiny forests, remote tropical beaches, and Tsingy’s stone forest. Bird watching in this country can be peaceful at times. The country also has fewer bird species than anywhere else; some of the birds found here include the Helmet Vanga, the ground roller, the Black and White Ruffed Lemur, and the dancing sifaka.
You will be unable to forget this experience for the rest of your life if you have these. You’ll be able to enjoy this fantastic taste of the island for days and see the majority of the island’s birds. The Long-tailed ground roller is also the name of an entire genus that is only found in a small area of southwestern Madagascar.
8. Malawi or Zambia
These two countries are relatively unknown, but they are excellent places to visit to observe the African megafauna as well as birds. In addition, South and Central Africa are home to a large number of endemic bird species, some of which are found in only a single nation. It is common knowledge that the greatest variety of bird species can be found in the African nation of Zambia. However, the countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are also recognized as offering excellent opportunities for bird watching. The shoebill stork, which is only found in Uganda and Zambia, is frequently the focus of birding tours in Zambia. In addition, the African Pitta is a highly sought-after bird, and its breeding grounds can be found in the Zambezi River catchment area, which is shared by the countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.
9. Central African Republic
The Sangha Lodge, which is located in the Central African Republic, has recently opened its doors to lowland gorilla trekkers as well as birdwatchers. If you are going to visit this country, you should be prepared to participate in the aforementioned activities. In previous years, this nation was so inaccessible; however, in the current years, the new lodge offers a safe and fair realistic alternative that is better. It should not come as a surprise that such a high number of avian discoveries are being made in this country given that it was not considered a birding destination until relatively recently. These include the Picathartes and the African piculet, in addition to a great number of other West African species that have been discovered a much greater distance to the east than was anticipated. If you go to a place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo known as the Odzala camp, which is an incredible option for a safari to take into consideration, you might also find a new bird that has not yet been described to science.
10. Kenya Birding Safaris
Bird watchers flock to Kenya at all times of the year to experience this popular activity. Kenya has the greatest variety of climates and landscapes of any country in the world, which is why it has the highest number of bird species. This nation also holds the record for the most bird species that can be observed in a single day, with over 342 different kinds of birds. In addition to this, between the months of February and October, there are a great number of migratory birds that visit the marine and inland shorelines of Kenya. This region is home to a sizable population of swallows, as well as waders and terns. During the months of June and July, the weavers and bishops are preening their breeding plumage, and a large number of migrants from southern Africa visit the country.
In addition, the national parks in Kenya are great places to go bird watching. The Maasai Mara is known for its rosy-throated long claw and its magpie shrike, while the Samburu is known for its pink-breasted lark and rare sunbird. Nairobi is also a good place to see the northern pied babbler and the great Pangani long claw. Additionally, the country is home to a large number of species that can only be found there, such as the Aberdare cisticola, the Tara river cisticola, William’s lark, the Hinde’s pied babbler, the Sharpe’s pipit, and Clarke’s weaver. Bird watching safaris in Kenya are highly rewarding due to the country’s diverse range of habitats, which provide a home to a large variety of avian species.
Benefits of Bird Watching
There are a lot of different reasons why people get into bird watching, but they’re all centered around the same idea: birds are incredibly interesting and lovely to watch. Some lives are made better by their presence; the following are some of the advantages of bird watching as well as the reasons why people engage in this activity.
1. Bird watching connects people with nature
Birds are some of the best natural world ambassadors. On all seven continents, there are approximately 10,000 species spread across countless habitats. Birds invite us to learn about them and the ecosystems they inhabit through their voices, plumage patterns, colors, and antics.
When you begin bird watching, you will begin to pay more attention to nature. Birds do not live in isolation; each species interacts with a variety of other animals and plants, as well as non-living world elements such as geologic formations and weather systems. Paying attention to birds can help you understand the interconnections between all of these things in nature.
When you get excited about seeing birds in the wild, you’ll be more motivated to get outside and explore new places. Bird watching can take you to some amazing places. You’ll see and experience countless other natural wonders along the way, and you’ll feel more connected to this beautiful planet. Some bird watchers also end up becoming a naturalist, or someone who appreciates and studies various aspects of nature.
2. Bird watching is good for health
Spending time and effort searching for and observing birds is beneficial to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Sure, if you’re running around chasing birds, you’ll be in great shape, but you don’t have to be that intense to reap the health benefits of birding.
Looking for birds gets you outside and moving in the fresh air. Even pottering around at a leisurely pace is far better for your health than sitting on your couch watching television or working at a desk for hours. You may even end up hiking to somewhat remote areas or walking for miles in search of interesting birds. Some of the most rewarding birding experiences are earned through hard work.
You can healthily stimulate your brain by becoming a bird watcher. You must train your senses and learn to notice small details. Many species’ names and habitats will stick with you. All of this keeps your neurons firing and contributes to the formation of new neural connections in your brain. People who are lifelong learners will enjoy bird watching.
Bird watching can also help your emotional well-being. It can be a very enjoyable social activity, but even if you do it alone, the gradual accumulation of experiences and knowledge can bring you happiness.
3. Bird watching can also make you have good friends
Bird watching is one of those unique activities that affords participants the chance to connect with both nature and other people. Your opening gambit is already loaded – you can talk about birds with practically any other person who enjoys doing so, regardless of your social or political background, age, gender, or ethnicity.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little someone knows about birds; the majority of people who love birds are simply content to talk about them with another person. There has never been a time when it has been simpler to meet new people; whether it’s out on a walk, at a bird reserve, online, in community groups, or on tailored tours, once that first shared step has been taken, the two people may become lifelong friends right then and there.
Birds, like all other animals, are inextricably linked to the environment in which they live; consequently, if the environment is thriving, so are the birds. The development of an interest in bird watching frequently results in the acquisition of additional knowledge regarding nature, other forms of wildlife, and the systems that exist in the world that are responsible for maintaining the health and vitality of nature. If you are unfamiliar with bird watching safari but have always been curious about it, the information that was provided above can help you improve your bird watching safari experience.