Although there are some hardcore birdwatchers out there, it’s fair to say that birds are not usually top of the list when it comes to what the majority of people most want to see on safari. However, it is hard not to become fascinated by Africa’s birdlife; the sheer diversity of species, sizes and colours is astounding and varies between locations. Furthermore, even on days when there is scarce big game to be seen, there are always birds to watch.
From the elusive shoebill and graceful flamingos, to vibrant bee-eaters and gigantic ostrich, there are plenty of weird and wonderful species to see. There are also several destinations in Safari Africa that lend themselves to fabulous birdwatching in particular.
Tanzania has one of the highest number of species anywhere in Africa and is therefore a good option for a trainee twitcher as new species can be spotted throughout your trip. From the plains of the Serengeti, rich with huge raptors, to the woodlands of the Selous and Ruaha and Lake Manyara with its resident flamingos, the varied habitats really increase the species count.
Zambia is another hotspot for birders, its highlights being the shoebill, which can be relatively easily seen in the northern swamps (as well as in Uganda), and the Luangwa’s seasonal migrations of striking carmine bee-eaters and elegant crowned cranes.
Botswana’s Okavango Delta is a beautiful game area but is also renowned for birdwatching. Its patchwork of wet and dry areas provides habitats for a number of rare species, as well as iridescent sunbirds and starlings that will catch any eye. Malachite and woodland kingfishers are also a particular treat to see. The Makgadikgadi Pans area is dry and arid for most of the year, but following the rainy season, when the salt pans fill with water, a huge number of species, including waders and breeding flamingos, is attracted to the area.
Namibia also provides some great birdwatching opportunities, especially seabird species along the coast.
Whether you are looking for a specialist birdwatching trip or would just like to consider birds when choosing your safari itinerary, please get in touch and we’ll be able to advise you.