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Bird Watching in South Africa

Description

There are over 900 species of birds in southern Africa, many of which can be seen to great advantage in the more popular game viewing areas but, if you're particularly interested in birds, there are a few spots you shouldn't miss. These include the Nylsvlei Wetland, in Limpopo Province, and the wetlands of the West Coast, including Langebaan Lagoon, Rocher Pan, and Verloren Vlei. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is also home to a number of interesting waterfowl, as is Botswana's Okavango Delta, the Bangweulu Swamp in Zambia, and the wetlands near Walvis Bay in Namibia. And, if you're into seabirds, you could see lots in many places along the 3,000km coastline but Cape Town offers the greatest variety, as well as the very real chance of spotting a number of Antarctic vagrants.

If you don't want to hack it alone, there are a number of operators that offer specialised bird watching tours, where you can travel with like minded bird-brains. These are a great option as, if you visit a game reserve in a mixed group, some people might object to driving past a lion kill in order to get a good view of a pink-throated twinspot.

LINKS FOR BIRDERS

Bird Life South Africa is a good place to start. Find out about the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) project - the estimated population of the species in Southern Africa is 1322 individuals, so this species has a high probability of extinction in years to come.

African Bird Club is another useful resource for birders in South Africa or anyone planning a birdwatching trip to Africa.

African Bird Image Database has over 5500 photographs of many different species of birds taken in the African region.

Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology - Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation - research programmes and the Roberts VII project.

SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) aims to conserve and protect South Africa's sea birds, especially threatened species, for the benefit of present and future generations.

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*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

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