The Best Birding Holidays
There is no one right way to approach a birding holiday. It all depends on you and how you want to do it.
- The favourite way is a small group tour. You can join a pre-scheduled tour group - there are several options and we can advise on which would suit you best - or we can put a small group tour together for your own group.
- A group tour can last anything from a week to a month.
- You can have your own private tailor made guided tour for as long as you like in any part of the country, with your own expert guide.
- You can do a self-drive tour focussed on the best birding sites - we can suggest where to go, book the accommodation and a vehicle and make sure you know where to go and where not to go.
- You can spend a half day, or a day or two as part of a holiday to the country as a whole or to a specific part of it, such as Cape Town, the Garden Route or KwaZulu-Natal.
- You can do whatever you would like to - we will tailor make a package specifically for you.
Whatever your preferences and whatever your budget, we can arrange this for you, ensuring that you get the best service and the best deals.
Having lived in South Africa for 50 years and enjoyed birding in most parts of it during that time, we know the best places to go and how to get to them safely. With the resources and buying power of the Hays group we can make sure that you go at the best prices with the best people. As a UK company we give you the security of ABTA and ATOL protection, and the convenience of being on hand to help and advise you.
So contact us today to start the planning process!
The Best Birding Holiday Options
Whether you want to be by yourself with your binoculars, your bird book and your list in an exclusive private nature reserve, or whether you prefer to do a walking tour with a like minded group under the leadership of an expert local ornithologist, we can help you find find exactly the right option for you.
With an extraordinary range of habitats, from the Cape Floral Kingdom to the sub-tropical forest, via desert or thorn scrub, the variety of birds to be seen in South Africa is phenomenal. The Roberts Bird Guide (which some of us regard as the leading authority - my oldest edition has sightings from 1979 scrawled in the margins!) lists over 950 species in Southern Africa, which is 50% more than in the whole of Europe.
Of course in the ideal world you would want to see the whole country, and we can certainly arrange that for you, but if your time is more constrained there are different areas that you could concentrate on.
Cape Town is a fantastic destination in all respects. There is so much to do there, and it is just so beautiful.
It is also a great birding destination. Definitely the best starting point for pelagic birding, it also has the several excellent areas for terrestrial birding.
The Cape Town Birding page covers the area around the Cape Peninsula and an easy day trip from the city.
The Arid Central and Western Region
To the west and north of Cape Town is a vast area of semi-arid and arid eco-systems, covering the west coast areas, the Karoo and, further north, the Kalahari desert with the wonderful Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Although the distances to cover are greater, this is some of the most rewarding country for birding, and the dry desert dunes or treed dry river beds are especially exciting for those of us used to the more densely populated and intensively used countryside in the UK.
The South and East
The area to the east of Cape Town, starting with the Garden Route and the forested coastal areas, and extending through the Eastern Cape thicket areas, and up to the Wild Coast, is the most ecologically diverse part of the country, with seven different biomes to be experienced. In some places they can all be experienced within an easy day's trip.
With wonderful provincial and national parks, and a wide range of private reserves, as well as many options for dedicated birding tours, the options in this area are almost unlimited.
The Sub-Tropical Coastal Area
North of Durban the climate is warmer and wetter and the vegetation changes to bush and sub-tropical forest. This creates habitat for a whole different set of species.
Again, with superb provincial parks and private game reserves there are lots of options for self-guided birding, and also plenty of guided birding tours available.
The central highland part of the country, from the Free State, through the densely populated Gauteng and up to the northern border, with its cold dry winters and summer rainfall, also provides habitat for many avian species. This area includes the beautiful Drakensberg mountain range, with spectacular birds of its own.
The many birders who live in Johannesburg take particular pride in the number of birds to be found within the metropolitan area, but there are also many wild areas and game reserves where the habitat is protected.
As in the case of game viewing, the Lowveld (lowland) areas of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, with the flagship Kruger National Park, provide the highest concentration of birding opportunities, both in the formal public and private game reserves and through exceptional birding safaris.
Whatever your specific birding interest it is, and whether you would like to combine it with a visit to Cape Town, the Garden Route, a safari, a glorious beach holiday or a cultural or historical exploration of Johannesburg and Pretoria, we can help you put together the best possible holiday.
Place an enquiry and we will get back to you straight away for a no-obligation discussion about your plans!