by Ed Yourdon
Bird Watching in Africa – A Different Type of Safari Adventure
Although bird watching is an activity that can be done virtually anywhere on the planet, Africa remains one of the most popular destinations on the planet for a bird watch adventure. Specifically, there is a substantial portion of the tourism industry in Southern Africa that is meeting the needs of bird watching in Africa. Service providers recognize the needs and desires of bird enthusiasts and create safaris and adventures designed with the serious bird watcher in mind.
What Region is Best?
Bird Watching in Africa is also popular on the Eastern portion of the continent. The bulk of the tourism is in the South, but a larger number of species exist in the Eastern nations of Kenya and Tanzania than anywhere else. Boasting over 1300 species, bird watchers in Eastern Africa have the opportunity to see 15% of the world’s bird population in one trip. While the number is not so striking in the South, it is still substantial at 920 species. This equates to about 10% of the world’s known species.
The nations that make up the Southern bird watch areas are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. South Africa specifically provides a number of government sponsored parks and reserves where avian life is abundant. Any birder who is interested in researching bird watching in Africa should be sure to look at Kruger National Park, Ndumu Game Reserve, Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, West Coast National Park, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. These locations provide prime habitat for many of the countries’ 900 species of birds, and ensure that your trip will include many varieties of bird watching opportunities.
When considering East Africa for bird watching, Kenya provides a diverse range of opportunities. From the Central Highlands, which are heavily forested, to the lower lying lakes region, Kenya is a haven for many of Eastern Africa’s bird species. When considering Kenya, be sure to check out Aberdare National Park, Amboseli National Park, Lake Baringo, Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Mount Kenya National Park and the Kakamego Forest Reserve. Several of these parks also serve as the home to various species of primates that are sure to attract your attention as you keep your binoculars turned towards the trees searching for birds.
Make the Most of this Incredible Bird Watching Destination
As with any major investment, make sure that you know what you are getting before you put any money on the table to go bird watching in Africa. There are a large number of service providers who will be competing for your business, and you should make sure that you are getting exactly what you want. Research the outfitter you choose. Read reviews and don’t be afraid to talk to other people who have used them. Do whatever is necessary to ensure that you get the most out of every precious dollar that you lay down for this once in a lifetime trip.