Birding – for keen bird watchers (as opposed to ‘twitchers’, Africa is a paradise waiting to be discovered. With its vast range of biomes, from desert through to tropical rain-forest supporting a huge number of bird species. Endemics such as the Pel’s fishing owl, the African skimmer, southern ground hornbill and wattled crane can be seen all year round. They’re joined, at certain times of the year – usual over our winter months (November to February), by the influx of huge flocks of migratory birds such as carmine bee-eaters and lilian love-birds.
Botswana, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe all offer their visitors a chance to see about 600 bird species but these are overshadowed by Zambia with almost 750 species in total, but only one true endemic – the Chaplin’s barbet.
For those who would like to focus on the bird-life specialist guides and private vehicles can be arranged, whilst hides allow for a gentle day to be passed with a picnic and a bottle of wine (other tipples are available).
Top Tips for Birding
- if you’re new to Birding, the you’ll need some specific equipment – good binoculars are essential and it recommend that you get lenses of 8 x 42 or better.
- a Newman’s birding guide is also an essential piece of kit – your specialist ranger will almost certainly have a copy with him, but it’s always best to have your own copy.
- may lodge operators provide a species guide for completion so you can keep a record of what you’ve seen. But when out and about simply write down what you have seen and complete your check-list later. It’s much easier – trust me.
- Don’t forget that just as Africa is not solely about the Big 5, it is not just about the birds; getting a balance will make your safari a rounded experience. Again – trust me.