Top 10 Birdwatching Vacations in Africa and the Middle East
Africa’s big mammal parks are also home to incredible species of birds. You can see ostrich, vultures, buzzards, cranes, flamingos and owls in the wetlands, parks, rivers and islands of the continent. There are also great opportunities for seeing Pelagic birds off South Africa.
- Kruger National Park, South Africa
While renowned as the place to see the Big Five of the mammal kingdom it is also home to 500 species of birds. You can see vultures, owls, bee-eaters, rollers, eagles, buzzards, hornbills, starlings and shrikes to name just a few.
- Okavango Delta, Botswana
Divide your birding time here between boats and open 4x4s. Birdlife here comes on a platter. There are parades of egrets, herons, storks, ibises, kingfishers, African Pygmy-goose, lesser jacana, wattled cranes and even owls in the wetlands. Then head to the marshy fringes and woodlands for ostrich, vultures, starlings and sand grouse.
- Djoudj Bird Sanctuary, Senegal
This enormous wetland in the Senegal River delta is famous amongst twitchers. Some 1.5 million birds live in the lake and surrounding streams, ponds and backwaters. They include the white pelican, purple heron, African spoonbill, great egret and cormorant.
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
A jewel of the South African coastline with swamps, lakes, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands and coastal forests supporting 530 species of birds including literally tens of thousands of greater and less flamingoes and ducks.
- Pelagic boat trips, Cape Town
Hundreds of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters congregate off the coast of Cape Town thanks to a current that brings rich nutrients and plankton. This allows excellent feeding for pelagic fish and a great feeding source for pelagic birds. It is not uncommon to see thousands of seabirds hanging around a trawler feasting on the discarded waste.
Journey along the warm Atlantic coast to take in top birding in the varied wetlands and forests. Then turn into the Gambia river in search of Egyptian plover, Senegal parrots, bee eaters and hornbills. There are up to 300 species in this safe African nation; a good first choice for a visit to the continent.
- Lake Malawi, Malawi
Lake Malawi is Africa’s third largest lake and has no contenders as its most beautiful. There is a high concentration of wetland birds and the marshes are a home for jacanas, ibises, egrets and many more. While kingfishers, cormorants, fish eagles, herons and the black eagles are a great attraction to see as they dive or swoop down for a catch.
- Comoro Islands and Madagascar
Head out into the Indian Ocean to the Comoro Island archipelago and Madagascar not only for the world famous lemurs, but an amazing amount of endemic birds. More than half of the 250 plus bird species found here are endemic. And there are five families of birds found only here: the mesites, the monotypic Cuckoo-Roller, the ground-rollers, the asities and the vangas.
This seemingly forgotten group of 115 islands lies right in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 932 miles from Africa. The archipelago nurtures unique species of flora and fauna including 12 unique species of birds. It might not seem a lot but some of these are the rarest in the world.
- Lake Baringo, Kenya
Take in the views of the Rift Valley and revel in the birdlife that is remarkable for its sheer variety. There are 470 recorded species found here including fish eagles, owls, hornbills, darters and storks.