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Avitourism in South Africa

Our country has so much to offer visitors but apart from a wonderful climate, unrivalled scenic beauty, excellent wines and a fascinating diversity of cultures, landscapes, flora and fauna, our abundant bird life is rich and varied and attracts more and more avitourists each year. We have a remarkable 841 bird species in South Africa, which is around 8% of the world's bird species. Seventy-four of these species are endemic to South Africa, which means they do not occur naturally anywhere else in the world.

Local 'twitchers' already know just how fantastic a destination SA is for bird lovers - the well-known NGO BirdLife South Africahas over 40 bird clubs listed - but in recent times we've seen a major upsurge in new and return visits from international avitourists.

In recognition of the fact, we will be looking at the top birding sites in each of the South African provinces, and at Portfolio establishments where you can enjoy luxury or comfortable accommodation close to excellent birding destinations.

Birding Lingo

In a recent article in Horizon magazine the following 'birding lingo' phrases were descibed - helpful for novice twitchers:

  • Life list: A list of all birds spotted in a birder's life
  • Ticker: A birder whose primary goal is to compile a great life list
  • Twitcher: a birder who travels long distances to view rare birds
  • Migrant: a bird that moves, seasonally, from one location to another
  • Rarity: A bird species seldom recorded in a particular region
  • Vagrant: An individual bird spotted outside its known habitat

More about bird watching in South Africa

  • To find out all about the many bird species that can be seen in South Africa check out Roberts Online Guidewhich features. The texts are illustrated with artwork, distribution maps, bird sound sonograms, and over 25 000 photos contributed by 150 photographers.
  • If you wish to book a registered tour guide who is experienced in bird watching tours, visit Birdlife South Africa for their comprehensive list of recommended avitourism guides.