Make sure these 4 scenic South African birding spots are on your list this year.
Words: Jazz Kuschke
Southern African BirdFinder – Where to find 1400 bird species in southern Africa and Madagascar by Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode and Jonathan Rossouw (Struik, 2006) has been hailed, over and over, has one of the most valuable and useful birding tools for any South African twitcher.
Now a decade in print, it remains the default reference to consult in terms of location, and what to expect there.
Here are a few snippets from the book to help you plan your next twitch as well as some articles by our regular contributors on birding and other activities in the various areas.
West Coast National Park
The West Coast National Park is best known for the large numbers of migrant waders that crowd the mudflats during summer. These can be easily observed from the well-positioned bird hides, offering local birders an excellent chance of finding rarities.
READ MORE: West Coast birding spots
Karoo National Park
The mountainous Karoo National Park near the regional centre of Beaufort West (five hours’ drive on the N1 from Cape Town), provides a representative cross-section of Karoo birding. Apart from being a very worthwhile birding destination, it serves as an excellent stage post en route from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve
This reserve, adjacent to Yellowwood Park in southern Durban, protects a rich mosaic of coastal forest and grassland, and is one of the city’s most popular birding venues.
READ MORE: Durban’s top 10 hikes
Kgaswane Mountain Reserve
Kgaswane Mountain Reserve (Rustenburg Nature Reserve) is an accessible Magaliesberg site in a pristine setting. Specials include Sentinel Rock-Thrush (winter) Red-winged Francolin, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cape Eagle-Owl, Freckled Nightjar, African Black Swift and Striped Pipit, as well as a host of raptors including Verreaux’s Eagle, Cape Vulture and Jackal Buzzard.
READ MORE: Exploring the mighty Magaliesberg
Southern African BirdFinder – Where to find 1400 bird species in southern Africa and Madagascar is available through www.exclusivebooks.co.za for R313