4 birding spots to try this year

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

Birding spots - the West Coast National Park
A view to die for at the West Coast National Park. Photo: Fiona McIntosh

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

Birding spots - the Karoo National Park
Capturing the beauty of birds in the Karoo. Photo: SANParks

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.

READ MORE: Peter Chadwick’s top 10 birds to spot in the Karoo National Park

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Birding spots - Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve
Birds and other wildlife can be spotted at the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve. Photo: Shaen Adey

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

Birding spots - Kgaswane Mountain Reserve
A birding hot spot just outside of Johannesburg. Photo: Leon Marshall and Kevin Gill

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


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