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Beginner’s Guide to Bird Watching in SA

Twitching seems easy, but there’s a lot more to it than pointing at a pigeon. Luckily, it’s an easy hobby to start.

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Once you get started, however, it’s hard not to fall in love with this interesting, adventurous hobby. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about doing a Big Year.

Here’s a list of the 5 things you’ll need if you’re considering bird watching as a hobby.

1. Binoculars

Buying binoculars can be tricky because you don’t want to get a cheap pair that you can’t see anything out of, or an expensive pair that is way more powerful than you’ll ever need.

As a good rule of thumb, don’t spend more than R1500, unless you get serious about twitching. Then you can revisit the binocular issue. Until then, a basic but decent pair should do just fine.


2. Bird guide

It’s worth investing in a good bird guide if only to tell you where you can find the decent bird watching spots in South Africa.

A good guide will also help you identify what you’ve seen and provide you with some interesting facts, but, as you’ll see further on, there are more modern ways of doing that.

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3. Camera

Not an absolute necessity, but a nice-to-have if you want to show your friends and family what you’ve seen. Take a really nice shot, and you can enter our Image Club competition.

4. Notepad

Worth having with you if you liking making interesting notes on your travels. Phones are nice, but they tend to go flat after a while. Paper may be outdated, but it won’t ever go flat on you. notepad

5. Apps

It can be tricky to find a bird amongst hundreds of others in a book, so why not have your phone go through all the trouble for you.

There are loads of identification apps out there and some of them work whether you’re connected to the internet or not.

A word of caution – the better apps are pricey but definitely worth investing in.

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