Map of Destinations for Africa

Birding Africa

Africa has an immense scope and diversity, so trying to characterize it as a whole is a fool's errand. Roughly, Africa’s big megafauna, including “the Big 5,” (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) are best seen in the drier and more open parts of the continent, from southern Africa (especially South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) through Zambia and Malawi (two of the continent’s best-kept secrets), eventually to East Africa – where Tanzania and Kenya are often regarded as quintessential Africa. The planet’s most famous game parks are located in this big tract of Africa – Selous, the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, Etosha, Kruger, South Luangwa and others, even the smallest of which are at least the size of a small European country such as Belgium.

Many of these game parks are not only infested with animals, but are also spectacularly rich in birds – for example, Kruger has 500 species and most of these are in your face and very easy to see in addition to being brightly colored or spectacular – storks, rollers, bee-eaters, barbets and other beauties. And on a month-long East African birding tour, one can see ukp to 900 bird species! That, in addition to the iconic African mammals and the amazing atmosphere of Africa – villages, the sound of African drums, markets and super-friendly people – make for an unforgettable experience.

Unlike South and East Africa, much of Central and West Africa (for example Uganda, Gabon, Cameroon and Ghana) is forested, with less scope for seeing megafauna and with birds hiding more.

But, these parts of Africa are nevertheless essential to visit at some stage or another, not only for some of the most diverse birding on the continent (including lots of endemics such as the two fabled Picathartes species, an entire bird family endemic to West Africa), but also for gorillas, chimpanzees, mandrills and other forest-dwelling great apes. With luck, you might also encounter other mammals in the African rainforests of West and Central Africa, including spectacular but rarely seen beasts like red river hog and golden cat.

Then there are special countries such as Ethiopia and Madagascar. These destinations are so unique that they are, simply, unlike anywhere else in the world. Ethiopia, “the Roof of Africa,” with its spectacular plateaus, peaks and ruins dating to Biblical times, boasts the charismatic Simian wolf and the second highest number of bird endemics on the continent (beaten only by South Africa).

Birding Destinations in Africa

Rwanda

Rwanda

Rwanda is arguably the best country in which to find most of the Albertine Rift Endemics, and Nyungwe Forest Reserve holds 25 of these including the much sought-after Red-collared Babbler which can only be seen in other countries at some personal risk! And for mammal enthusiasts it has a number of impressive primates.
Botswana

Botswana

From the rich waterways of the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world, to the desolate Kalahari and the primeval sandstone and Baobab country in the Northern Tuli region, Botswana will be the highlight in the travels of any wildlife enthusiast.
Kenya

Kenya

Kenya is one of the best-known African countries, and has one of the richest avifaunas on the continent, with around 1,090 bird species recorded, of which at least eight are national endemics. It is possible to see well over a half of these birds without undue effort within three or four weeks.
Madagascar

Madagascar

Madagascar is known as “The Eighth Continent” largely because its birds, animals and plants are absolutely nothing like those of any of the other seven continents and presents travelers with an “other-worldly” experience. Over 70% of the 250,000 wildlife species in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world. The same is true of the birds, with over 100 endemic species (or just half the total number of species).
Morocco

Morocco

Morocco is a great crossing point for migrant birds and is only 8 miles from Spain - across the Strait of Gibraltar. If you time your visit just right you can experience the spectacle of hundreds of migrating raptors spiraling up high to use the thermals to cross the water. But this is a country of contrasts – with the high Atlas Mountains and Africa’s highest ski resort, down to the deserts and coastline.
Namibia

Namibia

From the blinding white salt pan in Etosha, where Elephants caked in the white dust loom large in a flat and almost limitless landscape, to the mist shrouded dunes of the Namib Desert where beetles point their posteriors into the air to catch water droplets, this land of earthy hues is a veritable wonderland for the birder, natural history enthusiast and avid landscape photographer. Coupled with good value for money, Namibia is one of Africa’s quintessential wildlife destinations.
Uganda

Uganda

At only half the size of Kenya, Uganda’s staggering bird diversity—1078 species—exemplifies the notion that “good things come in small packages.” This huge bird count results from three coalescing circumstances: the meeting of East and West African avifauna; regional endemism; and concentrated habitat diversity.
São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe

The seldom-visited islands of São Tomé & Príncipe are not only gorgeous, but a great place to have a relaxing island vacation while picking up 28 species of endemic birds, such as the São Tomé Shorttail, Dohrn’s Thrush-Babbler, and São Tomé Paradise Flycatcher.
Swaziland

Swaziland

Despite its small size Swaziland is a fairly diverse country, due to the range of altitudes and varied topography, and it has a bird list greater than that of the Kruger National Park.
Seychelles

Seychelles

The Republic of the Seychelles consists of over 115 Indian Ocean Islands. White (Fairy) Tern is one of the Seychelles’ charismatic species, and visiting colonies of other seabird species (largely on the smaller islands of the Seychelles) is highly recommended. The archipelago also boasts a tiny endemic owl, Seychelles Scops Owl, which is Endangered. The Critically Endangered Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher is also much sought after.
South Africa

South Africa

South Africa is one of those few destinations that “has it all” - abundant wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, great road networks, stunning accommodations, vibrant culture and of course, great birding.
Zambia

Zambia

Impressive only begins to describe this all but unexplored African landscape. Though not as heavily traveled as some other south Africa nations, Zambia is a relatively safe, easily accessible destination that offers plenty of opportunities for view birds and charismatic mega fauna.
Ethiopia

Ethiopia

With its multitude of habitats Ethiopia is home to more than 800 species of birds, 29 of which are endemic to here or neighboring Eritrea. It is also home to the Ethiopian Wolf, one of the world's rarest canids, and Africa's most endangered carnivore.