South America, with far more species than any other landmass, is without a doubt “the bird continent”. But Africa is “the birding continent”, and perhaps nowhere else are birds as brightly colored, abundant, and easy to see! The “Rainbow Nation” of South Africa represents the very best of the continent and is one of the planet’s most pleasurable destinations for travel. Along with offering unrivaled birding and wildlife viewing, world-class infrastructure, and low travel costs, South Africa has been listed by Conservation International as one of the world’s 17 megadiverse nations; it harbors a large proportion of the planet’s fauna and fora. On the birding front, South Africa boasts the largest number of regionally endemic bird species of any African country, as well as rich seabird diversity and many widespread, yet no-less-spectacular African birds. Add to this the greatest wildflower show on the planet, fine food and wines, friendly people, fascinating history, and scenic splendor, and it’s not hard to see why South Africa is such a popular destination.
South Africa offers 846 bird species, including more than 160 regional endemics, so there are many choices to make when planning a trip. This article covers just two areas in South Africa: Cape Town and Kruger National Park. The combination of these two key regions provides the best that South Africa offers. Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and Kruger is renowned for its vast size and teeming populations of large mammals. Both offer superb birding opportunities.