Birding Routes

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 South Africa offers a range of birding habitats, from grasslands, wetlands and forests, to savannahs, fynbos, the seashore and open oceans. Bird-watching in South Africa allows birders to explore a diverse range of habitats. These habitats offer a spectacular diversity of beautiful birds, from the diminutive, fynbos-restricted Orange-breasted Sunbird to the large, desert-adapted Ludwig's Bustard. A remarkable 841 bird species are found in South Africa, about eight percent of the world's bird species. Seventy-four species are endemic to South Africa, i.e. they do not occur naturally anywhere else in the world.

BirdLife South Africa's Avitourism Division developed the concept of birding routes. Birding routes provide information and resources to local and international birders on where to go, what to see, who to go birding with and where to stay within a certain geographical area. An exciting initiative along all the birding routes is the availability of Community Bird Guides. The guides are affordable; provide improved security and valuable information on where elusive and special bird species may be found.

Specifically the aims of the birding routes are:glbr-wnbr-intro

  • To promote the conservation of birds and their habitats through the education of local communities within the routes.
  • To provide local and international birders with up to date and detailed information to enable them to enjoy the avifauna of the region. The routes provide information on birding sites, birding events, community bird guides and the location of Birder Friendly Establishments through a variety of mediums such as a website, brochures and maps.
  • To train and develop community bird guides from local communities and provide a source of employment and income for local communities through bird guiding and community projects.
  • To promote the conservation of wild birds and their habitats through community conservation projects.
  • To ensure that products used and promoted are socially, environmentally and economically responsible.
  • To increase the competitiveness of the region by developing birding routes, products and birding infrastructure.
  • To market the services of birding routes, guides, accommodation establishments, community and conservation projects.

The overall objective of the Birding Routes is to achieve meaningful socio-economic benefits for local communities as well as conservation benefits by using avitourism to increase the competiveness of the region. Through these birding routes, BirdLife South Africa seeks to achieve their conservation objectives by giving birds and their habitats an economic value.

In addition, the routes initiate a number of local community projects aimed at promoting the conservation of birds and their habitats by giving birds an economic value to the communities in which the route is situated.

 To view the different Birding Routes throughout South Africa click on a province below.glbr-slbr-intro

Eastern Cape

Free State





Northern Cape

North West

Western Cape