World-famous birding venues provide forest, grassland, wetland, bushveld, mountains, estuarine, coastline and open ocean habitats, making this southern Africa’s most diverse area for birding. 63 southern African endemic or near-endemic species are present, making this region a must on any birders’ wish list.
Apart from fantastic birding, the Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal offers visitors a variety of complementary ecotourism activities. From game viewing to tours and hikes through the mighty Drakensberg Massif the options are endless! This enables us to offer local and foreign birders an enriched South African birding experience. We are also able to offer the services of trained guides and have an excellent tour operation and network of Birder-friendly Establishments to ensure that all your needs are attended to.
The province is dived in two Birding Routes with sub-routes, the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Birding Route and the Zululand Birding Route.
Southern KwaZulu Natal
The Southern KwaZulu-Natal Birding Route takes you from the golden beaches and lush forests of South Africa’s south coastline through the beautiful Lowveld and up to the spectacular heights of the Drakensberg Mountains. The variety of habitat and a bird list in excess of 550 species including many rare and endemic species such as Blue Swallow, Cape Parrot, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Eurasian Bittern, all three southern African Crane species, Bearded Vulture and more make this Birding Route an unforgettable South African journey for any birding enthusiast.
The corner stone of the route is the fact that it involves a broad range of stakeholders through avitourism in an effort to create a sustainable economy and a community wide appreciation of our precious natural heritage.
Zululand Birding Route is the first BirdLife South Africa avitourism project, it has been running for more than a decade focused on conserving our birds and their habitats by developing and promoting birding tourism (avitourism) in the Northern Kwazulu-Natal region; which is helping conserve birds in Zululand by giving them direct financial value and is able to carry out this role of socio economic development and conservation work in Zululand through generous sponsorship from many bodies.
To date the Zululand birding route has trained and mentored over 35 community bird guides for the route resulting in ten fulltime tourism/nature related jobs and eighteen SMME; marketed the area exhibiting in trade shows nationally and internationally, finalist for the Smithsonian Institute sustainable tourism awards in 2003 and made considerable progress developing birding infrastructure in the Northern Kwazulu-Natal region.
With more than 600 species recorded, the Zululand Birding Route is southern Africa’s birding diversity hotspot! A network of 16 self-drive routes offers a range of great birding localities that will thrill the most seasoned birder. For convenience these are grouped into four regions – North East Zululand (Elephant Coast), North West Zululand , Southern Zululand and North Coast Route (Zulu Root).