BirdLife South Africa aims to promote South Africa as a top-class bird watching destination which is vital for the long-term conservation of the country's wild birds and their habitats. The BirdLife South Africa Birding Routes provide birders information on where to go birding, who to go birding with and where to stay in South Africa.
An integral part of the Birding Routes is partnerships with local accommodation establishments. Global trends in ecotourism have indicated a willingness from ecotourists to support establishments that undertake activities that are in line with the principles of responsible tourism. BirdLife South Africa has undertaken to ensure that all the accommodation establishments that they support operate in an environmentally and social sustainable manner in line with the mission statement of BirdLife South Africa.
By displaying the BirdLife South Africa's "Birder Friendly" branding, establishments are easily recognised by birders. Their commitment demonstrates that they are promoting their Birder Friendly Establishment (BFE) as a prime avitourism destination, whilst doing their bit for bird conservation in South Africa.
Birder Friendly Criteria
Establishments are required to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for 'Birder Friendly' status:
Catering to the specific needs of birders
Being Responsible Tourism operators
Supporting BirdLife South Africa' strategic objective of conserving wild birds and their habitats
For an annual subscription of R1 075 (South Africa) or R1 490 (SADC countries), BirdLife South Africa is committed to offering members of the Birder Friendly scheme the following benefits:
Use of the 'Birder Friendly' logo and branding on marketing materials
A listing on the BirdLife South Africa website
Information and advice on how to make enterprises both bird and birder friendly
"Birder Friendly Establishments" will be included in self-drive itineraries that will be marketed through the website and e-newsletter
Promoting establishments to bird tour operators
Listing of special offers on the BirdLife South Africa website and in e-newsletters
BirdLife South Africa membership, which includes:
Six issues of African Birdlife magazine
BirdLife South Africa supporters' card
BirdLife South Africa supporters' sticker
Invitations to BirdLife South Africa talks and events