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Pel's Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli ©Jonathan Rossouw Website

When this Fat Birder went to the Gambia, and when he went to Kenya he took his old binoculars with him to give to a local so that they could make a living out of visitors by learning about the local birds and being able to show them to tourists. It may sound patronising but several people we know have said the same thing - that young men guiding tourists in the Gambia were just about the best at spotting the birds and ID of anyone ever encountered and usually with the crudest of optics. So this is one way many of us can help out and know that what we give goes direct to someone who could use a leg up.

Now the young man who guided me in Gambia many years ago not only guides groups there but all over the place including Europe and we meet him annually the the British Bird Fair.

I have been lucky enough to visit many of the countries in southern Africa and enjoy many southern African endemics as well as lots of other taxa like meercats in Namibia, baboons in Zambia and Hippos in Botswana.

Perhaps the highlight for me was sitting in a small boat on the Okavanga River six feet from a Carmine Bee-eater colony and, in the same day seeing Pel's Fishing Owl and Slaty Egret - it doesn't get any better than that!

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 2340

(As at September 2018) - This figure is, of course, approximate - and represents nearly a quarter of the world total.


Number of endemics: 1561

14 Entire families containing 156 species are endemic to Africa as a whole, as are all of the African members of seven other families.

Useful Reading

Birds of Africa: South of the Sahara

by Ian Sinclair, Peter G REyan, Norman Arlott, Peter Hayman & Alan Harris | Random House Struik | 2010 | Paperback | 767 pages, 340 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9781770076235

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi

By Terry Stevenson, John Fanshawe, Brian E Small & John Gale | Christopher Helm | 2004 | Paperback | 640 pages, colour plates, colour distribution maps, colour & b/w maps |

ISBN: 0713673478

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Socotra

By Nigel Redman, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe | Christopher Helm | 2011 | Paperback | 512 pages, 213 colour plates, 1000+ colour distribution maps, colour & b/w maps |

ISBN: 9781408157350

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Western Africa

By Nik Borrow & Ron Demey | Christopher Helm | 2014 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 592 pages, 266 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9781472905680

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Western and Central Africa

By Ber van Perlo | Princeton University Press | 2003 | Paperback | 384 pages, 109 plates with colour illustrations; colour & b/w illustrations, 1500+ b/w distribution maps, colour maps |

ISBN: 0691007144

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Southern African Birdfinder

By Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode & Jonathan Rossouw | New Holland Publishers | 2006 | Paperback | 456 pages, 80 col photos, 100 maps, pull-out route map |

ISBN: 1868727254

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birder's Guide to Africa

By Michael Mills & Tasso Leventis | Go-Away-Birding | 2017 | Paperback | | 544 Pages | Numerous illustrations & 2 Colour Maps |

ISBN: 9780620717250

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Africa, Volume 8: The Malagasy Region

By Roger Safford, Frank Hawkins, John Gale & Brian Small | Christopher Helm | 2013 | Hardback | 1024 pages, 63 plates with colour illustrations; 1 colour illustration, colour distribution maps, 9 colour maps, 8 colour tables |

ISBN: 9780713665321

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Africa

By Nigel Wheatley | Princeton University Press | 2000 | Paperback | 432 pages, 51 line illustrations, 110 maps |

ISBN: 0691070474

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

Urgent Bird Conservation Priorities in Africa & its Islands

This note was written for the bulletin of the African Bird Club (http://www.africanbirdclub.org/) (ABC) and is published here on our blog with permission from them. We highly recommend you join the ABC if you want to contribute to bird conservation on the vast African continent.


African Bird Club


African Bird Club, UK registered charity 1053920, has been established: to provide a worldwide focus for African ornithology; to encourage an interest in the conservation of the birds of the region; to liaise with and promote the work of existing regional societies; to publish a twice-yearly colour bulletin; to encourage observers to visit lesser known areas of the region, and search actively for globally threatened and near-threatened species; to develop a Conservation Fund.

Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network)


The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) is a regional conservation organization with the mission to enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in the Albertine Rift region, Africa Great Lakes region and African Mountains through the promotion of collaborative conservation actions for nature and people.

Bushmeat Project


The Bushmeat Project has been established to develop and support community based partnerships that will help the people of Cameroon, the Congos, Gabon, Nigeria, and Central African Republic to develop alternatives to unsustainable bushmeat. The programme is a long-term effort to provide economic and social incentive to people to protect great apes and other endangered wildlife. For more organizational and program details about the Bushmeat Project please read our Action Agenda, as well as the Project's Mission, Goals and Driving Principles. If you want to join this effort please contact us at bushmeat@biosynergy.org.

Conservation Volunteers for Africa


We arrange for young people to work on Game and Nature Reserves throughout Southern Africa, playing an active role in Conservation and the maintenance of the Environment – working in intimate association with Game Rangers and Conservationists in the Wild!

Peace Parks Foundation


The primary objective of the Peace Parks Foundation is to promote Transfrontier Conservation Areas in Southern Africa. Through these proposed peace parks the Foundation is working with governments, the private sector and local communities to protect our environment and unlock the huge economic potential of the region`s tourist industry. The peace parks will help to bind together Southern Africa`s nations in a vast network of sustainable and environmental partnerships, protecting their unique natural inheritance for generations, and promoting a culture of peace and cooperation. We encourage you to support one of the most important initiatives.

TUSK Trust


Advancing Conservation Across Africa - Tusk is a dynamic and adaptable organisation with almost 30 years' experience initiating and funding wildlife conservation programmes across Africa.

West African Ornithological Society


The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964 by John H. Elgood, Professor of Zoology at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria) (he sadly died in 1998 — obituary in Malimbus 21: 74–75, 127–128) and Robert E. Sharland. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa…


Abbreviations Key

List of Africa's National Parks


This is a list of national parks in Africa by country. The nature of the parks varies considerably not only between countries but also within some nations – the degree of protection, accessibility and type of environment for which it is intended to deliver protection. Some parks have been cleared of their original human population, others have always been essentially uninhabited, while yet others contain significant population centres.

Forums & Mailing Lists

African Birding Group

Mailing Groupm & Forum

AfricanBirding is an email discussion group that is administered by ABC. Topics range widely but include discussion about identification, trip reports, request for information and announcements. Unique in scope, it covers the whole of Africa and is for those people interested in birds, birding and conservation in the region. Membership is open to all and is FREE!

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

*Specialists & Local Guides

Each country page lists tour companies based there and operating just in those countries or a number of countries close by. Local guides are also listed when we have their details. In this section we list a number of companies which offer birding trips and tours in MANY African countries.

2 by 2 African Holidays


Specialists in travel to Southern & East Africa for over 10 years - we offer outstanding value safari packages & self drive vacations, as well as unique tailor made holiday, private and group tours. Combine your ideas with our local knowledge, and let us help you create a holiday of a lifetime! All our holidays are fully financially protected…

Africa Odyssey

Tour Operator

Africa Odyssey is the culmination of decades of travel knowledge and long safari experience. Our MD, Marc Harris, is a director of the African Travel and Tourism Association and a judge of the Good Safari Guide, Our Tanzania director is the author of the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and all of our team have worked, lived or travelled extensively in their specialist African countries….

Birding Africa

Tour Operator

Birding tours from Cape Town to Cameroon and Madagascar, with the only African Birding Specialist

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Birding Ecotours, a South African company, aims to provide world-wide birding experiences of superb quality, while contributing to environmental conservation and disadvantaged communities. Please contact us for detailed information, queries and quotations. We are affiliated to Cape Town (South Africa) based pelagic trips and we are happy to help you in every aspect of planning your birding holiday.


Tour Operator

BirdQuest, founded in 1981, has an unequalled repertoire of birding tours and combined birdwatching and wildlife holidays and cruises that will appeal to every kind of birder. Our tours are celebrated as the very best available, and we have shown our clients and friends over 10,200 bird species worldwide, more than any other birding tour company (and not that far off the total for all other birding tour companies combined!), as well as an extraordinary variety of mammals and many other fascinating aspects of the natural world.

Eagle-Eye Tours

Tour Operator

Expert Africa


Expert Africa does not currently offer trips which we label as “birdwatching holidays to Africa". However, we do have bird-watchers among our expert team, and so can advise you on the best lodges and areas for your birding interests – and we do put together many tailor-made trips for travellers who want to go on a primarily bird-watching holiday.


Tour Operator

Endemic-rich birding, spectacular landscapes, and a unique flora are the highlights of our energetic survey tour of this beautiful country.

Lawson's Safaris

Tour Operator

Welcome to our new website, the online home of Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris, a specialized Birding and Wildlife Safari Company. The site was designed with a ‘simple and clean’ motto in mind. The imagery is mostly all ours (we had a bit of help with Botswana and Malawi), and we’ll be changing things regularly to keep it current. We have some great information on destinations as well, so we invite you to grab a cup of coffee and spend some time here as you ponder an African birding and wildlife experience. Get in touch with us if you have any questions or queries, we’re always happy to chat about birds, wildlife and travel!

Merlan Adventure Tours

Tour Operator

The people of the region carry a proud heritage of endeavour, wealth and traditions and the cultural diversity of it`s tribal and western civilizations are united to celebrate the African Century. The wildlife of our subcontinent is legendary and this, combined with our scenic beauty and cultural heritage makes Southern Africa a place of renewal and a sanctuary for the soul.

Nature Travel Birding

Tour Operator

Nature Travel Birding specialise in birding trips in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Spain, Namibia and South Africa.

Natures Wonderland Safaris

Tour Operator

Birding & Nature tours throughout eastern Africa…


Tour Operator

When people think of visiting Africa, safari holidays are regularly at the top of the list. Riding in an open-top jeep along dusty tracks and looking out across the sun-baked savannah teeming with big game is arguably one of life’s best experiences.

Navigate African Safaris

Tour Operator

Africa is one of the best birding destinations globally, with over 2100 species of bird in sub-Saharan Africa. Our birding safaris, which will take you to some the most remote and exotic destinations, provide an unparalleled birding experience.

Njewa Safaris

Tour Operator

Birding Safaris - There are over 1,000 different bird species in Kenya…

Rainbow Tours

Tour Operator

If you know where in Africa you are interested in visiting, you can browse our website by country - just click on the relevant destination in the left hand menu. Here you’ll find background information, Africa holiday examples, ideas on where to stay, answers to frequently asked questions and customers reviews.

Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures


Our comprehensive tour portfolio encompasses many of the most breathtaking and biologically diverse destinations on the planet. To provide you with the particular travel experience you desire, we have classified our tours into six categories…

Tropical Birding

Tour Operator

A turaco, crimson wings spread resplendently in early morning light, a rockfowl slinking, shadow-like through the understory tangles of a West African rainforest, woodhoopoes cackling outside a nest-hole, or a lone Shoebill, standing sentry in a Ugandan Papyrus swamp. These are unforgettable images of birding in Africa

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours

Tour Operator

World-renowned for its captivating wildlife pageants and timeless scenery, Africa represents the quintessential natural history experience. Among the most impressive of the continent's innumerable wildlife spectacles are: the migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest; a marvelous array of carnivores—lions, cheetahs, and leopards; a mind-boggling diversity of hoofed animals—oryx, giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, gazelle, buffalo, and many others; and a fascinating selection of primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees. Landmarks of romance and lore, such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, and Lake Victoria headline the continent's most legendary destinations.

Wildside Nature Tours

Tour Operator

Since 1993, Wildside Nature Tours has been offering quality worldwide wildlife adventures. Our dedicated, enthusiastic leaders are as excited about your trip as you! We have done extensive ‘hands on’ research into many different areas of the regions we visit, in order to offer you the best opportunity and safest experience for birding, photography and nature exploration.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Trip Repoprts for African Countries

Trip Repoprts for African Countries appear on the appropriate country page... if a trip covers more than one nation it will apperar on each of those countries' page.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Eco-resorts East Africa


Welcome to eco-resorts, your online resource for East African eco-tours and safaris! We would like to personally welcome you to the fascinating world of eco-safaris and eco adventures in Kenya and Tanzania. Take your time - visit some of the delightful camps, hotels and lodges available for your safari.

Other Links

Birds of East Africa


Page with travel tips and pictures of birds in Africa

Review Of Field Guides, Travel Guides & Reference Books: Southern & East Africa


Example: Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa by Chris and Tilde Stuart (2nd edition Struik 1993). A good companion to the above field guide. The Stuarts` book, which is copiously illustrated with an excellent array of photographs, and clear distribution maps, also contains a section on marine mammals.

Southern Africa Birding


Birding Resources for Southern Africa. This site is about birds and birding in South Africa and the Southern African region, including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Zambia. The region`s best birding sites are featured under Birding Spots, together with birding resources under Bird guides, tours and Accommodation…