8 BEST Companies for Birding Tours in South Africa! (2022)
Are you looking to go on a birding adventure in South Africa?
That’s wonderful news. But here’s the thing:
DECIDING to go on a bird-watching trip to South Africa is an easy decision. The hardest part is finding a reputable company that you feel comfortable traveling with.
Below, I did my best to find 8 highly-rated companies that offer birding trips in South Africa.
Before picking a trip, make sure to pay attention to the itinerary! Some tours are for hardcore birders, where you can expect to be birding in South Africa from sunrise to sunset. By comparison, other excursions are more relaxed and integrate other wildlife (like lions and cheetahs) and cultural experiences. Each tour is unique, and none are better or worse. It depends on what YOU want (or what your spouse wants). 🙂
Lastly, please do your own independent research before selecting a birding trip in South Africa!
My list is designed to point you in the right direction and narrow your choices. Before booking a trip, contact the companies directly to make sure they are a good fit for your travel needs. *Please note that the companies listed below appear in no particular order.*
#1. Tropical Birding
Tropical Birding offers birding adventures to South Africa for many different interest levels, from hardcore birders to someone looking for a more relaxed wildlife photography trip. Their logistics team can also organize a custom tour in South Africa to satisfy everyone in your group’s interest. Here are a few of their options, which show the diversity of birding trips you can take in South Africa!
- A photo tour of South African birds – Perfect if you’re interested in photographing the diverse wildlife that lives here. This tour offers the opportunity to take pictures of penguins one day and lions the next!
- Exploring Kruger National Park – The trip is shorter in length and visits the world-famous Kruger National Park, where you have a chance to see the “Big 5,” along with many other famous African mammals.
- An intense birding tour in Central South Africa. You can expect to see over 400 bird species and explore the various (and famous) habitats in South Africa. This trip is best for serious birders.
A considerable part of what makes or breaks a birding trip is your guide. Tropical Birding prides itself on its full-time professional tour leaders. Their guides promise to bring as much joy as possible to every trip. They do this by seeing as many birds and wildlife as possible but also having fun in the process. You can see a list of their current guides here.
Tropical Birding almost always receives excellent reviews from those who have traveled with them. You can view their current trip schedule to South Africa on their website.
Rockjumper is one of the best birding tour companies in South Africa.
Their stellar reputation comes from their commitment to quality trips led by excellent guides. The average ratio of tour leaders to guests is excellent, with most trips having a maximum of eight participants.
Rockjumper has birding tours in South Africa for everyone.
- Click HERE to see a schedule of upcoming trips. They have various options, such as short trips to Kruger National Park, or “mega birding tours” that last several weeks.
Pay attention to the itinerary because some trips are designed to maximize the number of species observed, while others are more relaxed and allow time to enjoy other unique cultural aspects of a region. And if you can’t find anything that meets your needs, you can work with Rockjumper to design your own trip.
Lastly, Rockjumper donates a minimum of $50 per scheduled tour to a conservation fund to support bird projects worldwide.
Even though YOU may love birds and are excited to go on a South African birding trip, your spouse, friends, kids, etc., may not want to look for birds from sunrise to sunset. 🙂
So that’s why I have included Adventures by Disney. They offer an amazing FAMILY vacation package that visits South Africa.
- View details HERE – Penguins, monkeys, lions, cheetahs, and loads more wildlife!
Using Adventures by Disney is perfect if you want an amazing adventure with your family in South Africa that is safe and well-planned. You will definitely see a lot of birds and other African wildlife, but the emphasis on the trip is not seeing as many species as possible, like many of the other birding tours on this list.
If you are interested in traveling to South Africa with Disney, you should use an authorized travel agent.
First, you will get help from someone who has lots of experience planning these sorts of trips. Second, it doesn’t cost you anything. In fact, a Disney-authorized travel agent can usually find a better deal and save you hundreds of dollars!
- *Click HERE to check out my recommended Disney vacation planner*. Make sure you get a quote and talk to them BEFORE booking on the Disney website.
Adventures by Disney is the best way to see birds in South Africa if you want to take along kids or people that don’t want to go birding every day.
Founded in 1976, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) has been leading birding trips for almost 50 years. The company is not only one of the best birding tour companies in South Africa but also one of the most respected.
VENT is committed to ensuring every part of your trip is a success. From quality, fun tour leaders to an efficient office staff that handles logistics, you are being held with experienced and helpful hands.
No matter what birds you see in South Africa, VENT should have a trip that makes you happy. As you will see, most of their trips take you from the coasts to see penguins, then to Kruger National Park!
One thing that sticks out to me with VENT is their willingness over the years to give back. The company is strongly committed to eco-tourism, and they use local guides, drivers, and tour operators whenever possible.
If you are a serious birder and want an unforgettable adventure in South Africa, then going on a trip with Wings Birding Tours might be a perfect choice. Many other companies on this list try to accommodate people with different interests and physical levels and include things to do on their trips that don’t involve birding.
Wings Birding Tours makes no such promises. They know their target market and try to appeal to them as best as possible. In fact, If you have never been on a bird-watching tour before, they recommend that you contact them first before booking to make sure it’s a good fit.
Almost all of their trips are designed to see birds, regardless of where or when they are to appear. So prepare to be up early and spend your days having incredible adventures and doing a lot of walking. Your trip may take you onto uneven terrain, through lush vegetation, or up and down countless hills.
If you are ready for a hardcore birding adventure in South Africa, then make sure to check out their trip list. They typically have multiple tours scheduled that are approximately two weeks in length and take you to many different habitats and ecosystems within South Africa.
Founded over 20 years ago, Naturalist Journeys offers numerous nature and birding tours to South Africa and many other places around the globe. On their website, you can see a calendar of their upcoming birding trips to South Africa.
A typical trip by Naturalist Journeys tries to incorporate different aspects to your adventure. The guides are not obsessed with seeing a bird just to check it off a list, especially in South Africa, where some of the most famous mammals in the world reside.
What’s neat is they also offer Independent Birding Ventures (IBVs), which are trips where YOU design the itinerary and pace yourself. You just tell Naturalist Journeys what you are looking for, and they plan the entire thing.
Do you still have additional questions? The owner and founder, Peg Abbott, is still actively involved in the company and is available to answer all of your questions!
I can almost guarantee you will find your dream bird watching trip to South Africa with Field Guides Birding Tours. They have many adventures that go to South Africa every year that explore almost every part of the country.
- View all the current birding trips to South Africa HERE. They have a unique neat trip called “Birds, Wines, and Wildflowers” that is a perfect combination for many people. 🙂
I like that they have trips that cater to all interests, whether you are a hardcore birder who wants to see as many species as possible or someone who wants to do more than just birding. Pay close attention to each tour’s itinerary to make sure it’s a match for you.
If you have gotten to the end and haven’t found any birding trips in South Africa that you’re excited about, then G Adventures may be the perfect option.
First, you should know that G Adventures doesn’t offer trips that specifically look for birds. Instead, they focus on ADVENTURE TRAVEL. If you want to explore South Africa while having an incredible amount of fun, you should check them out.
For example, when this post was published, there were 42 different trips and itineraries available in South Africa to choose from! Not only do most of the adventures provide the opportunity to see wildlife, but they also mix in various cultural experiences.
G Adventures is a great option if you are looking to maximize fun instead of seeing as many birds as possible. I’d also recommend that you are physically active. And please note that most trips require kids to be at least 12 years old.
Final Thoughts About Birding Tour Companies in South Africa:
I hope today that you found a birding tour in South Africa that intrigues you. The next step is contacting the company directly and deciding the best option for your adventure!
I’d love your feedback below if you have gone on a birding trip before in South Africa.