Blessed with an incredible diversity of birds, environments and cultures, West and North Africa offer an intense spectrum of avian riches to prospective birders. Despite the vast tracts of West African rainforest, nearby tropical islands and North Africa’s high mountains and deserts, this is one of the least travelled regions on the planet.
The great Sahara desert splits the species rich rain-forests and savannahs of coastal West Africa from a selection of North African desert and woodland bird species. Stunning snow-capped desert peaks descend wooded slopes to an arid vista of sandy and rocky deserts below. Further south, the Sahara gradually gives way to progressively moister savannah, reaching the humid rain-forests and idyllic beaches lining the Gulf of Guinea. The biologically diverse volcanic peaks of western Cameroon submerge into the Gulf of Guinea, the highest volcanic remnants forming a multitude of tropical islands teeming with endemics.
This region of Africa plays host to a plethora of rarely seen, but highly sought after species. From the unique Egyptian Plover (Crocodile Bird), the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis of Morocco to the two incredible, gregarious Rockfowl species seen most commonly in Ghana and Cameroon. Explosive bursts of colour are evident throughout, from extrovert kingfishers, bee-eaters, sunbirds, starlings and hornbills to the slightly shier turacos, bushshrikes, woodhoopoes and trogons. Prolific numbers of cryptic songsters including an array of greenbuls, illadopsis and flycatchers provide a satisfying challenge for birders.
Birding in both regions, as with most destinations, is mainly centred on finding the area’s many endemic and cryptic species. Rockjumper’s birding tours to the region are designed to connect with a very large percentage of these special birds. Our expert guides help ease the birding sensory assault. Having pioneered tours to many of these sites, our years of touring experience has enabled us to offer the most in-depth and widespread birding access to a historically complex region. Our superior logistics and reliable ground operations allow us to offer such tantalising destinations as Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.
Southern and East Africa remain the most well-visited parts of the magical continent, and justifiably so. With a long-established tourism industry, fantastic infrastructure and, most important of all, a supreme diversity of all things natural, it’s an obvious choice for most discerning travellers and wildlife enthusiasts. Dominated by various types of savannah and grassland, the region is also home to all of Africa’s charismatic large animals, as well as a plethora of dazzling bird species. Indeed, the two regions together contain almost all bird families found in, and endemic to, Africa!
Isolated from the Eurasian Continent by the great North African Deserts, many of Sub-Saharan Africa’s birds are endemic to the region as a whole, though it is in the regions lying to the East and South of the Equatorial forests where one can find the highest density of more localized endemics. The Albertine Rift, the Horn of Africa and the area south of the Zambezi River in particular, hold very high numbers of endemic birds. In fact, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa contain the highest number of endemics of all countries in Africa! In addition to this, the open-country habitats and their bright and large avian inhabitants make for less challenging birding in Southern and East Africa than in denser forest habitats that dominate tropical and sub-tropical regions elsewhere. Our tours to these regions, for example, offer an unbeatable track record in finding endemic species while also regularly finding over 500 species in total, and even up to 850 species on our Kenya Mega Tour!
Be it the rich savannahs and deserts, the incredibly diverse Fynbos, isolated forest patches or the wide open plains and the highest mountains in Africa, Southern and Eastern Africa have it all. Not to mention such mouth-watering specials as the bizarre Shoebill and the wonderfully entertaining Rockjumpers, alongside a high diversity of bustards, larks, raptors, francolins, bee-eaters, starlings, rollers, sunbirds, hornbills and weavers! Join any one of our tours from a list of countries that includes Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Tanzania, and you won’t be disappointed by the birds and sights we’ll show you!