Field Course Southern Africa: Birding in the Bush
The birding course in South Africa and Botswana is a unique opportunity, no matter whether you are a passionate birder, looking to further yourself professionally or personally, or simply looking for a quite unique type of holiday. Open your eyes to African birdlife and get familiar with some of the smaller residents of the African wilderness. Come and discover the unique world of birds in a fascinating landscape with Natucate.
Your EcoTraining Adventure – Why book with Natucate
As long-term partners of EcoTraining, we have a trusting relationship with the team on site and visit the camps ourselves each year. When booking your EcoTraining adventure with Natucate, you will benefit from expert advice, comprehensive travel preparation, 24/7 support and German travel law advantages. When booking with Natucate, you won’t have any extra costs.
On our EcoTraining info page you can learn more about why to book your field course with Natucate.
- Discover South Africa’s and Botswana’s rich avifauna
- Live and learn surrounded by Africa’s wild nature
- Experience the unique flora and fauna on daily excursions into the wild
- Acquire valuable new knowledge, instructed by experienced course leaders
- Meet people from all over the world
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Placement in the programme
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Assistance with booking flights
- Risk coverage certificate
Terry, your travel agent for Southern Africa
You would like to learn more about this trip? Don't hesitate to contact me! Our service doesn't end with your departure: I answer all of your questions and support you before, during and after your stay abroad.
Note: The price stated above is an approximate value. Due to sharp fluctuations in the exchange rate of the South African Rand, the final price for this trip will be calculated at the time of enquiry based on the latest exchange rate.
Birding course in Southern Africa
In this course, you will become an ornithologist within South Africa’s or Botswana’s wild nature and acquire essential skills for observing and identifying the exceptional avifauna.
Arrival and orientation at the course site
You will arrive in Johannesburg one day before the course begins. You will be picked up for the course on the following day. You will be brought back to Johannesburg at the end of your course before continuing your travels or returning home.
Course topics: The birds of Southern Africa
Instead of focusing on the bush and the big five as you would with a traditional safari, you will focus on the smaller residents of the African wilderness. The birding course gives you an opportunity to find out how to identify different birds based on their appearance and call, or to deepen your existing knowledge. In addition to some theoretical groundwork, most of your activity during the course will be a practical nature.
There is no need to be a fanatical birder to take part. The course is suitable for people with any level of expertise and will be an enriching experience which will make you aware of the details of the African wilderness. The one-week course will take you through the African wilderness on foot and in off-road vehicles to gather interesting new insights into the ecosystem.
Accommodation during the birding adventure
Your accommodation for the duration of the birding course in Southern Africa will be in either stilt houses (Makuleke) or two-man tents (other camps). When staying in Makuleke you will have access to your own bathroom attached to the stilt house. Shared bathrooms are available in the other camps.
All camps have a large common room for training, eating together and spending evenings with the group. The camps are not fenced in, and tourists have no access to the site. This gives you a special connection to the natural environment and allows you to enjoy the remoteness of your location.
Leisure time as a birding student in Africa
Your day will be filled with different birding activities whereas the evening hours can be used for own activities. Play games, read a book or relax around the campfire under Africa’s magical night sky.
Arrival in Southern Africa
Birding in the bush: A typical course day
Last day in the birding course and departure
“To hide out in the bushes while a dozen curious elephants walked past us was a really special experience.”
“The camp is really beautiful, situated right by a river. The smell of wild sage is constantly in the air.”
“It was amazing. I have made zero, zero (and zero is little) negative experiences.”
“The entire experience had been spectacular and I would even say life-changing. [...] The fact that I could hear the cries of hyenas and incessant calls of birds when sleeping or waking was also something that felt very real and precious, reminding me how authentic an environment I was in.”
1. Camp Makuleke
Camp Makuleke is located in the Pafuri region in the northern part of South Africa's Kruger National Park. A multitude of fascinating wild animals can be observed in this area and impressive areas can be admired.
If you opt for nature-oriented further education with a stay in Makuleke, you will gain insights into the breathtaking nature of Kruger National Park including its "Big Five": African elephant, black rhino, African buffalo, lion and leopard. Hikes and game drives in open off-road vehicles enable you to experience a superb diversity of flora and fauna – a true enrichment.
2. Camp Karongwe
The South African camp Karongwe is situated at the mostly dried out riverbed of the Karongwe River, in the middle of an area of about 9000 hectares, which will impress you by its biodiversity as well as by its picturesque landscapes.
Nearby you can find the breathtaking Kruger National Park, well-known as one of the largest protected areas in South Africa. Immerse yourself into the spectacular natural landscapes during daily game drives and bush walks, experience the biodiversity of the Karongwe Game Reserve up close and expand your knowledge of the region’s unique flora and fauna under the guidance of experienced field guides.
3. Camp Selati
Camp Selati is located west of the world-famous Kruger National Park. Situated directly on the banks of the Selati River, it is a wonderful observation point for numerous wild animals that cool off from the South African heat in the water of the river.
By participating in an advanced training course in the wilderness of the Selati Game Reserve, you are choosing one of the most interesting regions on the African continent. 33,000 hectares offer plenty of space for a species-rich fauna and flora which you can immerse yourself into during daily game drives and bush walks.
4. Camp Pridelands
Camp Pridelands is located in South Africa's Limpopo province and has been part of the world-famous Kruger National Park since September 2017. In Pridelands a wealth of fascinating wildlife observations can be made – from representatives of the Big Five to hyenas to the rare African wild dog.
As part of your educational nature adventure, you and your team will set off into the wilderness every day under the guidance of an experienced guide to acquire valuable knowledge about the flora and fauna of the region and to learn more about nature and species conservation as well as current measures and initiatives to preserve biodiversity.
5. Camp Pongola
Camp Pongola is nestled into the wilderness of Pongola Game Reserve in the north-east of South Africa, near the Swaziland border. Endless green expanses and a diverse animal world are characteristic of the region. Four of the Big Five are at home at Pongola – elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – as well as hippos, crocodiles, hyaenas, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, warthogs, twelve antelope species and more than 350 bird species.
Every day, you and your team will set out into the beautiful Pongola wilderness to learn more about the unique flora and fauna and to acquire more in-depth knowledge about guiding as well as nature and species conservation.
Background of the birding course in Southern Africa
The natural environment of South Africa and Botswana is renowned for its diversity and variety. This unique biodiversity hotspot is home to up to 800 wild species of birds, including a number of migratory birds. The birds are at home on the ground, in the trees and in the sky in the Savannah of the national and nature parks. When joining this course you can discover the unique world of birds in a fascinating natural landscape and broaden your nature knowledge in an incomparable way.
Spend an unparalleled year amidst Africa's wild nature and get trained as a Professional Field Guide