The Elephant Coast offers some of South Africa's finest birding, with 25 different birding spots and more than 500 species recorded in a variety of habitats. The Ndumo Game Reserve has the greatest variety of bird species of any protected wildlife area in Southern Africa. The uMkhuze section has more than 420 species. Specials such as the endemic pink-throated twinspots, neergard's sunbirds, and woodward's batis alongside much sought after species such as the southernbanded snake eagle, pels fishing owl and African broadbill make this area South Africa's recognised birding mecca. The wetlands are renowned for huge numbers of waterbirds, where pelicans, storks and flamingoes congregate alongside specials such as rosy-throated longclaws, pygmy geese and lesser jacanas.
The Zululand Birding Route has developed an experienced network of local guides to assist birders find the 'specials' of a specific birding site using local knowledge and observation skills and provide peace of mind when birding in remote areas. The guides are involved with community projects, and can include a visit to one of the local primary school's environmental trails or indigenous gardens. It is important to book the local bird guide at least three days before arrival for a self drive birding tour. Birdlife SA accredited Birder-Friendly establishments offer flexibility (packed brunch for early morning twitchers), bird lists, information on birding in the area, local guides and advice on private land access. They support BirdLife South Africa's vision, which is to add economic value to birds and their habitats. For customized birding itineraries contact BirdLife South Africa.