Tourism can seem to be an easy activity but it includes some preparation which is the first major attempt for any prospective birding enthusiast. The preparations determine how swift the tour will be. The first major aspect is to look at the political environment over the specific birding tourism area before embarking on the trip. In Africa, it is imperative to note that there are thousands of tourists birding spots but for some, extensive security and safety is not guaranteed. Therefore this should be a caution to all prospective tourists. Another important aspect is to look at the geographical location of the birding spot since some regions are located in highlands which may not be compatible for the prospective tourist.
Nevertheless, Africa is endowed with hundreds of birding spots, with equally hundreds of bird species which cannot be seen in so many other parts of the world. Consequently, Africa has become one of the world’s major birding destinations with over 2,500 bird species most of which are endemic. Some of these are Cranes, Thick-knees, Ibisbill, Mesites, Bustards, Cuckoos, Swifts, Ostriches, Guineafowl, New World quail, Flamingos, Grebes, and many more. Africa’s geographic location gives it strategic composition of different types of vegetation and climate which is an amazing attractive feature for the different species of birds. It should be noted therefore that whereas some bird species can live in both semi arid and tropical regions, others are accustomed to living in singular climate regions.
Africa has numerous water bodies and these have been an important factor in attracting some of these bird species in the inland areas. The extensive expanse over the tropical rainforests in Central and some parts of East Africa, the effect of the rift valley of East Africa, and the Savannah effect in Southern and some Eastern parts of Africa, all have a role in the attraction and harboring of these birds.
That having been said, let us look at what is expected of a prospective tourist. First off, we should look at how the tourist should dress (choices can differ as a tourist would wish) in order to have a thrilling birding experience. For a tourist looking at coming into Africa during the dry season i.e. June-September, and/or December-February, they should come along with hats in order to prevent their heads from being hit by the direct sunlight and equally protecting their skin. The tourist can also consider wearing light wear above their waist to enable proper aeration during daytime which is often hot. This is aimed at minimizing body temperatures. The tourist is also advised to wear comfortable and effective trekking boots since the terrain to most birding spots is rugged and sometimes stony and dusty. Comfortable wear, especially trousers can also come in handy. However, those who are going into the forest lands should wear clothes that cover much of their skin because some of these forest lands are infested with mosquitoes and other insects alike that may be dangerous. The tourist should also consider purchasing some spectacles in order to have a good site during the sunny weather.
The packing list for majority of the tourists is obvious. Some of what should be packed has already been highlighted above. However, as an essential requirement, a bag is important. Its importance is to carry simple requirements that may be essential for the tourist while birding. A water bottle containing clean drinking water is important too. The tourist can also consider carrying some mosquito repellent just to be cautious out there. A food dish for some light meal is also an essential since this experience goes on for longer hours. Binoculars for a nearer view, a camera, and power bank, are necessities (but a tourist can choose more essentials as the need may arise or warrant).
For bookings, it is advisable for the prospective tourist to get in touch with a trusted tour agency. This can be through visiting the different travel agency websites online for the different tourist destinations. The major importance of booking through these tourist travel agencies is because it saves a lot of time that would be spent on individual booking since they are aware of the different protocols and requirements required for a successful fun time tour. Therefore, all a tourist is required of is to pay the requisite fees and await communication from the tourist tour agencies on when they should be expected to visit the country.
As earlier noted, the best time to carry out birding activities in Africa is during the dry period or season which extends for a considerably long time within June to September, and also December to February. However, the tourist may choose otherwise and opt for birding in the wet season.