Northern Cape:

Augrabies and the Kalahari:
Situated in the Northern Cape Province, the Augrabies Falls National Park is not only home to South Africa’s largest waterfall, but also to some top-class dryland birding including the localised and distinctive Orange River White-eye, Double-banded Courser, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Sociable Weaver and Short-toed Rock Thrush. Many of the thirstland species found in the Tanqua Karoo are also to be found in and around Augrabies.

Moving further north, one gradually enters the realm of the fabled Kalahari Desert and the massive Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (which covers in excess of 3,5 million hectares of protected South African and Botswanan land). In addition to offering prime mammal viewing (including lion, cheetah, leopard and gemsbok), the Park also offers superb bird watching. The raptors especially are well represented with Pygmy-, Lanner- and Red-necked Falcons, Martial-, Bateleur-, Tawny- and Black-chested Snake Eagles, as well as Greater Kestrel and the occasional Secretarybird.

Due to its size and relative distance from main centres, it is recommended that at least 3 – 4 days (and preferably longer) be set aside to explore the Park.

   
Off the beaten track in Namaqualand and Bushmanland:
While Namaqualand, with the town of Springbok at its centre, is perhaps better known for its annual floral displays, it also offers (along with the rest of the Northern Cape) some top-class birding with many endemics and near-endemics on offer in dry, “wide open spaces”.

Bushmanland is lark country and it is not uncommon to record over a dozen species / forms during a visit to the countryside around the small towns of Brandvlei, Kenhardt and Pofadder.

The Northern Cape is South Africa’s most sparsely populated province and distances between towns are significant. Hence, if you’re looking to get away from it all and to indulge in excellent endemic birding at a more relaxed pace, then the Northern Cape is definitely the place to head for.

 
The female Red-backed Shrike differs from the male by its characteristic "scaling" / crescented barring on its underparts.
 
Resident throughout most of the sub-region, the Hamerkop's uniquely shaped head renders it unmistakeable (Hamerkop is Afrikaans for "Hammerhead").
 
The White-Backed Vulture remains the most common vulture throughout the northern parts of the sub-region, and especially so in protected areas.
 
Saddle-Billed Stork is an uncommon resident in certain of the bushveld areas of the sub-region, and is usually associated with water.
 
The Green-Backed Heron will frequently remain motionless for lengthy periods of time while fishing, often allowing for rewarding photo opportunities.
 
The Spotted Eagle-Owl can be found in a wide variety of habitats throughout most of Southern Africa.