The Zululand Birding Route is the first BirdLife South Africa avitourism project and has been running for more than a decade, focused on conserving our birds and their habitats by developing and promoting birding tourism (avitourism) in the Northern Kwazulu-Natal region. This is helping conserve birds in Zululand by giving them direct financial value and the project is able to carry out this role of socio economic development and conservation work in Zululand through generous sponsorship from many bodies.
To date the Zululand birding route has trained and mentored more than 35 community bird guides for the route, resulting in 10 full-time tourism/nature related jobs and 18 SMMEs. It has also marketed the area by exhibiting in trade shows nationally and internationally, was selected as a finalist for the Smithsonian Institute sustainable tourism awards in 2003 and made considerable progress developing birding infrastructure in the Northern Kwazulu-Natal region.
With more than 600 species recorded, the Zululand Birding Route is southern Africa’s birding diversity hotspot! A network of 16 self-drive routes offers a range of great birding localities that will thrill the most seasoned birder. For convenience these are grouped into four regions – North East Zululand (Elephant Coast), North West Zululand, Southern Zululand and North Coast Route (Zulu Root).
World-famous birding venues provide forest, grassland, wetland, bushveld, mountains, estuarine, coastline and open ocean habitats, making this southern Africa’s most diverse area for birding. There are 63 Southern African endemic or near-endemic species present, making this region a must on any birders’ wish list.
Eshowe falls under the Southern Zululand region and has three fantastic birding spots:
- The Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk:
- The Prince Dabulamanzi Trail (Entumeni Nature Reserve, Dreadnought Walking Trail, Dlinza Forest); and
- Lake Phobane (Goedertrouw Dam).