with Patrick Cardwell as the Lead Bird Guide and Host
The main trip will cover a number of key birding spots in South Africa, starting in
Cape Town and surrounding areas and then to Johannesburg. These sites
include Cape Point Nature Reserve, Boulders Coastal Park, Kirstenbosch
Botanical Gardens, Strandfontein Wetlands, Langebaan Lagoon, the Strandveld
region of Saint Helena Bay, the coastal foothills and the Berg River estuary, the
Tanqua Karoo and back to the edge of the Cedarberg Mountains, the Little Karoo,
the Agulhas Plain, the Langeberg Mountains via Barrydale, De Hoop Reserve and
Potberg Mountain, the eastern sector of the Agulhas Plain, the Langeberg
Mountains, the forest at Grootvadersbosch, the Succulent Karoo, the Outeniqua
mountains, the coastal village of Wilderness Area. After enjoying birding at these
sites, then its off to Johannesburg and Kruger National Park for another 4 days of
birding and wildlife watching. This bird list based upon this itinerary for the main
trip averages between 300 to 350 species. This will likely include over 70 South
African endemics and another 30 near-endemic species. Click here to review
the list of endemics and near-endemic bird species for the trip and also a list of
The main bird guide for the trip will be Patrick Cardwell, who has been leading
professional bird-watching and safari tours in South Africa for over a decade. His
extensive field experience is well-demonstrated, as he leads an effective
bird-watching tour and provides a delightful trip for all participants. He is a fully
qualified member of the Field Guides Association of South Africa and endorsed
by Bird Life South Africa. He has a personal Southern Africa bird list exceeding
|Itinerary for South Africa
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1: Cape Town
Link up with your Patrick Cardwell in the arrivals hall and travel through to
Simon’s Town. After settling in we cross the Cape peninsula to pick up on the
Atlantic seaboard with Bank Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, White-breasted
(Great) Cormorant and Crowned Cormorant in mind. Other sightings along the
rocky shore include African Black Oystercatcher, White-fronted Plover, Pied
Kingfisher and Little Egret. Heading towards Cape Point through the scenically
delightful Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve we will search for Grassbird,
Spotted Prinia, Gray-backed Cisticola, Cape Bulbul, Familiar Chat, Cape
Francolin and Rock (Common) Kestrel. Taking a side route to the coast we
will search for Grassbird, Spotted Prinia, Gray-backed Cisticola, Cape Bulbul,
Familiar Chat, Cape Sugarbird, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Bunting, Cape White-
eye and Red-winged Starling.From the heights above Cape Point itself we will
scan for Peregrine Falcon and Cape Siskin as well as passing pelagic
seabirds. Nest stop will be the famous Boulder’s Coastal Park where we will
enjoy close up views of African Penguin coming ashore in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Simon’s Town.
Day 2: Pelagic Trip
Given adequate weather, our pelagic trip starts at 7 AM, as we head towards
the deep sea trawling grounds about 35 nautical miles southwest of Cape
Point. On the way out, we will encounter Cape Gannet, White-chinned Petrel,
and Sooty Shearwater. Soon after rounding spectacular Cape point, we can
expect our first sighting of Shy Albatross and either of the two Yellow-nosed
Albatross (Atlantic or Indian). Crossing birds could include Sooty Shearwater,
Manx Shearwater, Cory Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Arctic Tern,
Wilson’s Storm Petral, and European Storm Petrel. All being well, the sighting
of an active trawler or pole boat could add Black-browed Albatross, Northern &
Southern Giant Petrel, and the rare Spectacled Petrel to the pelagic list. Other
possibilities for October include Great-winged Petrel, Great Shearwater, Flesh-
footed Shearwater, Sub-Antarctic Skua, Pomerine Skua and Black-bellied
Storm Petrel on northbound migration at this time of year. We may also see
several species of dolphins and whales, and Cape Fur Seal. The odd Sunfish
could add a further dimension of excitement to the day. Overnight in Simon’s
Day 3: Cape Peninsula
Birding commences with an early start for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in
search of Southern Boubou Shrike, Cape Batis, Black Sawwing Swallow,
African Goshawk, Black Goshawk, Olive Thrush, Sombre Bulbul, Cape Robin
Chat, Forest and Cape Canary, Knysna Scrub Warbler, African Black & Alpine
Swift, Cape White-eye, Olive Pigeon, and Spotted Eagle Owl. Later in the
morning, we will visit the number of wetlands and settling ponds that
constitute clutch sighting opportunities.
Day 4: West Coast
Our route north along the Atlantic Coastline takes us across the foreshore of
Cape Town to the Strandveld, as the dune vegetation is known, to the West
Coast Park in search of Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Grey-winged
Francolin, Southern Grey Tit, the diminutive Cape Penduline Tit, Red-capped
Lark, Large-billed (Thick-billed) Lark, Gray-backed Sparrow Lark, Wattled
Starling, Pied Starling, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Chestnut-vented Titbabbler,
Karoo Scrub Robin, Cape Sparrow, White-throated Canary, Yellow Canary,
Orange-throated Longclaw, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cloud Cisticola, Gray-backed
Cisticola, and Spotted Prinia. Adjacent wetlands should produce sightings of
Black Crake, and Lesser Swamp (Cape Reed) Warbler. Time spent scanning
the exposed tidal flats of the Langebaan Lagoon should deliver good views of
Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank,
Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, Turnstone, Little Stint, Red Knot, and Common Ringed
Plover. From a hide towards the head of the lagoon, we hope to find Little Tern
and can enjoy views of the spectacular Greater Flamingo wading along the
shoreline. With luck, we may even locate a Eurasian Curlew before moving
off. Later, we will traverse across a series of fields looking for Ant-eating Chat
and Sickle-winged Chat before checking into a guest house in a scenic and
delightful fishing village for the night.
Day 5: Berg River to the Tankwa Karoo
After breakfast, we will bird the hills above Saint Helena Bay looking for Cape
Clapper Lark, Karoo Lark, Cape Long-billed Lark, Southern Masked Weaver,
Red-faced Mousebird, Spotted Thicknee, and Crowned Lapwing. Next, we
drop down to the Berg River estuary to look for Chestnut-banded Sand Plover
and Lesser Flamingo within the matrix of salt pans near the town of Veldrift.
From here, we will head due east for the rain shadow beyond the distant
Cedarberg Mountains. On the way, we might find Secretarybird and Blue
Crane (South Africa's national bird) in areas of open wheat fields. Our route
through the mountains follows a series of rugged passes that eventually end
at Karoo Poort on the edge of the arid Tankwa Karoo. Although seemingly dry
and deserted, this vast expanse along with its rocky ridge lines to the west
holds a representative selection of sought after species some of which are
nomadic and others resident. Over what remains of the day, we will
systematically search for Karoo Chat, Familiar Chat, Mountain Wheatear,
Ground Woodpecker, White-backed Mousebird, Fairy Flycatcher, and Pale
Chanting Goshawk. We overnight in a game lodge under a superb night sky
complete with all the principal summer constellations.
Day 6: Tankwa Karoo
After an early breakfast, we set off on a circular route in search of Ludwig’s
Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Trac Trac Chat, Greater Kestrel, Verreaux’s Eagle,
Booted Eagle, Spike-heeled Lark, Pale-winged Starling, Layard’s Titbabbler,
Yellow Canary, Chestnut-vented Titbabbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Acacia Pied
Barbet, Namaqua Prinia, Rufous-eared Warbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela,
Karoo Green Eremomela, Pririt Batis, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, and Karoo
Thrush. Overnight back at the Game Lodge.
Day 7: Tankwa Karoo to the Agulhas Plain
Our journey takes us further east across the succulent Little Karoo and
through the spectacular Cape Folded Mountains and sweet-thorn choked
drainage lines to the Agulhas Coastal Plain with its sprawling fields and
rolling pastures. We will scan for Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustard, Agulhas
Long-billed Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Capped Wheatear, Karoo Korhaan,
African Pipit, Plain-backed Pipit, Red-capped Lark, Jackal Buzzard, Steppe
Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Hamerkop, Cape Rook (Black Crow), Black Harrier
and Secretarybird. After checking in, we will bird the immediate area in search
of Orange-breasted Sunbird, Lesser Double-collared Sunbird, and
Bokmakierie. At dusk, we look for the Fiery-necked Nightjar. We will spend
the night in a bush camp situated on a ridgeline in pristine mountain fynbos.
Day 8: Agulhas Plain to Grootvadersbosch Forest Reserve
Before breakfast, we head into the reserve to search for Southern Tchagra,
African Hoopoe, Southern Boubou Shrike, Greater Striped Swallow, Pearl-
breasted Swallow, Water Thicknee (Dikkop), Spotted Thicknee (Dikkop) and
Bar-throated Apalis. Aside from the bird life, we can expect to see several
endangered and interesting mammals, including Bontebok, the comical Gray
Rhebok, Burchell’s Zebra, and the Eland (Africa’s largest antelope). After
breakfast, we will travel east across the De Hoop reserve to look for Cape
Vulture above Potberg Mountain. Then we cross the Breede River and arrive at
Grootvadersbosch Forest Reserve. On the way, we will check a lily covered
dam for White-faced Whistling Duck and White-backed Duck and then check a
wooded water-course for Olive Bush Shrike and Tambourine Dove.
In the late afternoon we will work the riverine bush along the main drainage
line in search of Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Fork-tailed Drongo, Amethyst
Sunbird, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Hamerkop, Paradise Flycatcher
and Olive Pigeon. After dinner, we try for Wood Owl in the adjacent woodland.
Overnight in farmhouse lodgings close to the main forest.
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For more information, contact us at 1-888-203-7464 or by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day 1: Flight day from parts around the world for most participants. Namibia
trip participants wrap up the day before and enjoy a day of rest and/or touring
Day 2:: By noon, arrival at Cape Town International Airport. Bird watching
begins at Cape Point Nature Reserve and Boulders Coastal Park.
Day 3: Offshore Pelagic trip.
Day 4: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and surrounding areas in
morning; Strandfontein Wetlands in the afternoon.
Saturday, November 6: Start of the West Coast leg of the trip, as we head up
to the Langebaan Lagoon and beyond to the Strandveld region of St.
Day 5: We begin the with bird watching the coastal foothills and Berg
River estuary area. Next, we head east into the rain shadow of the
Cedarberg Mountains to bird the Tanqua Karoo.
Monday, November 8: In search of a number of arid country specialties, we
start at Tanqua Karoo on a circular route to the edge of the Cedarberg
Day 6: We start off with the the Little Karoo, known for its incredibly diverse
mix of succulent vegetation. Next, we descend to the Agulhas Plain. Also,
the Langeberg Mountains via Barrydale.
Day 7: Start early at De Hoop Reserve and Potberg Mountain. We then
take the ferry across the Breede River to the eastern sector of the Agulhas
Plain. From here, we bird across rolling wheat lands to the evergreen slopes
and indigenous forest of the Langeberg Mountains.
Day 8: We start birding the forest at Grootvadersbosch. Following a picnic
breakfast in the forest, we cut cut through the mountain range via a
spectacular pass to the Succulent Karoo. In the afternoon we cross the
rugged Outeniqua Mountains to arrive at the coastal village of Wilderness
in the heart of the Garden Route.
Friday, November 12: Full day birding the impressive indigenous forests and
several wetlands in the Wilderness Area. Following great day of birding,
flight from George to Johannesburg.
Saturday, November 13: Transition Day
(1) From Johannesburg, participants on the main trip can then head home
with most flights available that day.
(2) For those looking for more birding and excellent wildlife watching, the
extension trip flys to Nelspruit. Shortly after noon, we head towards the
southern end of Kruger National Park, allowing plenty of time to get in some
birding at Crocodile Bridge at a good try at some of the trips most colorful and
enigmatic bird species.
Kruger National Park Extension:
More details below the White-fronted Bee-eaters.
|Extension Description: Kruger National Park
Part two of the journey commences with a flight to Johannesburg from the Garden
Route to connect with a short flight to the globally acclaimed Kruger National Park.
Kruger is set in a pristine savanna below the Great Escarpment. Following the
breakup of Gondwanaland some 200 million of years ago, a geological uplift of
catatonic proportions gave rise to a treasure trove of valuable mineral wealth and a
more rich and fertile alluvial landscape. Biodiversity is unequalled anywhere else in
the sub-region. It is home to an incredible variety of plants, trees, reptiles, insect life,
mammals and birds. Kruger is classic savanna and represents wild Africa at its best.
Here you will follow roads less traveled in search of totally new birding and wildlife
viewing experiences within a matrix of scenic routes that criss cross the midsection of
this enormous National Park.
You will be sure to be struck by the sheer diversity of life around you, but you also will
enjoy the thrill of the chase, as you search for mega listings such as Southern Ground
Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard and
Secretarybird. You could also encounter the classic ‘Big Five’ mammals for which
Kruger is famous – African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhino, Lion and Leopard.
Ask us for more details!
|Main Trip Description:
Table Mountain stands astride the Cape Peninsula as a universally recognized
geological landmark associated with times long gone of global exploration.
More recently, the area's biodiversity of life and natural beauty is recognized
Here in the shadow of the main face of towering sandstone, dating back some
200 million years, lies the city of Cape Town looking west across to Robben
Island and south to the Cape of Good Hope. This spectacular landscape of
mountain splendor is home to a host of highly localized and sought after South
African endemics, such as the Cape Sugarbird and Orange-breasted Sunbird.
Beyond Cape Point and further to the south, the warm Agulhas and cold
Benguela currents converge to create a nutrient rich offshore pelagic
environment, providing some of the most spectacular pelagic birding in the
world. Aside from the seabirds, the area is rich in marine life with dolphin and
whale regularly seen on trips to the edge of the continental shelf.
To the north, in the rain shadow beyond the imposing barrier of forested
mountain ranges, lies the Great Karoo – a vast thirst land that is host to a wide
diversity of natural delights and specialist life forms that have successfully
adapted to this hot and arid environment.
This is the tapestry of the Western Cape and the start of a two part journey into
the interior of Southern Africa. Learn more about the Kruger National Park
extension trip which you will not want to miss.
Days are likely to be warm to hot, but the nights will be pleasantly cool. Rain is
unlikely except in the Cape. Clear skies in the evening will add a further
dimension of pleasure to the trip, as the southern constellations reveal
themselves for celestial enjoyment to the rhythm and beat of the African bush.
For more information
(including an easy to
contact us at
1-888-203-7464 or by
|2011 Plans: Hopefully, we will
have enough bookings to run
this trip at the prime time for this
birding route in 2011. Please
contact us early to make these