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Tours per country South Africa

South Africa

Because of the combination of wonderful birding and mammalwatching, excellent infrastructures and great lodges, South Africa keeps being a real and actual classic for any birdwatcher or nature lover all over the world. Over 140 species of birds are endemic to Southern Africa, the highest concentration in the continent. Many of them are confined to the arid and semi-arid western regions or to the uniqye "fynbos"and "Karoo" succulent habitat.

In the other hand, the spectacular Kruger National Park and forested habitats around report hundreds of different species beside magnificient specialities such as Southern Bald Ibis and Southern Ground Hornbill beside a great variety of mammals including the Fig Five!

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FULL ITINERARY

Day 1: Magoebaskloof and Polokwane
During our first day we will pick up tour participants from Johanesburg International Airport or from a nearby hotel/B&B. For those tour participants landing that same morning remember to arrive before noon! After a short meet and greet we’ll get all the luggage in the vehicle and head straight to our first destination, the town of Polokwane. A short stop at the Polokwane Game Reserve should hopefully net us the Southern African endemic, Short-clawed Lark. 
We continue to our destination in Magoebaskloof were we will have our first taste of forest birding, species to look out for include Knysna Turaco, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Gorgeous and Black-fronted Bush-Shrikes, Swee Waxbill and with luck we could even find African Wood-Owl after dinner.  We will spend some time in the gardens of Kurisa Moya as well as the bird hide on the property.  

Day 2: Magoebaskloof
We’ll start the day with some more forest birding and if we missed Short-clawed Lark the previous day we might even pop in at another stakeout nearby where we also have a good chance of finding the elusive Shelley’s Francolin. We will stop for a quick lunch at a roadside café.
 Forest birding can be hard work but often the reward is worth its weight in gold, with tantalizing species such as Cape Batis, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Olive Bush-Shrike, Lemon Dove and African Emerald Cuckoo waiting to be found. 


Day 3 & 4: Kruger National Park
After some more birding around the magnificent Magoebaskloof we head for the savannahs of the famous Kruger National Park with the odd birding stops and lunch break en-route. Once we enter the park proper our focus, while still on birds, will also divert a bit to the possibility of sightings of any of the Big 5. We will explore some of the smaller dirt roads and thereby keeping off the main tar road for the best birding experience.
The Greater Kruger conservation area includes vast areas of adjacent Mozambique and is one of Africa’s most famous parks. We will explore the superb road system in an attempt to locate big game, including the legendary “Big 5” - Lion, African Elephant, Leopard, African Buffalo and White Rhinoceros. Kruger will be our best opportunity to watch these spectacular animals in their natural habitat and some of them we may encounter in very large numbers and at very close quarters. 
Of special interest here is some of the larger terrestrial birds as well as birds of prey that are difficult or near impossible to find reliably outside protected areas such as Kruger, these include Kori Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, Lappet-faced Vulture, Secretarybird and Saddle-billed Stork. Other typical bushveld birds that we will encounter are Southern Yellow-billed and Southern Red-billed Hornbills, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, Brown-headed Parrot, Purple-crested Turaco, Crested and Swainson’s Francolin, Whitecrowned Lapwing, Grey-headed Bushshrike and African Mourning Dove.


A night drive through the park may encounter some of the rarer nocturnal mammals such as African Civet, Small-spotted and Blotched Genets, Side-striped Jackal, the beautiful Serval, White-tailed Mongoose and African Wild Cat, along with several species of owl and nightjar. These include Spotted and Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls, African Scops Owl, Southern White-faced Owl, and Square-tailed and Fiery-necked Nightjars.
Overnight:  Kruger National Park – Letaba Rest Camp (2 nights) on a B&B basis
 
Days 5 – 8:  Satara Camp and Skukuza Camp – Kruger National Park
Travelling to the southern part of the Kruger National Park we will concentrate on slightly different habitats with the focus on areas of open grassland, waterholes and broad-leaved woodland hosting species such as African Cuckoo-Hawk, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Green-capped Eremomela, Bennet’s Woodpecker and even Bushveld Pipit. The damp depressions around streams sometimes yield Black Coucal and in season after good rain, the odd Corncrake. This area is particularly good for the elusive Black Rhino and Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest. 
Overnight: Kruger National Park   -Satara Rest Camp  (2 nights) Skukuza Rest Camp (2 nights)on a B&B basis
 
Day 9: Kruger National Park to Wakkerstroom
We have a fairly long but scenic drive from the Kruger National Park, where we will do a last bit of birding before breakfast, to the small hamlet of Wakkerstroom, which stands in stark contrast to the habitats we’ve visited thus far. 
Wakkerstroom in situated on the Highveld plateau dominated by rolling hills and upland grassland. Several special birds occur here, with a good number of them being endemic and many are difficult to find elsewhere. 
We should arrive in time for some afternoon birding and usually our first port of call is the marsh just on the outskirts of town, here we have a good chance of finding skulkers like Little Rush Warbler, African Rail and who knows even a Red-chested Flufftail if we are very lucky. Commoner species include African Purple Swamphen, Purple Heron, Cape Shoveller, Cape Weaver and we often find Grey-crowned Cranes roosting here in the late afternoons. 
Dinner will be in town at one of the restaurants.

 
Day 10 : Wakkerstroom
After an early morning coffee we head out in search of Wakkerstroom’s to very special and endemic Larks, Rudd’s and Botha’s, the former critically endangered. In our search for these two dowdy
denizens of the grasslands we’ll also be on the lookout for their more common cousins, Eastern Clapper, Eastern Long-billed, Pink-billed and Red-capped Larks. 
Wakkerstroom isn’t just about LBJ’s though Yellow-breasted Pipit, Blue Korhaan and Cape Canary will add a subtle touch of colour and in the village the striking Bokmakierie is usually an easy find alongside the peculiar Red-throated Wryneck. 
We’ll also visit a local sit in search of White-bellied Korhaan, Denham’s Bustard and at another spot we’ll look for the enigmatic African Rock Pipit and Buff-streaked Chat. Some of the other birds that we might encounter include Bald Ibis, Jackal Buzzard, African Pied Starling, Cape Crow, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Grey-winged and Red-winged Francolins and the ‘often-heard-but-rarely-seen’ African Quail-Finch. 
Dinner will be in town at one of the restaurants.

 
Day 11: Wakkerstroom to Mkuze
A quick spot of birding in the morning, for birds we might have dipped on the previous day before we pack the car and continue our journey south, this time to one of Kwazulu-Natal’s premier birding spots, Mkuze Game Reserve. 
We should arrive in the Mkuze area mid- to late afternoon and after arrival in the park we’ll waste no time finding some of the spectacular birds that call this remarkable area home. A possible drive down to the Sand Forest, a dry and localized type of forest that is home to several spectacular species such a Pink-throated Twinspot, Four-coloured Bushshrike, Neergaard’s Sunbird, Crested Guineafowl and Rudd’s Apalis, before we head  to our accommodation outside the park.
Dinner at Ghost Mountain Inn

 
Day 12: Full day Mkuze National Park
We have a full day ahead to explore the incredible diversity of Mkuze, not just birds but also a whole host of fascinating mammals, from one of Africa’s smallest antelope the Suni to the largest mammals, the African Elephant. African Wild Dog sighting is a very real possibility as is sighting of Cheetah and even Serval. 
Birding wise we’ll keep an eye out for Black-bellied Bustard, Senegal Lapwing, several Vulture species, Martial Eagle, White-crested Helmetshrike, Grey Penduline Tit and at one of the large wetlands, species such as Pink-backed and Great White Pelican, African Openbill, Yellow-billed Stork, Goliath Heron and Whiskered Tern. Several good hides are situated in the park, mostly overlooking waterholes and these can be worth a visit, sometimes producing memorable moments. 

 
Day 13: Mtunzini
We’ll spend the morning birding in the gardens of the accommodation where birding can be topnotch, we often find birds such as Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Eastern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Green Twinspot, Eastern Nicator and Purple-crested Turaco in camp. 


After breakfast we’ll head out and make our way to Mtunzini. En route to Mtunzini we’ll stop at several wetlands near Mtubatuba where we might add the likes of Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Redheaded Quelia and many more. 
We’ll arrive in Mtunzini around lunch and head out shortly afterwards in the hope of finding Palmnut Vulture, usually a good spot for them. From Mtunzini we’ll head to Amatikulu Nature Reserve where we’ll look for Swamp Nightjar, Broad-tailed Warbler, Bokmakierie, Crested Barbet, Croaking Cisticola and Brown-backed Honeybird. We’ll arrive at our lodge in Eshowe later that evening. 


Day 14: Ongoye Forest and Dlinza Forest
Our first stop today will be at Ongoye forest, a remnant patch of coastal scarp forest which straddles the hills for about 20km between Eshowe and Empangeni. This is the only spot in Southern Africa where Green Barbet can be found. The forest here is also good for Green Twinspot, Narina Trogon, Chorister Robin-Chat, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, African Crowned Eagle and Striped Pipit. 
We’ll use a different route back to Eshowe, travelling through rural Zululand, giving us an exciting and eye-opening perspective on the everyday life of the Zulu people. Back in Eshowe we’ll enjoy lunch before heading out of town to a good stakeout for Southern Tchagra and we’ll also enjoy more forest birding at another nearby forest. Dlinza forest with its aerial boardwalk will be our birding spot of choice this afternoon.
Overnight: Birds of Paradise B&B (Eshowe) 
 
Day 15: Departure
Early morning birding in the gardens and after breakfast we will travel to Durban King Shaka International airport for your onward flight. Please check our extension to Cape Town if you want to arrange it.

See Cape Town extension full itinerary

info tour

Price per person without flights:

   4870€*

Price per person with flights:

    6150€*

single room surcharge:
450€
deposit:
950€

 

    15th to 29th October, 2020            

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Tour lenght: 15 days, 14 nights

Departing / Arrival city: Johanesburg - Durban (if chosing the option without flights)

Walking effort: None

Tour leader: Carles Oliver + local guides

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* price in double/twin room including all ground services and all flights during the trip. This price can have slight changes depending on flight fees at the moment of booking your seat.


itinerary

Day 1.   Johanesburg International Airport to Magoebaskloof 
Day 2.    Magoebaskloof 
Day 3.    Magoebaskloof to Kruger National Park 
Days 4 -8.  Kruger National Park 
Day 9.   Kruger National Park to Wakkerstroom 
Day 10.    Wakkerstroom area 
Day 11.   Wakkerstroom to Mkuze area 
Day 12.    Mkuze 
Day 13.  Mkuze area to Eshowe 
Day 14.   Eshowe / Mtunzini
Day 15.   Eshowe to Durban International Airport 

See extension to Cape Town