Cape Town, the settlement that once was in dispute between Dutch, French and British before it joined the British Empire, was also in the thoughts of Shaka Zulu when his massive empire wanted to conquer to tip of Africa. This strategically located piece of land allows to oversee the pass between the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans. The very particular of its location it is also translated in a very specific weather, vegetation and birds. This is a land of dramatic hillsides and mild plains, a land that combines the marvel of its unique blossom with extremely dry lands. A land that will be always also in your thoughts once you have been on it.
The area around Cape Town (Western Cape is the name of this Southern Province) is the African area with a longest list of endemics. Here, the unique Mediterranean landscapes of scrubs and semi-arid countryside, known as fynbos and karoo, host a long list of birds only to be found here. Most of these species expand their range to other areas of Southern Africa but others such as Cape Rockjumper, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Agulhas Long-billed Lark or Victorin’s Warbler are to be found only in a small area around Cape Town. Besides, Cape Town offers one of the most wonderful off shore birding in the world to be delighted by excellent set of seabirds. Here it is possible to enjoy several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters and Petrels in a unique coctail of endemics, Western Palearctic winter visitors and Antarctic species!
Our journey shall start in Cape Town, where our guests will arrive along day 1. Proper birding shall go on on day 2 with one of the popular offshores from Cape of New Hope. Here a huge variety of birdlife takes advantage of the contact of both Indian & Atlantic Oceans with the cold stream that flows from the Antarctic Ocean. During the next days the tour explores the unique exhuberance of the fynbos and the good variety of birdlife living on it. The scrubby fynbos is a unique habitat for 4.500+ endemic vascular plants and we will lucky enough to enjoy its amazing blossom. Here we will be in search of Cape Rockjumper, Cape Siskin, Cape Sugarbird, Ground Woodpecker, Knysna Warbler, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Rock Cliff-Chat to name some sought-after species. Meanwhile, we will have time to enjoy the urban colonies of African Penguins and interesting wetlands providing key species such as Antarctic Tern.
A short transfer Northwards will lead us to West Coast Nacional Park. Here, the dense coastal fynbos hosts one of best densities of the marvellous Black Harrier along with good densities of a long array of specialities including Southern Black Korhaans, Blue Cranes and Karoo Larks. Moving Eastwards we will spend 2 days at Ceres where we shall explore the endless karoo plains and the dry slopes to look for the unique birdlife living here. Along with an impressive set of Larks, the area is a well known spot for Cinnamon-breasted, Namaqua & Layard’s Warblers, Black-headed Canary and Trac-trac Chat to name a few.
Another short transfer will lead us to De Hoop Nature Reserve, where a mild landscape of coastal fynbos hosts Denham’s Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Agulhas Long-billed Lark and the uncommon Cape Griffon. Along with them, we will also enjoy a good set of endemic mammals including Cape Mountain Zebra, Bontebok and Rhebook and, if lucky, we will be granted with good views on Southern Right Whales while feeding close to the Ocean shore. Our journey shall finish at Cape Town after enjoyed a wonderful corner of Africa hosting unique plants and wildlife.
Passionate about Africa, Carles Oliver fell in love with South Africa a few days after arriving for the first time due to its incredible wildlife and the efforts of the South African society to try to sew together a country divided by decades of horrific leadership. This is a tour of short transfers, majestic scenery and excellent local food & wine. All with great facilities in one of the most sophisticated corners of Africa.
A book to know more about South Africa: Burger’s Daughter (1979) by Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014).
Day 1. Travel day from Europe. The inflight option includes a flight Barcelona-Amsterdam-Cape Town. For those clients not joining our inflight option but still arriving to Cape Town that same evening, a shutle transport will be arranged to lead them to our accommodation.
Arrival to Cape Town and short transfer to our accommodation, a few Milers South off town.
Day 2. Early breakfast in our lovely accommodation South of Cape Town. This day we will enjoy a sea trip to look for the amazing variety of sea birds off Good Hope Cape. During the day we expect to enjoy different species of Albatrosses including Shy, Black-browed and Indian Yellow-nosed. There are also good chances for Northern Royal Albatros. Sea birds are extremelly common here and we will also enjoy species such as Southern Royal Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Sooty Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Pintado Petrel, Pomarine Skua, or White-chinned Petrel among many other. Here there is also good chances for Humpback Whales and other sea mammals. In the bay, we will look also for the scarce Bank Cormorant along with Crowned & Cape Cormorants. In the afternoon we will explore False Bay Nature Reserve inside Cape Town. Here we will enjoy good numbers of wildfowl including Maccoa Duck, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, and Spotted Thick-knee but also Cape Grassbird and Little Rush Warbler.
Day 3. This day we will explore a number of locations East of the city covered by the incredible fynbos in blossom, where we will look for endemics such as Cape Rockjumper, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Sugarbird, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin, Cape Bunting, Antarctic Tern and Jackal Buzzard. Other good birds that may appear include Swee Waxbill, African Stonechat and African Penguin.
Day 4. Morning visit to the National Garden in Cape Town. This is an excellent location for forest species such as Terrestrial Brownbul, Cape Batis, Lemon Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Long-billed Crombec and, if lucky, Knysna Warbler, Forest Buzzard and Spotted Eagle Owl. In the afternoon transfer to West Coast National Park, where we will do some birding in the afternoon looking for first sights on more endemics including Blue Crane, Black Harrier, Chestnut-vented Warbler or Karoo Lark. Overnight close to West Coast National Park.
Day 5. Morning birding in West Coast National Park before transfer to Ceres, where we will spend two nights. In the morning we will look for Southern Black Korhaan, African Hoopoe, Red-faced Mousebird, Red-capped Lark, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape Shelduck, Grey-winged Francolin, Bokmakierie and, if lucky Dusky Sunbird or Red-chested Flufftail. A 90 minutes transfer will give us access to Ceres area, where will spend 2 nights.
Days 6 & 7. During these two days we will explore the extensive Karoo plains North of Ceres as well as some rocky areas. In the endless semi-arid Karoo plains we will look for Tractrac & Karoo Chats; Large-billed, Karoo Long-billed and Grey-backed Larks; Rufous-eared and Namaqua Warblers, Lark-like Bunting & Black-headed Canary among several more. The hillsides around can produce Verreaux’s Eagle, Mountain Wheatear, Cape Penduline Tit as well as Layard’s Warbler, Alpine Swift and Karoo Eremomela and, if lucky, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler. Day 7 at midday transfer to De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Day 8. Full day in De Hoop Nature Reserve, where we will enjoy a wide range of birds including Denham’s Bustard, Southern Black Korhaan, Bar-breasted Apalis, Southern Boubou, Karoo Robin Chat, Secretary Bird, Karoo Korhaan, Acacia Pied Barbet, Cape Griffon Vulture, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Cape Spurfowl, Blue Cranes and several more while enjoying wonderful views on mammals including Bontebok, Eland, Cape Mountain Zebra. This is also a wonderful place to enjoy Southern Right Whales.
Day 9. Morning birding in De Hoop Nature Reserve before our last transfer (about 150 minuts) back to Cape Town for your flight back home.
8 nights of accommodation in twin / double room, breakfast, lunches and evening meals, birding guides, ground transport, travel insurance, boat tiquets and reserve entrances / fees. Flights Barcelona / Cape Town / Barcelona are optional. All prices inlcude VAT.
Alcoholic and soft drinks are not included, any other item not listed as “INCLUDED”
Tour participants attending from our previous South African tour exploring the North East of the country will arrive via internal flight to Cape Town, and will transfered to our accommodation for the start of this itinerary the next morning. Tour participants not attending the previous tour should arrive into Cape Town along day 1 in the present tour planning.We will facilitate a transport to our accommodation to guarantee a grateful trip.
4 accommodations in this tour. We will enjoy lovely small owned B & B and lovely, comfortable countryside hotels for a great experience of birding.
You may expect a mild temperature of about 20ºC to 25ºC degrees all along the itinerary. We may have some rain during the tour.
PASSPORT, VISA & HEALTH
Nationals of most European countries are not requested for any Visa to get into South Africa. All Passports must have 6 months validity beyond the return date. There are no special health requirements to attend this itinerary. However, we recommend you to contact your local health authorities to get updated information before travel. You will be required for a International Certificate of vaccination for Yellow Fever if you have been in any infected àrea during the last five years.
2019 Tour Report
Dates: From August 15th, 2019.
Number of species seen: 247