An 8 night /9-day birding focused tour taking in the highlights and hotspots of the Western Cape Province, visiting the Cape Peninsula, Swellendam, Ceres and Langebaan.
Arrive at Cape Town International and head straight to the famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, located on the slopes of Table Mountain and commanding spectacular views over the Cape Flats and the Hottentots-Holland Mountains in the distance. Here we will search for birds such as Cape Sugarbird, Cape Spurfowl, Olive Thrush, Swee Waxbill, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Black Sparrowhawk, Malachite and Orange-breasted Sunbirds, Forest Canary and others before heading on to a charming guest house in Simons Town on the Cape Peninsula, where we spend the next two nights.
The Peninsula is ours to explore over the next day and a half. Highlights include the African Penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach, Cape Point Nature Reserve and the south-western most tip of Africa, Kommetjie and the Strandfontein Water Treatment Works. The Cape has notoriously fickle weather and we will plan each day’s activities according to the weather at the time. There’s a range of birds to be seen, including Jackal Buzzard, Cape Siskin, Ostrich, Cape Robin-Chat, Grey-backed Cisticola, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Bulbul, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Greater Flamingo and marine species such as African Black Oystercatcher, Cape Gannett, Cape, Bank, White-breasted and Crowned Cormorants, and perhaps even White-chinned Petrel or Sooty Shearwater offshore. Mammals to be seen on the Peninsula include Chacma Baboon, Cape Mountain Zebra, Eland and Bontebok. For those wanting to do a pelagic birding trip we’ll have two days available.
After an optional morning activity we’ll drive around the edge of False Bay and on to Rooi Els via one of the area’s most scenic drives to look for Cape Rockjumper near Hangklip on the eastern point. On a fine day the views are spectacular, with the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the rocks below us on one side and the Kogelberg Range rising high above us on the other side. Then we’ll head inland and drive on to Swellendam, the third oldest town in the country. This gives us access to Bontebok National Park and De Hoop Nature Reserve on the Agulhas Plain, where we’ll look for species such as Agulhas Long-billed and Agulhas Clapper Larks, Southern Tchagra, Southern Black Korhaan, Karoo Korhaan, Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustard, Black Harrier and others. Mammals to be seen include Bontebok, Eland, Grey Rhebuck and Yellow Mongoose, while Southern Right Whales are common off-shore between August and November. We’ll spend our time birding and exploring in the area, scheduling Bontebok National Park for the afternoon of arrival, De Hoop for our full day and the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve for the morning of departure, if time allows.
After breakfast and a possible visit to Grootvadersbosch, we’ll head some distance north-west to Ceres, an agricultural town in the fertile Ceres Valley. On our full day here we depart early on an excursion into the desolate Tankwa Karoo, which will take up most of the day. This desolate region of sand, gravel plains and rocky outcrops holds a surprising number of endemic birds and we’ll be on the lookout for species such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Black-eared Sparrowlark, Black-headed Canary, Karoo Eremomela, Karoo Korhaan, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Namaqua Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher and the highly sought-after Cinnamon-breasted Warbler. This trip will take up most of the day, and we’ll take packed meals and drinks with us. We’ll return in the late afternoon for some time to rest before dinner.
In the morning, after a quick trip up the Gydo Pass to search for Protea Seedeater, we’ll drive to Langebaan Lagoon on the West Coast, where we stay at a guest house in the town. Langebaan is adjacent to the West Coast National Park, which encompasses the shallow, azure-hued Langebaan Lagoon. On our full day we will spend our time exploring the lagoon, renowned for migrating waders, and the West Coast National Park, which provides some good Strandveld birding. Birding highlights here include Ostrich, Grey-winged Francolin, Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Clapper and Cape Long-billed Larks, Karoo Robin, Cape Penduline-Tit and a host of wader species. During the August and September flower season this area is particularly attractive. Mammals to be seen include Bat-eared Fox, Small Grey Mongoose, Cape Grysbok, Springbok, Red Hartebeest and Cape Mountain Zebra.
After a full morning activity we depart for Cape Town and the airport, some two hours drive away, with stops to view Table Mountain on the way if time permits.
This is a birding focused tour, with an emphasis on the endemics, near-endemics and Fynbos specials. There’s also some great wildlife to be seen, including the endemic Bontebok, Eland, Cape Grysbok, Southern Right Whale, Chacma Baboon etc.
What is included?
- All breakfasts and dinners
- Ground transport
- Bottled water in vehicles whilst travelling
- Entrance fees
- Personalised checklists
- Specialist guide fees
What is not included?
- All airfares
- Travel and medical insurance
- All drinks
- Optional excursions where applicable
- Items of a personal nature
Lawson's has nearly three decades of experience in running dedicated natural history tours in Africa.