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Lesser_Double-collared_Sunbird.jpg 15 days, starting in Cape Town and ending in Port Elizabeth.A diverse mix of Scenic and Birding delights within Seven Spectacular Habitat Types. This scenic itinerary starts in Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth – from the fynbos biome of the Western Cape via the beautiful Garden Route of Africa’s southern coastline, to Addo National Park possibly the best place to view the African Elephant in an authentic wild setting.
Our focus is the endemic birds of the area but you also have a very good chance of seeing some of Africa’s big mammals: elephant, buffalo, and lion – in a malaria-free reserve.
As with most of our tours, this tour is intended as a private, fully guided tour for a maximum of 6 persons. Because we specialize in customized private tours, we can change the itinerary or accommodations to suit your particular preferences, e.g. length of tour, luxury accommodation, routing…

ITINERARY IN BRIEF:

Tour starts in Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth

DAY 1
Fly into Cape Town International Airport where you will be met by your birding guide.
Overnight in Simon’s Town

DAY 2
Offshore Pelagic trip subject to prevailing weather conditions. Overnight in Simon’s Town

DAY 3
Bird the greater Cape Peninsula and adjacent areas. Overnight in Simon’s Town.

DAY 4
Day trip across to the other side of False Bay to Rooi Els and the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. Overnight in Simon’s Town.

DAY 5
Head north up the West Coast birding the Coastal Park and estuary areas as well as the unique dune belt vegetation. Overnight on the West Coast.

DAY 6
More birding in the West Coast. Travel up to Lambert’s Bay to view the Gannet colony. Overnight on the West Coast.

DAY 7
Journey east across the wheat belt to the Cederberg mountain range and the rain shadow beyond. Overnight at a Game Lodge in the heart of the Tanqua Karoo

DAY 8
Bird the rocky terrain and the arid Karoo in search of highly localized endemics. Overnight at the Game Lodge again.

DAY 9
Explore the forested slopes of the Langeberg mountains. Overnight on a Guest Farm on the edge of the Grootvadersbosch Forest

DAY 10
Travel across the Agulhas Plain to De Hoop and De Mond Nature Reserves. Overnight on the Guest Farm.

DAY 11
Traveling eastwards, we enter the ‘Garden Route’, a greenbelt along the southern coastline. Overnight in a Country House set in a ‘birder-friendly’ garden. Karoo

DAY 12
Several forest trails will be explored before following the coast to the Tsitsikamma National Park at the mouth of the Storm's River. Overnight at Storm’s River

DAY 13
From here we take the toll road to the malaria-free Addo Elephant Park to the north of Port Elizabeth.

DAY 14
We spend the day exploring the park in search of more bird species as well as resident mammals such as Lion, Buffalo and particularly Elephant!

DAY 15
From Addo we will return to Port Elizabeth to connect with our outbound flight to either Johannesburg or Cape Town.

ITINERARY IN FULL:

DAY 1: Cape Town

Link up with your birding guide 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 Greater Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, African Black Oystercatcher, White-fronted Plover, Pied Kingfisher and Little Egret. We head for Cape Point through the scenically delightful Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. A walk to the lighthouse along the coastal path should produce sightings of Grassbird Cape Siskin, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Bunting and Lesser Double-collared Sunbird with the possibility of Peregrine Falcon as an added bonus. Elsewhere in the reserve we will search for Bokmakierie, Southern Boubou, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite Sunbird and Common Kestrel among other species unique to the area. Next 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

Our weather dependent pelagic trip starts at 07.00 with the deep sea trawling grounds some 35 nautical miles south west of Cape Point our destination for the day. On the way out we will encounter Cape Gannet, White-chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater. Soon after rounding spectacular Cape Point itself we can expect our first sighting of Shy Albatross and either of the two Yellow-nosed Albatross (Atlantic & Indian). Crossing birds could include Sooty and Manx Shearwater, Cory Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Artic Tern, Wilson’s 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 Spectacled Petrel to the pelagic list. Other possibilities for February include Great-winged Petrel, Great Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Sub-Antarctic Skua and Pomerine Skua. Dolphin, Whale, Turtle, Cape Fur Seal and the odd Sunfish sighting could add a further dimension of excitement to the day. Overnight in Simon’s Town.

DAY 3: Cape Peninsula

Birding commences with an early start for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in search of Olive Pigeon, Southern Boubou Shrike, Cape Batis, Dusky Flycatcher, Black Saw-wing Swallow, African and Black Goshawk, Olive Thrush, Sombre Bulbul, Cape Robin Chat, Forest and Cape Canary, Knysna Scrub Warbler, Black & Alpine Swift, Cape White-eye and Spotted Eagle Owl. Later in the morning we will visit a number of wetlands and settling ponds that constitute a clutch of sighting opportunities for Southern Pochard, SA Shelduck, Red-billed Teal, Maccoa and Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Shoveller, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Purple Swamphen, Greater Flamingo, White-throated Swallow, African Pipit, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Le Valliant’s and Zitting Cisticola.
Later in the day we work our way back to Simon’s Town via a small wetland in the hope of picking up on Painted and African Snipe if water levels are right. Overnight in Simon’s Town.

DAY 4: Southern Coast

Travel to the eastern side of False Bay where the bird mix is different: Target species will be Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Rockjumper, Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrush, and if we’re extremely lucky Hottentot Buttonquail, and another chance to spot some of the specials such as Neddicky, Cape Siskin and Swee Waxbill. Overnight in Simon’s Town.

DAY 5 & 6: West Coast

Our route early the next day follows the sweep of the Atlantic to the West Coast Park and surrounding area. The low lying coastal scrub can prove highly rewarding at times and we can expect to see Ostrich, Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Karoo Lark, Cape Francolin, Pied Starling, Namaqua Dove, Greywing Francolin, Cape Bulbul, White-backed Mousebird, Yellow Canary and White-throated Seedeater.
Over the two days we have here we will visit several sites both in the West Coast Park and outside. Visits to both bird hides overlooking the exposed tidal flats of the Langebaan Lagoon will ensure excellent views of a wide variety of terns and waders in the summer months if the tides are right. Moving further afield we will search for Cape Long-billed Lark, Capped Wheatear, Ant-eating Chat, Grey-backed Finch Lark and Sickle-winged Chat in the open wheat fields before our overnight stop at a fishing village on the coast.
If time permits we will head up the coast as far as Lambert’s Bay to visit the Cape Gannet colony.

DAY 7 & 8: Tanqua Karoo

Heading inland the next day we will arrive in the rain shadow of the Cedarberg Mountains to commence our search for a suite of 'specials' unique to the arid Karoo including Karoo Chat, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig's Bustard and Karoo Eremomela. From here our routing takes us across a spectacular pass to the sea facing slopes of the Langeberg mountains where we will bird patches of relic forest looking for Forest Buzzard, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Forest Canary, Swee Waxbill, Knysna Scrub Warbler, Olive and possibly Knysna Woodpecker if we are lucky. We spend 2 nights at a game lodge in the heart of the Tanqua Karoo, famed for its clear night skies studded with stars.

DAY 9 & 10: Grootvadersbosch

Our journey takes us further east through the succulent Karoo and the spectacular Cape Folded Mountains to relic patches of indigenous forest fringing the south facing slopes of the Langeberg mountain range. Birding along the way will embrace a number of localized opportunities as well as time in the late afternoon to bird the forested area and streamside vegetation on a private farm. We spend 2 nights here near the Grootvadersbosch Forest Reserve.

After an early breakfast we head out onto the sprawling Agulhas Plain in search of Blue Crane, Karoo Korhaan, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Capped Wheatear, Jackal Buzzard, Crowned Lapwing, African Pipit and Cape Vulture in the vicinity of De Hoop Nature Reserve. Here we will look for Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Boubou, Knysna Woodpecker, Southern Tchagra, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Spotted and Water Thicknee, Klaas’s Cuckoo and Hoopoe. We will scan the open expanse of water and shoreline for a host of water and shorebirds. Aside from the birdlife we can expect to see the endangered Bontebok and comical Gray Rhebok as well as Africa’s largest antelope, the Eland. Our route takes us on to De Mond to search for Caspian and the diminutive and highly localized Damara Tern before heading back across the Agulhas Plain to Swellendam for the night. If conditions prove suitable we will try for Fiery-necked Nightjar and Wood Owl after dark. Overnight back at Grootvadersbosch.

DAY 11: Garden Route: Wilderness

We now enter the Garden Route as we meander along the lush coastal plain to the lake district of Wilderness. This is home to the Knysna Turaco and Narina Trogon as well as a number of other species unique to the area such as Chorister and Starred Robin. Overnight in a delightful Country House set in a birder friendly garden where you may view turacos whilst having breakfast!

DAY 12: Garden Route: Tsitsikamma

Several forest trails will be explored before following the coast to the Tsitsikamma National Park at the mouth of the Storm's River. We overnight in a small country hotel here.

DAY 13 & 14: Addo National Elephant Park

From here we take the toll road to the Addo Elephant Park to the north of Port Elizabeth. During our 2 night stay we can expect close up and almost too personal views of African Elephant as well as Cape Buffalo and possibly Lion along with a mix of antelope if viewing conditions are suitable.

DAY 15: Port Elizabeth – Fly home

From Addo we will return to Port Elizabeth to connect with our outbound flight via either Johannesburg or Cape Town.

Key Species: African Penguin, Bank and Crowned Cormorant, Black-browed and Shy Albatross, Atlantic and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Great Shearwater, Pintado Petrel, Subantarctic Skua, Spectacled Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Black Oystercatcher, White-fronted Sandplover, Swift Tern, Little Tern, Jackal Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, African Goshawk, Verreaux's Eagle, Cape Rockjumper, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Rock Thrush, Victorin's Warbler, Grassbird, Grey-backed Cisticola, Sombre Bulbul and Cape Bulbul, Spotted Eagle Owl, Lemon Dove, Tambourine Dove, Cape and Pririt Batis, Olive and Knysna Woodpecker, Forest Buzzard, Terrestrial Bulbul, Forest and Brimstone Canary, Lesser and Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Grey Cuckooshrike, Narina Trogon, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Karoo Chat, Karoo Eremomela, Trac Trac Chat, Layard's and Chestnut-vented Tit Babbler, Mountain Wheatear, Namaqua and Spotted Prinia, Dusky Sunbird, Yellow Canary, Lark-like Bunting, Black and Marsh Harrier, Crowned Eagle, Knysna Turaco, Green Woodhoopoe, Black-headed Oriole, Half-collared and Giant Kingfisher, African Black Duck, African Finfoot, Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig's and Denham's Bustard, Blue Crane, Red-chested Flufftail, Wood Owl and African Fish Eagle.

Tour details:

For this very special tour, we like to use accommodation specially handpicked for proximity to birding localities as well as standard of comfort and hospitality, in small family-run Guest Houses and National Parks accommodation (in Addo). Meals often reflect traditional food and wine so you get to experience the local SA hospitality and culture.
Transport: a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for birders’ luggage!

Pricing:

Our guided tours are cost individually depending on the time of year and number of people on the tour, and are fully inclusive.

Our price includes:

  • All accommodation based on 2 people sharing a double or twin-bedded room with private bathroom en suite. Single supplement options are available
  • Three meals per day - breakfast at the establishment, dinner either there or in a local restaurant, and lunch is usually in the field or en route. We carry 1 litre of bottled water per person per day with us in the vehicle.
  • Entrance fees, activities as per the itinerary
  • A fully registered and experienced birding guide/driver
  • All transport costs in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for birders’ luggage
Insurances, international flights & visas, and personal items such as phone calls and laundry are not included

The good news is that there is no malaria in the area that this tour passes through!

PLEASE NOTE that Signature Tours’ Standard Terms & Conditions apply.
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Associations

Tour Associate SATSA Bonded
Tour Associate Wildlife and Environmental
Society of South Africa
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Tour Associate FTTSA
Tour Associate Responsible Tourism Cape Town

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Susanne, Hawaii
Now it seems like so long ago we were with you in Cape Town.  Thank you for looking after us so well and for showing us all the beautiful sights.  We had a great time on the safari too and got to see lots of African wildlife.
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