Day 1 Depart UK
- On arrival in Cape Town we transfer to our hotel before spending the afternoon at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Here we walk in the renowned gardens to learn about the indigenous fynbos flora while looking out for endemic bird species that include orange-breasted sunbird and Cape sugarbird.
- On one day we visit Rondevlei Bird Reserve to see some of the many bird species that have been recorded there, before making our way to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where we see mammals that include chacma baboon, Cape mountain zebra and antelopes such as bontebok and eland. Before returning to our hotel, we visit Simon’s Town, which is home to a colony of African or jackass penguins.
- We spend another day in West Coast National Park, where the tranquil Langebaan Lagoon is an excellent spot to watch migrant waders. Two of the key species that we look for here are southern black bustard and African black oystercatcher.
- Accommodation: Cape Peninsula, 3-nights on full board basis.
- Leaving the Cape Peninsula this morning, we follow the spectacular coastline east to Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens to enjoy a short walk though its rich fynbos flora.
- At Hermanus we stop to go birding and botanising along the clifftops while watching for sea birds as well as southern right whales offshore. We continue through the Riviersonderendberge to our overnight stop in the town of Swellendam in the Overberg. Along the way we may be fortunate enough to see pale chanting goshawk or blue crane, the national bird of South Africa.
- Accommodation: Swellendam, 1-night on full board basis.
- Starting with a leisurely drive over the Tradouws Pass to Barrydale, we spend the day exploring the arid Little Karoo region. This area is overlooked by spectacular mountains and in the afternoon we look for Cape rockjumper and Verreaux’s eagle high up on the Swartberg Plateau, and admire the unique flora and endless vistas.
- Accommodation: Oudtshoorn, 1-night on full board basis.
- The next two days take us through the evergreen forests of the Garden Route. As we drive from the Little Karoo to Wilderness, we make numerous stops to see which migratory birds have arrived from the Northern Hemisphere. Driving along the Garden Route rewards us with a backdrop of inland lakes, beautiful sweeping beaches and large estuarine mudflats.
- On our full day here we visit Nature’s Valley and Tsitsikamma National Park. Narina trogon, lemon dove and Knysna woodpecker are just three of the many forest birds we search for in Nature’s Valley, while in Tsitsikamma as well as bird watching we also look for dolphins and whales that can be seen from the shore where indigenous forest and Indian Ocean meet.
- Accommodation: Plettenberg Bay, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We leave the Garden Route early this morning and drive to Port Elizabeth to take a flight to Johannesburg, from where we drive east into Mpumalanga. Our overnight stop is situated in the countryside just outside Dullstroom. Birds we may see here include southern bald ibis, Gurney’s sugarbird, wattled and blue cranes, Denham’s bustard and buff-streaked chat.
- Accommodation: Mpumlanga, 1-night on full board basis.
- Our route from Mpumalanga crosses Long Tom Pass and the beautiful landscape of the highveld en route to Kruger National Park. We stop at Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondavels where we look for bush blackcap, gorgeous bush-shrike, and the rare endemic blue swallow that breeds in this area.
- In Kruger National Park we spend five nights between two different camps in order to make the most of our stay. Each day follows a similar pattern: we rise early and head out for a two hour drive before breakfast, then take a longer drive before returning to camp to rest during the heat of the day. Later afternoon we head back out for another vehicle safari.
- During our stay in Kruger we will be on the lookout for the five most iconic mammals: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and black rhino. But we won’t forget the smaller species either as we search for their five little counterparts: ant-lion, elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise and rhinoceros beetle.
- Accommodation: Kruger National Park, 5-nights on full board basis.
- Before we leave Kruger we have one last opportunity for an early morning drive to spot any birds or mammals that may have eluded us until now.
- Exiting Kruger via the Malelane Gate, we head west across the highveld to Johannesburg for an overnight flight back to London.
Day 16 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay in a mixture of small hotels, guesthouses and national park accommodation. In the national parks our accommodation is usually in either chalets or rondavels. All rooms have an en suite bathroom.
All meals are included.
We visit several distinct habitats for birding. In the Cape there are formal botanic gardens, bird reserves and lagoons, while along the Garden Route we search for birds in lush evergreen forests before heading to the grasslands of Mpumalanga and the savannah of Kruger National Park, where 507 species of bird have been recorded.
- Cape sugarbird
- African black oystercatcher
- Gorgeous bush-shrike
- African hawk-eagle
The majority of our mammal watching takes place in Kruger National Park where over 147 species of mammals have been sighted. However we have opportunities to see animals in the many other reserves and parks we visit en route to Kruger, and at Hermanus on the coast we hope to spot southern right whales.
- African elephant
- Cape mountain zebra
As this itinerary includes a variety of different habitats, we are treated to an ever-changing landscape of flora as we travel from the Cape to Kruger National Park. In the Cape we see the region’s unique fynbos, while Mpumalanga’s pristine grasslands hold more than 200 different varieties of grass in addition to a wide diversity of other plants.
We start the trip in the rugged scenery of the Cape Peninsula, then pass through the semi-arid Little Karoo surrounded by spectacular mountains en route to the evergreen forests and sweeping bays of the Garden Route, to end on the classic African savannah of Kruger National Park.
Price includes scheduled flights London-Cape Town and Johannesburg-London, plus a domestic flight Port Elizabeth-Johannesburg.
Minibus or four-wheel-drive vehicle driven by the tour leader.
As we cover many different areas of this vast country we experience a mix of climatic zones. The Cape is generally cooler than the bush of Kruger. Daytime temperatures in the Cape are typically 15-20⁰C, while in Kruger they may reach over 30⁰C.