1. Depart London on an overnight flight to Cape Town.

    • After meeting up with our guide at the airport, we transfer to our guesthouse. We aim to spend the rest of the day at the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, surely one of the finest Botanical Gardens in the world, situated on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, where Cape sugarbirds feed on the numerous proteas.
    • Accommodation: Noordhoek, Cape Town, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • We will spend a leisurely day experiencing the rugged beauty of the Peninsula with its spectacular coastline and diverse fauna & flora. We will follow the False Bay coastline to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which boasts 249 recorded bird species as well as a variety of mammals.
    • Our first port of call is Rondevlei Bird Reserve in the heart of Cape Town. This Reserve has always been a naturally occurring wetland and is still rich in bird diversity.
    • After lunch (time permitting) we will visit the Strandfontein Water Purification Plant, which was originally a naturally occurring wetland and is still rich in bird diversity.
    • Weather permitting, we will then take the spectacular cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain and enjoy a short walk across the top, where we look out for ground woodpecker and Cape rock thrush on the rocky outcrops, as well as Verreaux’s eagle and peregrine falcon.
    • Our first port of call is Hout Bay harbour, where we will be joining a boat cruise to Duiker Island, with its Cape Fur Seal colony. This 45 minute boat trip will not only show us hundreds of Cape Fur Seals but also bank cormorant, sooty shearwater and perhaps a few other pelagic birds. Southern right whales and common dolphins are often seen from this trip. We then head north to the West Coast National Park via the Tienie Versfeld Botanical Reserve. This small botanical reserve is particularly noted for its lachenalias, gladioli and babiana species.
    • We will spend the next day exploring Langebaan Lagoon and the West Coast National Park. Both have a number of habitats, which include the largest salt marsh in South Africa.
    • Accommodation: Langebaan, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • We will be taking the coastal route up to Bird Island at Lambert’s Bay, visiting the wetlands of the lower Berg River, Rocherpan Nature Reserve, Verlorenvlei wetland & Wadrif salt pan en route. The drive will take us past beautiful bays and little fishing villages. Lambert's Bay is a small town with an attractive harbour that plays a large role in South Africa’s fishing industry. Here we can view the Cape gannet colony, as well as terns, cormorants and African penguins from very close quarters. We then travel inland to the town of Clanwilliam.
    • Accommodation: Clanwilliam, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • The Cedarberg Mountains were once the hunting ground of the San people (Bushmen). Though the San no longer live in the area, they recorded their exploits in the form of remarkable rock paintings. We can visit these paintings whilst on a walk through the dramatic red sandstone rock formations that characterise the Cedarberg Mountains. After a picnic lunch we will drive further into the Cedarberg Mountains to the Stadsaal Caves.
    • After a leisurely breakfast we will be heading for the Karoo town of Worcester, where we will have an opportunity to visit the Karoo National Botanical Gardens. These gardens specialize in the succulents and hardy plants of the Karoo.
    • After a picnic lunch we drive east to Prince Albert, close to the Swartberg Mountains, with stops en route for any interesting flowers or birds we notice.
    • Accommodation: Prince Albert, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Today we will head over the Swartberg Mountains. This range with its beautiful vistas and twisted strata, separates the Great Karoo from the Little Karoo. We will arrive in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world, in the afternoon, having visited the Cango Caves.
    • Accommodation: Plettenberg Bay, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • After breakfast we will go for a walk through the lush evergreen forests of Nature’s Valley. There are many mammals and birds in the forests, like the uellow-throated woodland warbler, blue-mantled flycatcher, African emerald Cuckoo, and green woodhoopoe. We then move on to our lunch stop and the Tsitsikamma National Park, where the indigenous forest and the Indian Ocean meet. Coastal trees include cherrywood, wild saffron and milkwood, and regular sightings of dolphins and whales are made from the shore.
    • We leave the Garden Route and head south towards the notorious southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas. Good farmland birding is possible and highlights could include seeing flocks of blue cranes (the national bird of South Africa) as well as a few Stanley’s bustards and possibly even secretary birds. We will then drive through small farming communities to Hermanus.
    • Hermanus has gained worldwide recognition for its excellent land-based whale watching. During the southern spring months, southern right whales use this coastline as a safe haven in which to calve. We can watch these gentle giants from the cliff top walk. There are a number of botanical gardens and nature reserves in the Hermanus area, which play host to the most diverse and densest concentrations of endemic flora in the Western Cape.
    • Accommodation: Hermanus, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • After a morning at leisure in Hermanus with its many arts & craft shops, and perhaps more cliff-top whale watching, we will drive to the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens at Betty’s Bay. A walk around these gardens with their rich fynbos flora and range of bird species, is a wonderful and relaxed way to finish the tour, before heading for Cape Town for our return overnight flight to London.
  2. Day 15 Arrive UK

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

We stay in quality guest houses and lodges. All rooms are en suite.

Meals

All main meals are included.

Birds

We see a rich range of birdlife on our tour of the Cape and Garden Route – from Cape gannet and African penguin to the blue crane, South Africa’s national bird, and many specialities such as Karoo siskin.

  • Karoo robin
  • African emerald cuckoo
  • Ostrich
  • Cape rockjumper

Mammals

Our tour rewards us with a host of mammals, both on land and sea, and we will be taking advantage of the many land-based viewpoints from where we can watch southern right whales close inshore.

  • Cape mountain zebra
  • Vervet monkey
  • Southern right whale
  • Red hartebeest

Flora

We see an array of flowers and plants, from the fynbos vegetation around Cape Town to drought adapted succulent plants of the Karoo and vibrant displays of spring flowers at the Postberg Flower Reserve.

  • King protea
  • Botterboom
  • Restios species
  • Babiana species

Scenery

On this tour we visit an astoundingly beautiful land, with stunning scenery and a rich diversity of habitats and wildlife. Our visit is timed to see flora and birds at their best, and when whales are displaying close to shore.

Boat trips

We take a short boat cruise from Hout Bay harbour to Duiker Island to see Cape fur seals, pelagic birds and possibly cetaceans, on day five of our tour.

Other excursions

Weather permitting: we take a spectacular cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, with a short walk across the top.

At Cape Point we take a short walk or funicular ride to the old lighthouse, from where we have panoramic views of False Bay and the Boland Mountains beyond.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Cape Town – London.

  1. October 2016
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