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

    • After meeting up with our guide at Cape Town airport, we transfer to our guest house.
    • The rest of the day will then be spent at the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, 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. In addition to the extensive plant types on show, the birds are also excellent.
    • Accommodation: 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. From the African penguin colony at Simon’s Town we follow the False Bay coastline to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
    • 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. Birdwatching is from five hides, two observation towers and a series of paths.
    • After lunch 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.
    • After an early breakfast we will be heading for the Karoo town of Worcester, where we have a leisurely walk around the Karoo National Botanical Gardens. After a picnic lunch in the gardens we will continue north to the heart of the Great Karoo and the Karoo National Park.
    • Accomomodation: Karoo National Park Cottages, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • We will be going on a morning game drive, where lion, black rhino, Cape mountain zebra, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and many species of smaller mammals may be sighted. Short-toed rock thrush, cinnamon-breasted warbler, mountain wheatear and African rock pipit are a few of the birds to look out for. The Park is renowned for its impressive landscapes and large variety of plants that have adapted to the harsh climate.
    • We will go for a late afternoon walk, where we will look out for the miniature jibiscus flowers, the cancer bush, wild rosemary, Karoo gold and Karoo violet. (The walks are in the company of an armed guide / guard.)
    • We leave the Karoo National Park after having been on an early morning walk around the fossil trail. It will be a 300 km drive through the Settler towns of Aberdeen and Graaff-Reinet en route for the Mountain Zebra National Park. We will spend some time at the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park. Blesbok, black wildebeest, klipspringer and red hartebeest are a few of the mammal species for us to look out for, along with a good variety of birds and reptiles.
    • Accomomodation: Mountain Zebra National Park, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • We will spend the day exploring this 28,000 hectare reserve, with its rich flora and birdlife. Some bird species to look out for are Layard’s titbabbler, sickle-winged chat, Namaqua warbler, fairy flycatcher and pale-winged starling. Cheetah, blesbok, aardwolf, black-backed jackal and Cape buffalo are a few of the mammals that we will be looking out for.
    • After breakfast we will set off for the Addo Elephant National Park, where we can find elephant, lion, leopard, black rhino, spotted hyena, warthog, duiker, Burchell’s zebra and eland. The park is home to over 200 bird species, including the magnificent Verreaux’s eagle and secretary bird. Southern tchagra, emerald-spotted wood-dove, green wood-hoopoe and black-collared barbet are some of the birds that can be seen around the main camp.
    • A night drive will be included on one of the evenings that we are in the Park. You could expect to see some of the nocturnal creatures like springhare, scrub hare, porcupine and polecat, as well as owls and nightjars.
    • Accommodation: Addo Elephant National Park, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • Today we will be taking a leisurely drive through the Garden Route, past inland lakes, beautiful sweeping beaches and large estuarine mud flats, the final destination of many migrating birds from Europe and Western Asia. En route to Plettenberg Bay we will stop at the Tsitsikamma National Park, where the indigenous forest and the Indian ocean meet. The Tsitsikamma National Park has over 200 bird species and regular sightings of common dolphins and southern right whales are made from the shore.
    • Accommodation: Plettenberg Bay, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • Today we take a 3 hour, leisurely boat trip up the Keurbooms River and into the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, where we just sit back and look out for kingfishers, fish eagles and other riverine birds, while the boat takes us 10 kilometres into the forest. After a picnic lunch on the banks of the Groot River at Natures Valley, we walk through the lush evergreen forests of the western part of the Tsitsikamma National Park.
    • We will be spending the day in Knysna and the Knysna Lagoon National Park. We will visit the Knysna Heads, where the lagoon (estuary) flows in to the Indian Ocean. We will also have some time to do some bird watching over the tidal mud flats that attract many migrating birds.
    • We will head inland after lunch to the Diepwalle Forest, a known haunt of the last few remaining forest elephants, although the chance of us seeing one of these great animals is slim!
    • After breakfast we head for Mossel Bay and the Diaz Museum. This interesting museum depicts the Portuguese influence on Southern Africa. We then enter the ‘bread basket of South Africa’. This area of rich fertile farmland and quaint villages is steeped in local history. We will stop for an early lunch at Swellendam before the long drive to Hermanus.
    • Accommodation: Hermanus, 1-night on full board basis.
    • We start today with a walk at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve with its’ wealth of indigenous flora. The area has one of the densest concentrations of fynbos in the Western Cape, with many beautiful ericas, proteas and pincushions. After a short drive we will walk around the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. A walk around these gardens with its rich fynbos flora and views out to sea, is a wonderful way to spend our last afternoon, before heading for Cape Town for our return overnight flight to London.
  2. Day 16 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 guesthouses and lodges. All rooms are en suite.

Meals

All main meals are included.

Birds

Bird life is prolific at this time of year, resident species being swelled by the Palaearctic and African migrants arriving at the Cape.

  • Cape francolin
  • African purple swamphen
  • African fish eagle
  • Secretary bird

Mammals

We see a wide range of game, our visits to The Mountain Zebra and the Addo Elephant National Parks being especially rewarding and bringing the possibility of spotting the Big Five.

  • Cape mountain zebra
  • African elephant
  • Aardvark
  • Cape buffalo

Reptiles and amphibians

We keep our eyes open for the region’s cold-blooded inhabitants.

  • Puff adder
  • Boomsland (tree snake)
  • Knysna dwarf chameleon

Flora

We see an array of flowers and plants, from the fynbos vegetation around Cape Town to the eye-catching aloes and drought specialist species of the Karoo.

  • Karoo acacia
  • Karoo violet
  • King protea
  • Crassula species

Scenery

On this tour we visit an astoundingly beautiful land, with stunning scenery and a rich diversity of habitats, from the rugged scenery of the Cape, through the dramatic Karoo and the indigenous forests of the Garden Route.

Boat trips

We take a three hour boat trip up the Keurbooms River and into the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve.

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. January 2017
  2. January 2015
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