- Depart London on an overnight flight to Cape Town.
- On arrival in Cape Town, we meet our guide at the airport and transfer to our hotel.
- After lunch we make our way to Kirstenbosch National Botanical gardens, surely one of the finest botanical gardens in the world. Situated on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, the gardens cover 560 hectares of land, with several walks offering birdwatchers a variety of habitats.
- Accommodation: Cape Peninsula, 3-nights on full board basis.
- Today we spend a full day in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Our day here will be spent observing the rich diversity of flora and fauna in the Cape Floral Kingdom and exploring the birding and botanical walks on offer within the reserve. We will also have the opportunity to visit the penguin colony at Boulder Beach.
- This morning we follow the spectacular coastline from the Cape Peninsula via False Bay and on to Betty’s Bay to visit the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. Here we take a short walk through the gardens looking out for some of the 96 recorded bird species.
- Once in Hermanus, we have lunch and then walk along the coast watching the whales and sea birds from the cliff tops. (Whale watching is the most rewarding during the months of August & September).
- After visiting the Fernkloof Nature Reserve with its wealth of indigenous flora, we then return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass and the scenic Hottentots Holland Mountains where we look out for Cape rockjumpers and Verraux’s eagles.
- After breakfast we visit Rondevlei Bird Reserve, a naturally occurring wetland, rich in bird diversity. Birdwatching is from five hides, two observation towers and a series of paths. Water birds are well represented here with a few specials including the purple swamphen, black crake and the little bittern.
- We then leave the Cape Peninsula West Coast National Park, where the spring flowers have a worldwide reputation. We visit the Postberg Flower Reserve, which is only open to the public for a few months of the year.
- Accommodation: Langebaan, West Coast National Park, 1-night on full board basis.
- We drive up the West Coast to Lambert’s Bay, a small town with an attractive harbour, via the wetlands of Velddrift and Eland’s Bay. Once at Lambert’s Bay we can view the Cape gannet colony, as well as observing terns, cormorants and penguins from very close quarters. We will then drive to Clanwilliam and the Ramskop Flower Reserve.
- On our full day in Clanwilliam we explore the Cedarberg Mountains, which were once the hunting ground of the San people (Bushmen). Although the San no longer live in the area, they recorded their exploits in the form of remarkable rock paintings. We can visit these paintings while on a walk through the dramatic red sandstone rock formations that characterise the Cederberg Mountains.
- Accommodation: Clanwilliam, Cederberg Mountains, 2-nights on full board basis.
- Today we leave Clanwilliam with its backdrop of the Cederberg Mountains and continue our journey to Namaqua National Park, our route very much dictated by where the best Namaqualand flowers are at the time. In between the flower stops, we will be on the lookout for birdlife including cinnamon-breasted warbler, Cape long-billed lark, Karoo lark and Cape bulbul. The Namaqua National Park has a number of mammal species, including bat-eared fox, klipspringer, gemsbok, red hartebeest and steenbok which can be seen in amongst the spring flowers.
- Accommodation: Springbok, 1-night on full board basis.
- After breakfast we visit Goegap Nature Reserve, which features many of Namaqualand’s natural riches in 15,000 hectares of granitic, rocky hills and sandy flats that support close on 600 indigenous flower species, 45 mammal species including springbok, gemsbok and the Hartmann’s mountain zebra. A total of 94 bird species have been recorded in the reserve, which include the black-headed canary, red lark and sickle-winged chat.
- After breakfast we will drive through the arid vegetation of ‘Bushmanland’ to Augrabies Falls National Park, where the mighty Orange River drops into a deep and spectacular 56 metre gorge, and will be our base for the next two nights. Augrabies Falls National Park has many species of bird that range from the pygmy falcon, rosy-faced lovebird, cinnamon-breasted warbler and many chats and larks to the magnificent Verreaux’s eagle, martial eagle and Ludwig’s bustard. There are also many mammal species that can be seen on the numerous walks and trails within the park.
- The following day we explore a few of the trails looking out for plants, mammals and birds in the strikingly beautiful lunar landscape.
- Accommodation: Augrabie’s Falls National Park, 2-nights on full board basis.
- Today we head to our final area on our safari from the Cape to the Kalahari by driving north to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The park is one of the last true wilderness reserves in the world and many mammal species can be seen in the park: Kalahari lion, African wild cat, leopard, cheetah, caracal, meerkat, jackal, hyena and many antelope species. The first birds to be noticed will most probably be the sociable weavers and their huge nests.
- During our days spent in the park we will visit various areas with our itinerary left open depending on what sightings may have been seen. Mornings will typically be early starts with a two to three hour local drive followed by a picnic breakfast before a longer drive afterwards. We will also venture out in the later afternoon for another drive and also spend some time walking in the dunes to identify the flora which grows here.
- On longer drives we will venture further north to explore the Nossob River. This area has a reputation for excellent lion, leopard and cheetah sightings. We will also aim to spend a full day to explore the Auob River stopping at various waterholes en route in search of any species we may have not yet seen on previous drives.
- Accommodation: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 3-nights on full board basis.
- Before we transfer to Upington for the start of our journey back home, we visit the dry Auob River towards Mata Mata. We stop at the various waterholes en route, looking for any birds, mammals and reptiles that we may have missed. We then drive to Upington for a domestic flight to Johannesburg connecting on to our overnight flight back to the UK.
Day 15 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
National park accommodation, quality guesthouses and lodges - all rooms with en suite bathroom.
All main meals are included.
Our tour takes us to superb areas for birding, each with their own distinct habitats. From arid savannah to wetlands, mountains, coastline and fynbos vegetation, we would hope for a potential list of 250 species to be seen.
- Crimson-breasted shrike
- Kori bustard
- Pygmy falcon
- Cape rock-jumper
Our tour takes us through five national parks and seven nature reserves – giving plenty of opportunity to see and photograph a diverse range of mammals including cheetah, lion, leopard, meerkat, caracal and hyena.
- African wild cat
- Hartmann’s mountain zebra
- Chacma (Cape) baboon
We also visit excellent sites for shore based whale watching, hoping to see southern right whales displaying inshore.
At this time of year the Namaqualand spring flowers are at their best, creating a natural kaleidoscope of colour.
- Gemsbok cucumber
- Black storm
- Devil’s claw
- Tsama melon
Our safari from the Cape to the Kalahari takes us through many different landscapes, from stunning mountain scenery, fynbos vegetation and excellent wetlands to red sand dunes and dry riverbeds.
Price includes returned scheduled London – Cape Town / Upington – London.