14 Day Tour
Arrive Cape Town, clear customs and transfer to George where you will be met by your African Bird Safari guides. We go through to the Wilderness National Park - a charming world of lakes, rivers, fens, estuaries and beaches set against a background of lush green forests and rugged mountains. After settling into your log cabin situated on the edge of the Touw river, you can relax on your stoep and have your first look at some of the local birds.
Later on we will set off on a short walk into the forest where we should see the beautiful Knysna Loerie, Cape Robin, Chorister Robin (what a great mimic this bird is!), Cape Batis and Bar Throated Apalis.
In this, your introduction to the birds of the Garden Route, you could see at least ten endemics.
As the sun starts sinking behind the Outeniqua Mountains, we will return to the camp. Your guide, Mick Killeen, fancies himself as a chef (as well as being a knowledgeable birder) which means the fires will be lit and we will braai under the Southern Cross.
Early rise and off to a Bird Hide where we hope to see African Rail, African Sedge Warbler, Cape Reed Warbler and hear the wonderful call of Africa - the voice of the Fish Eagle. From the hide we will go to the upper reaches of the Swartvlei for a walk along part of the Cape Dune Molerat Trail - hopefully we will catch a glimpse of the Red Chested Flufftail - wewill certainly hear them !
Then on to the charming town of Knysna for brunch, after which we go to a wetland for our first look at the waders. Of course many of these are visitors from Europe and Asia.
And for something completely different we put you on to the Outeniqua Choo - choo for a spectacular steam train trip to George where you will be met and returned to the camp.
After dinner we will go for a short trip to hear (and hopefully see) Wood Owl, Spotted Dikkop, Water Dikkop and Fiery Necked Nightjar.
Early rise (in Summer it is light by 5am) - by road to Plettenberg Bay, the Bitou River and Natures Valley. The Bitou River supports a surprising number of water birds and should add substantially to our Safari list.
At Natures Valley we go into the forest once again to look for Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Starred Robin, Cinnamon Dove, Narina Trogon and if were lucky, Cuckoo Hawk and Lesser Honeyguide.
After lunch go through Plettenberg Bay to the Robberg peninsula to see Cape Sugar Birds, Orange Breasted Sunbird and Victorins Warbler - all endemics.
Depart early for the Little Karoo over the Robinson Pass. Birding en route to the Gamkaberg Reserve. The Little Karoo will surprise you. The harsh bleak landscape produces a variety of colourful species such as Bokmakierie, Blackheaded Canary, Malachite Sunbird, Rufouseared Warbler and Ludwigs Bustard.
At the Gamkaberg Reserve we walk through acacia forest where we will see Whitebacked Mousebird, Fairy Flycatcher, Layards Titbabbler and Karoo Robin.
From here to Calitzdorp to visit the Boplaas Winery. Then on to an Ostrich Farm. We will overnight at a Bed and Breakfast in Oudtshoorn.
Early breakfast and off to the forbidding Swartberg Mountain to go over the precipitous pass built by Andrew Geddes Bain. The slopes of the mountain should yield Cape Siskin, Protea Canary and on the top , Cape Rock Jumper.
(If you wish to visit the Cango Caves we will do so before crossing the mountain.)
Lunch in the charming village of Prince Albert before heading for Beaufort West and the Karoo National Park - birding en route. Overnight in the Park.
The 50 000 hectare Park consists mostly of Karoo Broken Arid Veld with montane grasslands in the Nuweveld Mountains. The Park harbours 64 species of mammals, 59 species of reptiles and 196 bird species. This morning we will take the Fonteintjies Kloof Trail - 11 km through a variety of vegetation on to a plateau with spectacular views. Amongst the birds we should be seeing are Eremomelas, Dusky Sunbird, Pririt Batis, Cinnamon-breasted Warblers and Rock Thrushes. Lunch at the camp and an early afternoon relax at the pool. Evening trip (if possible) after dinner.
Early rise. Scenic drive through Park. Depart for Graaff Reinet where we will lunch. Visit the Valley of Desolation and then on to the Mountain Zebra Park. We will be birding en route and should see Karoo Korhaan, Kori Bustard, Double-Banded Courser and a variety of larks and pipits.
Arrive at the Mountain Zebra Park - where we will be spending two nights.
Home to one of the worlds rarest large mammal - the Cape Mountain Zebra , the Mountain Zebra National Park is situated in the midst of the Bankberg Mountains. Over 200 species of birds are found here including the Scalyfeathered Finch, White-Browed Sparrow-Weaver and African Rock Pipit.
Early rise for bird walk. Breakfast and then a short hike into the mountains where we will look for Scalyfeathered Finch , Ground Woodpecker and Larklike Bunting.
Leisurely lunch - swim and then afternoon drive onto the plateau.
Early rise - then set off for Addo Park via Cradock . Arrive at lunchtime, depending on availability of accommodation, book into the park itself or the Zuurberg Inn (± 25kms from park). The Addo Elephant Park is home to over 300 Elephants and also has Cape Buffalo, Rhino and numerous Antelope and small mammals.
Here we have an optional tour to see the Big 5. We can book you on the "Shamwari Experience" a 6 hour tour of this upmarket private reserve - which includes lunch (additional cost of ± $100 per person).
If you do not elect to go on the Shamwari tour or we are unable to book it, we take a trail into the Zuurberg Mountains which is not too strenous. The birding is good and the scenery is beautiful. We the drive back to Addo to complete our tour of this park.
Overnight at the Zuurberg Inn (or the Addo Elephant Park)
We will rise early and motor through to Port Elizabeth where we will link up with a local expert and visit salt pans to see both Lesser and Greater Flamingos, waders and terns (including Roseate Terns).
We will also include visits to some places of historic interest in Port Elizabeth. We will overnight at a local hotel.
Early rise and depart for the Tzitzikama National Park. We will visit Mondplaas, the Gamtoos River Mouth and a number of birding spots on our way to the Park.
Mondplaas is another of those birding spots that will surprise you - African Jacana, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Blackcrowned Night Heron, Hottentot Teal and even, on occasion ,Goliath Heron.
Overnight at the Tzitzikama National Park.
Leave Tzitzikama National Park after an early morning walk. Bird through the indigenous forests. Lunch in Plettenberg Bay with the possibility of a trip out to sea. Return to the Wilderness Park where we will overnight.
Depart to George Airport for flight to Cape Town and connection with international flight.
* As it may be necessary to make changes to the itinerary for a variety of reasons - particularly the weather - African Bird Safaris therefore reserves the right to make these alterations.
In order to maximise our birding opportunities, we have to rise before first light - one of the reasons why there are very few late nights on the trip.
Also, because it starts getting warm from 11 am onwards, we will try to use this period for sight seeing and of course, lunch.
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