• Cape birding tour. Western Cape and Garden route birding tour, addo elephant park birding

Birding - 12 Day Western Cape and Garden Route

A very popular birding trip that focus on the Cape endemics, incorporate the incredible landscapes of the Western Cape, covers the special forest species of the evergreen Garden Route and ends in the famous Addo Elephant Park


Day 1 to 4: Arrival, Cape Town and the West Coast National Park

You will be arriving in Cape Town International Airport where your guide will meet you in the arrival hall. From the airport it is an hour’s drive to Simons Town, a picturesque town overlooking False Bay, where you will be staying for the next three days. Simons Town is well positioned to explore the birding hotspot in and around Cape Town. Depending on Cape Town’s well known fickle weather we will plan our days accordingly and visit Kirstenbosch Gardens, Sea Point National Park, Kommetjie, Ronde Vlei Bird Sanctuary and False Bay water treatment plant as well as Boulder’s Beach Penguin colony as the weather permits. Hartlaub’s Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Whimbrel, Grey Plover and Common Ringed Plover, Bank Cormorant, Crowned Cormorant, African Black Oystercatcher, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cloud Cisticola, Cape Sugarbird, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Bulbul, Karoo Prinia, Cape Longclaw, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin, Cape Spurfowl, Cape Batis and Southern Boubou will be some of the birds we will be looking for.

On our day-trip to the West Coast National Park we will leave before sunrise taking packed breakfasts with us. We will visit several bird hides throughout our day and have lunch in the park. We will be searching for Black Harrier, Grey-winged Francolin, Grey-backed Cisticola, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Karoo Scrub-Robin, White-backed Mousebird, Cape Grassbird, Karoo Lark, Large-billed Lark, Cape Penduline-Tit, African Black Oystercatcher, Chestnut-banded Plover, Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Curlew. Great White Pelican, Lesser Flamingo, Jackal Buzzard, Chestnut-banded Plover, Fairy Flycatcher, Yellow Canary and White-throated Canary just to name a few.

Day 5: Rooi Els to Hermanus

After breakfast we leave Cape Town and start our journey east along the scenic Gordon’s Bay road.  We will spend the morning at Rooi Els which is excellent for Cape Rock-jumper, Cape Rock-Thrush, Ground Woodpecker, Familiar Chat, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Siskin. Other species to look for include Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Bulbul, Cape Robin-Chat, Grey-backed Cisticola, Red-winged Starling and Cape White-eye. The cliffs above should be checked constantly for Peregrine Falcon, Jackal Buzzard, Verreauxs’ Eagle, Rock Kestrel and White-necked Raven. Lunch will be at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens whereafter we will bird the gardens hoping to find the elusive Victorin’s Warbler and maybe Black Duck in the stream which run through the gardens. Hermanus is our stop-over for today and we will head to our accommodation and maybe have some time for a stroll along the cliffs before dinner. Hermanus is famous for whale watching and we may also spot Bottle-nose dolphins from the cliffs.

Day 6 & 7: Swellendam and De Hoop Nature Reserve

Before breakfast we will have another stroll along the walkways overlooking Walker Bay before returning to the hotel and departing for Swellendam. This part of our tour will take us through Renosterbush and wheat fields in the south-eastern part of the Western Cape. In the open renosterbos  Denham’s Bustard are fairly common while Karoo Korhaan, Secretarybird, Cape Spurfowl, Grey-winged Francolin, Blue Crane, and Southern Black Korhaan also occur in this habitat, as do Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Large-billed Lark, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cloud Cisticola, Capped Wheatear and Karoo Scrub-Robin. Using Swellendam as our base we will do birding drives through the farmlands surrounding the town. On our full day here we will leave early with packed breakfast and visit the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Knysna Woodpecker is known to nest near the park restaurant while shore-birding from the dunes can sometimes reward with Southern Giant Petrel, Cape Gannet and several Tern species.

Day 8 & 9: Wilderness and Knysna

We have a 4 hour long drive today as we head east to the village of Wilderness. Wilderness lies at the start of the Garden route where large indigenous forests meet the coastline. We will visit the bird hides and do short hikes in the valleys around the freshwater lakes of Wilderness and the Knysna estuary. Knysna Turaco, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Knysna Warbler, Victorin’s Warbler, Narina Trogon, Grey Cuckooshrike, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Forest Buzzard and Bar-throated Apalis can be found in the forests and African Oystercatcher, Caspian Tern, Swift Tern, African Rail, Little Rush Warbler, Black Crake, Maccoa Duck and African Fish Eagle occur on the shoreline and on the string of lakes.

Day 10 & 11: Addo Elephant Park, Port Elizabeth

On our drive along the Garden route this morning from Wilderness to Port Elizabeth we will make a few stops to visit the Big Tree and the Storm River bridge. We hope to reach the park by midday. This afternoon and the next day will be spend in the park looking for Secretary Bird, Martial Eagle, Southern Red Bishop, Village Weaver, Acacia Pied Barbet, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Southern Tchagra, Southern Black Tit, Cape Bulbul, Golden-breasted Bunting, Black-collared Barbet and Red-billed Oxpecker.

Day 12: Departure

Depending on the time of your flight and where we will be staying in the park we may have time for a drive before breakfast to see if we can find any species we dipped on so far.  Your flight will depart from Port Elizabeth Airport.