Birding tours South Africa and birdwatching Cape Town, pelagic birdwatching, ecotours and birding breaks.

Birdwatching Cape Town
Day tours: Birding in & around Cape Town
Natural History Tours
Pelagics - we run our Cape Pelagics through our sister company

Western Cape, South Africa, Birding Adventures
For an 8- or 12-day set date or bespoke Cape birdwatching tour, kindly visit our sister company - These and a range of other South African tours can be viewed here

Birdwatching Johannesburg and Pretoria
Day tours: Birding in & around Johannesburg and Pretoria

Birding Tours South Africa
South Africa in 17 Days
Birding South Africa's Dry West
Birding Kwazulu/Natal
Birding the Eastern Cape

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Self-drive options for birding trips in South Africa
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Overnight tours out of Cape Town are priced on an all inclusive basis but exclude airfares. Included are all entrance fees, meals and accommodation, with the exception of evening meals in Cape Town or Simon's Town. The accommodation includes an en suite bathroom unless otherwise indicated. Also included is a comprehensive hand-out to each participant - bird, mammal and reptile list, full itinerary, etc.

Tour Modules

Module 1 Cape Town
Module 2 Karoo
Module 3A West Coast
Module 3B Overberg
Module 4 Kalahari
Module 5 Garden Route
Module 6 Garden Route/Addo/PE
The Tours listed above can be done as separate modules or as a combination of modules. Tours commence after breakfast on day one and return before dinner on the last day. Single supplement will vary according to tour.

Recommended Module Combinations: Price available on request.

Modules 1, 2 & 3 Cape Fynbos - 7 days
Modules 1 - 5 Dry West - 16 days
Prices are available on request. Tours are run at a pace to suit you.
BirdWatch Cape offers these tours as the appointed agent of established Western Cape Tour Operators.

The Western and Northern Cape Provinces cover much of what is known as the "dry west" of South Africa. The area extends north and east of the beautiful Cape Peninsula into a vast, sparsely populated semi desert known as the Karoo. Further north still lies the unique and mysterious Kalahari desert. To our east lie the forests of the Southern Cape.

Module 1 - Cape Town (4 days/3 nights)
Target 180 birds including 45 Southern African endemics or near endemics and 6 Cape Mountain Fynbos specials.
Cape Town is an underrated South African birding destination and has much to offer the bird-watcher and naturalist. The indigenous flora of the area comprises the smallest of the six floral kingdoms of the world. The protea, erica, bulbous plants, succulents and spring annuals support 200 relatively easily seen bird species of which over 60 are endemic to Southern Africa. These endemics include 6 passerine endemics unique to the vegetation of the area.

Probably the best time to visit the Cape from a birding perspective is in the Southern Hemisphere spring - late August to November. This is the height of both the spring flower and the breeding seasons. Masses of daisies, bulbous plants and succulents are in bloom. Southern Right Whale are easily seen from our shorelines between August and November.

Day One
Combine your day’s birding with a visit to a number of the Cape Peninsula's top scenic and natural history attractions. Our day begins at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – one of the world’s leading indigenous gardens on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. We then spend an hour or so at one of the Cape Flats Wetlands before heading for Kommetjie on the Atlantic Ocean – a good spot for all the endemic cormorants plus Antarctic Tern in winter. Our next stop is the Cape Point Nature Reserve and Lighthouse before returning home via the African Penguin breeding colony at Boulders Beach. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in or near Cape Town’s famous Waterfront.

Day Two
A day at the West Coast National Park approximately 80 km north of Cape Town. This park was established for the preservation of our unique strandveld vegetation that supports some of the Karoo bird specials. Southern Black Korhaan, Black Harrier and Grey-winged Francolin are three endemics most easily found here. It is also famous for its massed spring annuals that coincide with a peak in the birding season. The Park encircles the Langebaan Lagoon that in summer hosts the largest number of migrant shorebirds in South Africa. Overnight Cape Town.

Southern Black Korhaan

Photograph Ria Grant

Day Three
A morning in the Hottentots Holland mountains. This provides the best opportunity in the Western Cape to see five of our mountain Fynbos passerine endemics – Cape Rock-jumper, Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Siskin. Ground Woodpecker can also put in an appearance. Included is a visit Rooi Els – where the mountains literally come down to the sea and a great spot for Cape Rock Thrush. We end the day at another of the Cape Flats wetlands. Overnight Cape Town.

Day Four
We begin the day at the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, an excellent spot for the more common mountain fynbos endemics and also provides a home for some of our more elusive birds – including Swee Waxbill, Fiscal Flycatcher, Bar-throated Apalis and the endemic Forest Buzzard. We then head down to Paarl Bird Sanctuary, the most beautiful of the Western Cape wetlands, and home to most Western Cape wetland species. We return to Cape Town via the wheatlands of Philadelphia – see a variety of Larks, Pipits, Bishops and Weavers. These lands are also home to our National bird - the Blue Crane.

Module 2 - Karoo (2 days/1 night)
Target 80 birds including 35 Southern African endemics. About 20 of these endemics are not seen on other tours listed.
An overnight trip into the succulent Tanqua Karoo region about 150km from Cape Town. The word Karoo is derived from a Khoi word meaning thirstland which perfectly describes a remote area of semi desert with stark, geologically interesting landscapes.

The succulent Karoo is comparatively rich in birds - particularly after rains. Of the species seen about 30 will be Southern African endemics including Karoo specials like Karoo Korhaan, Rufous-eared Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher and Karoo Eremomela.

Karoo Scene

Photograph Ria Grant
Module 3A - West Coast (2 days/1 night)
Target 110 birds. 30 Southern African endemics and the only real chance for Protea Seedeater - the sixth and most difficult of the Cape Mountain Fynbos passerine endemics.

Two days in the unique lowland and mountain fynbos vegetation of the Cape. West Coast National Park, (See Module 1 – Day 2) Vredenberg wheatlands for a variety of larks, pipits and wheatears including the highly localised endemic Cape Long-billed Lark and the Sickle-winged Chat, Berg River Estuary for Chestnut-banded Plover, Lesser Flamingo and a variety of shorebirds.

Protea Seedeater

Photograph courtesy Lois Knaggs, Canada
We take an early morning walk in search of the elusive Protea Seedeater.
Module 3B - Overberg (3 days/2 nights)
Target 130 birds. 25 Southern African endemics.
The focus of this trip is the sandveld fynbos of the Agulhas coastal plains. This provides an opportunity to see birds not readily seen closer to Cape Town including Denham’s (Stanley’s) Bustard, Southern Tchagra and an isolated population of Cape Vulture. We also spend some time in the Grootvadersbos State Forest – the most noteworthy indigenous forest in the Western Cape.

We follow the False Bay coastline along to Gansbaai via Hermanus, taking time out to look at well known birding spots along the way. From Gansbaai it is into the Agulhas plains with opportunities for the localised endemic Agulhas Long-billed Lark and the Blue Crane. We overnight in a comfortable cottage on a working farm on the area.

Day two is spent exploring the de Hoop Nature Reserve and includes a visit to the isolated Cape Vulture colony at Potsberg – also a good spot for Knysna Woodpecker.

Agulhas Plains

Photograph courtesy Christian Frische, South Africa
We spend our second night on a Guest Farm adjoining the Grootvadersbos State Forest and our final morning is spent in the Forest – great opportunities for Narina Trogon, Forest Canary, Terrestrial Brownbul and a variety of other forest birds.
Module 4 - Kalahari (5 nights)
Target 227 birds. 75 Southern African endemics. This tour can be customised to include an additional night in Bushmanland with a focus on the specials of that area. Collection/drop-off in Upington is also an option - thus eliminating the long drive from Cape Town.

1200km north of Cape Town, with an overnight stop at the Augrabies Falls National Park on the Gariep (Orange) River, lies the Kalahari Desert. The stark granite landscape of Augrabies, and the push of South Africa’s mightiest river through the gorge it has carved for itself, is dramatic. Augrabies is also a good spot for Orange River White-eye, Karoo Thush, Pale-winged Starling and Dusky Sunbird.

We spend the next three nights in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Bordered by Namibia and Botswana this venture into the Kalahari provides the finest raptor viewing in Southern Africa. Vultures, eagles, falcons, goshawks, owls, buzzards, secretary birds, bustards etc. are all regularly and easily seen. Typical African bushveld birds such as Yellow-billed Hornbill and Lilac-breasted Roller are also common whilst the brilliantly marked Crimson-breasted Shrike is a special of the area. The park also supports lion, cheetah, hyena, leopard and large antelope herds. We return to Cape Town via a prime Bushmanland birding destination - Brandvlei.

Lilacbreasted Roller Lion Martial Eagle Blue Wildebeest Giant Eagle Owl Cheetah
Photographs Ria Grant
Module 5 - Garden Route (3 days/2 nights)
Target 150 birds. 35 Southern African endemics.
The scenically attractive Garden Route area extends from Mossel Bay to the Storms River. The Southern Cape forests, which benefit from rainfall throughout the year, support approximately 30 birds which are not seen on the other modules listed in this section.

Day One
Depart for Worcester and the Karoo. Our first morning is spent in search of some the Karoo specials this part of our journey has to offer. We then head on down through the spectacular fold mountain gorge known as Seweweeks Poort to the Klein Karoo and Garden Route.

Overnight Knysna.

Knysna Turaco

Photograph courtesy Paul Slade, UK
Day Two
A full morning birding the extensive forests of the Southern Cape will produce a number of forest specials including the spectacular Knysna Turaco, Chorister Robin-chat, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Grey Cuckooshrike and Olive Woodpecker. In the afternoon we visit bird hides situated on the Wilderness Lakes. Overnight Knysna.

Day Three
A final wrap up in the forests before returning to Cape Town via the Southern Cape coastal plain and the Bontebok National Park where, amongst other birds, we look for Denham's (Stanley's) Bustard.

The above Tour can be customised to start OR end in Port Elizabeth.

Module 6 - Garden Route/Addo/Port Elizabeth (5 days/4 nights)
Days One to Three
As for Module 5 except transfer to Addo Elephant Park on afternoon day three. Overnight Addo.
Addo Elephants

Photograph courtesy Risa Kassoff, USA

Day Four
Proclaimed in 1931 to save the last survivors of the once numerous Eastern Cape elephants this 12126 Ha Park is a fine example of undulating Valley Bushveld. See elephant and other game in addition to a nice variety of birds not seen further west than this.Overnight Addo.

Day Five
Morning Game and Birding Drive Addo. Transfer to Port Elizabeth for a late afternoon flight to onward destination. (or return to Cape Town with vehicle the following day - at an extra cost per person)

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