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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

For a range of other birdwatching tours to the Kruger National Park and all over South Africa, kindly visit our sister company - we can run bespoke versions if you can't join the specific dates indicated


Other African Destinations - Special Mention!!
Self-drive options for birding trips in South Africa
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Price and other details of our Day tours are the same as our sister company
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Please click on the logo below for a big array of tours throughout South Africa, Africa and the world:

Birding Ecotours-small group and custom-made birding adventures worldwide

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Birding Ecotours-small group and custom-made birding adventures worldwide




The Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is malaria-free and situated at the meeting point of 5 different biomes – Fynbos (unique in the world to the western and southern Cape Province of South Africa); Forests; Valley Thicket; Semi-desert (Karoo) and Savanna. This mix supports a wide diversity of birds and other fauna and flora within a comparatively small area.

Birdwatch Cape acts as agent only for the tours listed below and not as principal operator.

Day Tour

EC1 Nelson Mandela Bay Habitats

Overnight Tours

EC2 Eastern Cape Intro  
EC3 Eastern Cape Habitats  
EC4 Eastern Cape Experience  

These can be customized to meet your specific needs, even to the extent of a special trip to view a particular rarity, such as Cape Parrot, Red-chested Flufftail, etc. Tours are run at a pace to suit you.

Day Tour - Port Elizabeth
EC1 - Nelson Mandela Bay Habitats (previously Port Elizabeth) - 1 Day
We target 90+ species on the day, including 25 Southern African endemics.
Our day begins with an early start in the Thunzi Nature Reserve, which will yield a variety of forest birds, including Forest Canary, Tambourine Dove, Olive Woodpecker, Southern Boubou, Black-headed Oriole, Dark-backed and Thick-billed Weaver and the spectacular Knysna Turaco. There are some nearby wetlands supporting a variety of waterfowl, including Black Crake and African Black Duck.

Our next stop is the Van Staden’s Wild Flower reserve which will provide an opportunity to see some of the unique Fynbos-dwelling species, such as Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Siskin. Many other scrub-dwelling birds such as Cape Grassbird, Yellow Bishop, Cape Bulbul and a variety of other Sunbirds including Malachite, Amythest, Greater and Southern Double-collared are also found here.

After lunch we take a 4X4 drive through the Zwartkops Trust adjacent to the tidal mudflats, which enables us to see most of our local as well as migrant Waders, Herons and certain scrub species such as: Karoo Scrub-robin, Bar-throated Apalis, Karoo Prinia and Cape Robin-chat.

Cape Bulbul

Photograph Ria Grant

Finally we take in a local coastal and marine reserve, which incorporates beach, rocky outcrops, fresh-water ponds, dune fynbos and dune-land scrub. A wide variety of species ranging from beach and sea birds, ducks, marsh-dwellers and coastal scrub species will be seen.

Included amongst the birds we may see here are: White-breasted, Reed and Cape Cormorant; Cape Gannet; Roseate, Swift, Caspian, Common and Damara Tern; Pied and Giant Kingfisher; Le Vaillants Cisticola and Cape Bulbul.

Approximate tour duration – 10 hours

Overnight Tours - Eastern Cape
EC2 - East Cape Introduction (2 days/1 night)
We target 160 birds, including 25 Southern African endemics.

Day 1
We begin our day at the Thunzi Nature Reserve. (see EC1 above) We then visit the Addo National Park where a large variety of bird species that inhabit Thicket and Karoo type vegetation can be seen These include Southern Tchagra; Chestnut-vented Titbabbler; Black-collared Barbet; Diderick and Klaas’s Cuckoo; Speckled and Red-faced Mousebirds; Dark-capped Bulbul; African Firefinch; Pale Chanting Goshawk and Jackal Buzzard.

A late afternoon 4X4 drive through an area populated with large herds of Elephant, Eland, Blesbuck, Springbok coupled with the presence of Black Rhino, Cape Buffalo and Lion make the birding experience all the more memorable. We overnight on the Sundays River at Colchester.

Addo Elephants

Photograph courtesy Risa Kassoff, USA

Day 2
A leisurely 3-hour early morning river cruise will reveal a wide variety of waders, duck, heron (including Goliath and Purple Heron) as well as river-bank dwellers. Colonies of Cape and Masked Weaver nests overhang the river. Four different types of Kingfisher may be seen – including Half-collared Kingfisher. Horus Swift, Pied Starling and Spotted Eagle-owl nest in the river banks.

Greater Flamingo and Pied Avocet

Photograph courtesy Patricia Larkham, UK
After brunch at the lodge we visit Colchester Salt Pans and Tankatara, where we should see Greater and Lesser Flamingo; African Pied Avocet and numerous other waders as well as Blue Crane; Ant-eating Chat, African Stonechat, African Pipit and Crowned Lapwing. A variety of raptor species are regularly seen on the roadside telephone poles. These include Common and Jackal Buzzard, Common (Rock) Kestrel and Black-shouldered Kite.
Our tour ends in Port Elizabeth at approximately 17h00.
EC3 - Eastern Cape Habitats (3 days/2 nights)
We target 180 birds including 26 Southern African endemics.

Day 1
We begin our day at the Alexandria Forest, about 100 km from Port Elizabeth. A walk under the cool canopy of giant Yellowwoods, Cape Coral Trees and White Stinkwoods offer a variety of forest species, including: Knysna Woodpecker; Black-bellied Starling; Black-headed Oriole; Terrestrial Brownbul; Chorister Robin-chat; Collared and Grey Sunbird; African Olive Pigeon; Trumpeter Hornbill; Knysna Turaco and Narina Trogon.

After a picnic lunch in the forest we travel for about an hour to reach the Amakhala OR Kariega Game Reserve (depending on availability) These reserves support a wide variety of birds, including raptors such as Crowned and Booted Eagle; African Goshawk; Little Sparrow-hawk and Yellow-billed Kite.

African Olive Pigeon

Photograph courtesy Cape Bird Club

We also encounter open veld, scrub and forest species such as Red-fronted Tinkerbird; Green Woodhoepoe, Crowned Hornbill and many more.

Our 4X4 drive through the bush should also produce an interesting variety of mammals, including Giraffe, Eland, Kudu, Eland and Springbok. We end the day with some late afternoon “birding by canoe” on the Bushman’s (Amakhala) or Kariega Rivers. This trip often yields Malachite, Half-collared and Giant Kingfishers; Goliath and Grey Heron; African Fish Eagle; Secretary Bird; Rufous-naped Lark and Red-necked Spurfowl. The evening drive back often reveals Fiery-necked Nightjar.

Overnight in the Reserve.

Day 2
An early morning walk followed by a 4X4 game-viewing/birdwatching drive and a lunchtime river cruise will provide further opportunities to see many riverine species. At Amakhala Southern Black Korhaan; Ludwig’s Bustard and Kori Bustard are also often sighted. We depart mid-afternoon for Colchester – our 2nd overnight stop.

Day 3
An early morning river cruise down to the mouth (approx 3 km) should allow sightings of many waders and the possibility of seeing a greater variety of Terns, including the Sandwich, Little and Damara Terns, Eurasian Curlew, Common Whimbrel, Marsh and Terek Sandpiper, White-fronted (Sand) Plover and many other waders occur.

After brunch we visit the Colchester salt-pans and Tankatara (see Day Two of EC2) and then Addo, where we enjoy a 4X4 late afternoon drive. (see Day One of EC2)

EC4 - Eastern Cape Experience (4 days/3 nights)
We target 190 birds, including 27 Southern African endemics.
Malachite Kingfisher

Photograph courtesy
Cape Bird Club

Day 1
We begin our day at the Alexandria Forest, about 100 km from Port Elizabeth. A walk under the cool canopy of giant Yellowwoods, Cape Coral Trees and White Stinkwoods offer a variety of forest species, including: Knysna Woodpecker; Black-bellied Starling; Black-headed Oriole; Terrestrial Brownbul; Chorister Robin-chat; Collared and Grey Sunbird; Olive Pigeon; Trumpeter Hornbill; Knysna Turaco and Narina Trogon.

After a picnic lunch in the forest we travel for about an hour to reach the Amakhala OR Kariega Game Reserve (depending on availability) These reserves support a wide variety of birds, including raptors such as Crowned and Booted Eagle; African Goshawk; Little Sparrowhawk and Yellow-billed Kite. We also encounter open veld, scrub and forest species such as Red-fronted Tinkerbird; Green Woodhoepoe, Crowned Hornbill and many more.

Our 4X4 drive through the bush should also produce an interesting variety of mammals, including Giraffe, Eland, Kudu, Eland and Springbok. We end the day with some late afternoon “birding by canoe” on the Bushman’s (Amakhala) or Kariega Rivers. This trip often yields Malachite, Half-collared and Giant Kingfishers; Goliath and Grey Heron; African Fish Eagle; Secretary Bird; Rufous-naped Lark and Red-necked Spurfowl. The evening drive back often reveals Fiery-necked Nightjar.

Overnight in the Reserve.

Day 2
An early morning walk followed by a 4X4 game-viewing/birdwatching drive and a lunchtime river cruise will provide further opportunities to see many riverine species. At Amakhala Southern Black Korhaan; Ludwig’s Bustard and Kori Bustard are also often sighted. We depart mid-afternoon for Colchester – our 2nd overnight stop.

Day 3
We travel to Dubbeldrift Game Reserve, which has a warmer climate and a greater variety of Thicket species than occur at Addo, Amakhala or Kariega, including Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Mocking Cliff-chat; Chin-spot Batis and Tawny-flanked Prinea.

Additional mammal species include Giraffe, Bontebok, Hippo and White Rhino. We in the Reserve.

Day4
An early morning river cruise down to the mouth (approx 3 km) should allow sightings of many waders and the possibility of seeing a greater variety of Terns, including the Sandwich, Little and Damara Terns, Eurasian Curlew, Common Whimbrel, Marsh and Terek Sandpiper, White-fronted (Sand) Plover and many other waders occur.

After brunch we visit the Colchester salt-pans and Tankatara (see Day Two of EC2) and then Addo, where we enjoy a 4X4 late afternoon drive. (see Day One of EC2)

 

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