Birding tours from Cape Town to Cameroon and Madagascar, with the only African Birding Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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South Africa Birding Tours

Africa's highest level of endemism in the most accessible setting: 185 bird species are endemic or near endemic to southern Africa. With its scenic and botanical wealth, South Africa contains two of Africa’s four biodiversity hotspots as defined by Conservation International.

We offer a comprehensive South Africa Ultimate Endemics Tour as well as regional itineraries, such as a Western Endemics Tour along the Cape Birding Route, an Eastern Endemics Tour and a Kruger birds & mammals tour. To see some example itineraries, please scroll down.

Based on your desired areas and species, we can tailor your private guided tour or self-drive tour, or recommend you to join a set-departure group tour from the dates below.

We have written the definitive bird-finding site guide to the region: The Southern African Birdfinder and Essential Birding.

        

Featured Leader: Ethan Kistler

Ethan recommends: The South Africa tours are well suited to world listers, because we see a very high proportion of endemic birds, as well as wildlife enthusiasts because we make a special effort to see large mammals, reptiles and special plants on our walks.

  

Ethan Kistler has moved from Ohio to Cape Town, where he is specializing in Africa's birds. This year he has led tours for Birding Africa in South Africa, Ethiopia and Tanzania (where this photograph was taken in the Serengeti).


His first two years he studied biology and traveled around South Africa and up to Tanzania, birding all the way. Now into his third year here, his tour schedule is filling up rapidly.

Ethan helped set up the outings for "The Biggest Week in American Birding". In 2014 he is tour-leading there for Birding Africa, during a break from his Africa schedule.

Our South Africa tours can also be led by Joe Grosel, Michael Mills, Japie Claassen, Dalton Gibbs, Alastair Kilpin and Callan Cohen



2014 Tour dates and cost

Birding Africa Tours Dates Days

Cost*

Single**

Detailed Itinerary Tour report
Cape Birds & Flowers
leader: Alastair Kilpin

Guaranteed departure
5 - 15 September 2014 11 £3100 £395 enquire click here
Kruger & Drakensberg
leader: Alastair Kilpin

Guaranteed departure
22 September -
2 October 2014
11 enquire enquire enquire click here
Cape Town to Kruger Park
leader: Ethan Kistler

Guaranteed departure
18 - 31 October 2014 14 £2420
$4100
£180
$300
download leaflet
(4.5 MB)
click here
South Africa: Ultimate Endemics
Cape or Western Tour
leader: Ethan Kistler

Eastern Tour
leader: Ethan Kistler
 8 - 17 November 2014


18 - 30 November 2014
10


13
£1730
$2930

£2250
$3815
£100
$165


£125
$210
download leaflet (2.6MB) click here
Day Trips from Cape Town any time any enquire enquire enquire click here
Private Tours any time any enquire enquire enquire click here

2015 Tour dates and cost

Birding Africa Tours Dates Days

Cost*

Single**

Detailed Itinerary Tour report
Drakensberg
leader: tbc
15 - 25 January 2015 11 enquire enquire enquire click here
Cape Birds & Flowers
leader: tbc
6 - 16 September 2015 11 enquire enquire enquire click here
Kruger & Drakensberg
leader: tbc
14 - 23 October 2015 10 enquire enquire enquire click here
South Africa: Ultimate Endemics
Cape or Western Tour
leader: tbc

Eastern Tour
leader: tbc
 7 - 16 November 2015


17 - 29 November 2015
10


13
enquire enquire enquire click here
Day Trips from Cape Town any time any enquire enquire enquire click here
Private Tours any time any enquire enquire enquire click here


* Cost per person sharing a room, ** Single room supplement.
* Included in the above price: Birding Africa tour leader, Birding Africa printed booklet with species lists, activities as indicated on the itinerary, road transport, guide fees, entry fees for the parks, reserves and botanical gardens, full board accommodation and drinking water on the bus. Not included: international flights, drinks, optional tips, and items of a personal nature are not included.
The Budget Tours and Cape Birds & Flowers Tours start and end in Cape Town.
The Kruger & Drakensberg Tour starts and ends in Johannesburg.



Itineraries

South Africa
14 days

Designed to offer the best of both Western and Eastern South Africa, maximizing the number of bird species and offering charismatic and localised mammals and exceptional scenery.

The tour starts in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg or vice versa. This tour is a combination of the Western and Eastern endemics tours, run back-to-back.

As on all our tours, we've carefully selected guesthouses and lodges to maximise birding time and quality. This tour covers a possibility of 135 southern African endemic and near-endemic bird species, with up to 450 bird species expected.

Western Endemics
4 to 7 days

The itinerary is designed with the dedicated birder in mind and targets the highest proportion possible of the region’s endemics and characteristic habitats of South Africa's West and its Cape Floral Kingdom. This tour starts and ends in Cape Town.

We'll explore:
• Darling area: Cape Clapper Lark, Blue Crane
• West Coast National Park: Southern Black Korhaan, Black Harrier, Chestnut-banded Plover
• Tanqua Karoo, a semi-desert: Karoo Eremomela, Namaqua Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Ludwig’s Bustard, Burchell’s Courser, Black-headed Canary, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Rufous-eared Warbler, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Karoo Korhaan, Black-eared Sparrowlark
• De Hoop and Agulhas Plains: Cape Vulture, Blue Crane, Denham's Bustard, Damara Tern, Knysna Woodpecker, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Agulhas Clapper Lark, Southern Tchagra
• Cape coastal Fynbos and mountains: Cape Rock-jumper, Victorin's Scrub-Warbler, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin, Ground Woodpecker, Neddicky and Cape Rock-Thrush

Click here for more practical tour information and a trip report of short trip and a longer trip.

Optional extension: Afromontane forest at Grootvaderschbos or Wilderness in the Garden Route.
• Grootvaderschbos: Narina Trogon, Forest Canary, African Crowned Eagle, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Warbler, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Olive Bush-Shrike
• Wilderness National Park, Garden Route: Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, African Wood Owl, Green-backed Camaroptera, Green Woodhoopoe, Chorister Robin-Chat

Eastern Endemics
7 to 14 days

This itinerary is designed to see as many bird species as possible in the shortest time. It combines subtropical birding with good mammal watching. We visit coastal forests and bird-rich reserves, perhaps better known for Rhino conservation, in search of specials such as the delicate Pink-throated Twinspot and the mystical Pel's Fishing Owl. This tour starts in Durban and ends in Johannesburg.

We'll explore:
- the Drakensberg, to look for Blue Swallow, the endemic Drakensberg Rockjumper, Drakensberg Siskin, Bearded Vulture, Amur Falcon, Gurney's Sugarbird;
- Zululand forests, to search for Orange Ground Thrush, Spotted Ground Thrush, Livingston's Turaco, Woodward's Batis, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon;
-Zululand coastal plains, to target Pel's Fishing Owl, African Broadbill, Neergaard's Sunbird, Olive-tree Warbler, Green and Pink-throated Twinspot;
- Wakkerstroom's globally threatened highland wetlands and grasslands, to find
Rudd's and Botha's Lark, Blue and Barrow's Korhaan, Southern Bald Ibis, Yellow-breasted Pipit, four species of bustard and three cranes.

Click here for practical tour information and a trip report.

Optional extension: Kruger Birds and mammals

Kruger Birds & Mammals
7 to 14 days

This itinerary is designed to complement birds with mammals, in both Kruger National Park and Afromontane forest. It starts and ends in Johannnesburg.

It offers birding in the Afro-montane forests, lowland acacia savanna, grassland, riverine and broadleafed woodlands, with a total list of over 500 bird species.

This tour also offers excellent mammal encounters, including 'the Big 5': elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

We'll explore:
- the northern escarpment forests at Magoebaskloof - arguably South Africa's best forest birding site - to look for Bat Hawk, Cape Parrot, Green Twinspot and Black-fronted Bush-Shrike;
- the vicinity of the Blyde River Canyon, to spot Taita Falcon - one of Africa's most endangered raptors.
- Central and Southern Kruger National Park, to search for African Finfoot, Lilac-breasted Roller, Southern Ground Hornbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Secretary Bird, Bateleur and other large raptors as well as a wealth of mammals.

Click here for practical tour information and a trip report.

Namaqualand - budget tour
8 days

This tour is designed to combine the best of the Cape's birds, wild flowers and scenic landscapes. This is an excellent-value budget tour. It starts and ends in Cape Town.

We'll explore:
- the West Coast to visit Rocherpan and Verlorenvlei for an abundance of waterbirds.
- Elands Bay, Lamberts Bay (Cape Gannet colony), Strandfontein and Papendorp (Karoo Lark & Cape Clapper Lark).
- Garies and Springbok
- Namaqualand and Goegap Nature Reserve
- Kamieskroon (Damara Canary)
- Tanqua Karoo National Park in the succulent Karoo. (Ludwig's bustard, Karoo Lark, Burchell's Courser, Karoo Eremomela, Namaqua Warbler and Dusky Sunbird.)
- Nieuwoudtville (bulb capital of the world!)
- Karoopoort and Ceres (Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Black-eared Sparrowlark and Karoo Chat).

Click here for other Namaqualand tours, tour information and trip reports.

Cape Tours

For day trips, weekends and longer tours from Cape Town, please click here.


Southern Double-Collared Sunbird seen on a Birding Africa tour © Callan Cohen

Knysna Turaco seen on a Birding Africa tour
© Callan Cohen

Knysna Woodpecker seen on a Birding Africa Tour
© Callan Cohen

Lilac-breasted Roller seen on a Birding Africa Tour
© Callan Cohen


Southern Bald Ibis seen on a Birding Africa Tour
© Callan Cohen

Cinnamon-breasted Warbler photographed by Callan Cohen. See this Cape endemic bird on a Birding Africa trip from Cape Town
See Cinnamon-breasted Warbler on a Namaqualand, Cape Endemics, Tanqua Karoo or Bushmanland Birding Tour with Birding Africa © Callan Cohen

What participants say...

'Many thanks for such a comprehensive set of information... but then I'd expect nothing less after all of your previous hard work and attention to detail!

Having decided upon an itinerary which most suited our requirements, essentially using the invaluable 'Southern African Birdfinder' (Cohen et al, 2007) as a reference, the services of Birding Africa (http://www.birding-africa.com/) were employed in sourcing appropriate accommodating, giving additional logistical advice and securing some excellent low-season deals on both accommodation and car hire. Birding
Africa were also on hand to make a few tweaks in the itinerary during the course of our travels and it was reassuring to know that we had such backup should anything go astray.

Special thanks must be credited to Marje Hemp of Birding Africa who worked tirelessly in answering our many queries and requests and also to Callan Cohen for all the additional bird-finding help and advice so freely given; without Birding Africa's input the trip would surely not have been the smooth-running success which it turned out to be and we would urge anyone who follows in our footsteps to do so with the assistance of this first class company.'
IM, Leicestershire



Practical tour information

Focus
For keen birders and mammal enthusiasts. Designed to see as many as possible endemic birds, but while on the walks we spend a lot of time looking for other aspects of wildlife such as mammals, chameleons, geckos, butterflies and interesting plants. We can also customise any itinerary to suit to the keen birder, the wildlife enthusiast or both.
Photography
Many participants on our trips are amateur wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are very good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.
Fitness
enquire as this depends on the exact tour.
Timing
The best timing varies per region; enquire.
Climate
Cool in the Cape and highlands Drakensberg hot in the lowlands.
Comfort
A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
Transport
We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle.
Group Size
Just seven participants can join Ultimate Endemics 2014 tour. Group size varies for the other tours. Please enquire.
Top birds
Several endemics and near-endemics in a spectacular setting
Top mammals
African elephant, lion, cheetah, Sable, Roan, Bontebok, Cape zebra, Meerkat
Booking Your booking can be secured with a booking form and deposit. You will receive confirmation and our tour information pack with practical information on what to expect and how to prepare for the tour. The balance is due 150 days before the tour. Contact us to enquire about availability.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders. We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent. We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

For feedback from our guests, please see our Client Comments. Please also browse our Latest News and Trip Reports.


This website is maintained by Birding Africa.
Copyright © 1997-2014 Birding Africa

Please do not use any text, images or content from this site without permission.
Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
© Birding Africa 1997-2014 info@birdingafrica.com

[African Tailorbirding CC (CK2003/020710/23) trading as Birding Africa]
4 Egret Street, Scarborough, Cape Town, South Africa.
P.O. Box 22727, Scarborough, 7975, South Africa

 

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