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Western Cape Trip Report
Birding in the Garden Route: Wilderness & Nature's Valley
28 & 29 October 2014


Trip Itinerary: As bird photography was the primary focus of this trip we planned on spending enough time with any birds so as to obtain the best photos possible.

Total number of species for both days: 94

Green Wood-hoopoe in the Outenique Yellowwood trees during a Birding Africa Garden Route tour
Photographing Green Wood-hoopoes at their nest in a large Outenique Yellowwood tree.

Detailed Trip Report

Tuesday 28 October 2014: Wilderness Area

We started our tour in Wilderness and our first stop was at a small garden where we and great views of Southern and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds feeding on a bottlebrush bush outside a private residence.

Knysna Turaco photographed during a Birding Africa Garden Route tour © Premkumar Devdoss
Knysna Turaco

Our main focus for the day was birding in the Ebb and Flow rest camp where we had fantastic photo opportunities and sightings of Knysna Turacos, Little Sparrowhawk, Blacksmith Lapwing nesting, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Malachite Kingfisher and a male Cape Batis.

We then moved into the forest and along the Half-collared Kingfisher trail where we had excellent views of African Paradise Flycatcher, Chorister Robin-Chat and Peregrine Falcons perched on the opposite cliff face.

Chorister Robin-chat © Premkumar Devdoss
Chorister Robin-chat

After a few hours of birding in and around Ebb and Flow Rest Camp we made our way towards the Malachite Bird Hide where we had excellent views of Dideric Cuckoo along the walkway leading to the hide and great sightings of Lesser Swamp-Warblers and White-throated Swallow parents feeding their chicks directly in front of the hide.

After leaving the Malachite hide we viewed a Jackal Buzzard sitting on the telephone pole and a we had a lovely sighting of an African Fish Eagle flying over us as we made our way towards the Rondevlei Hide.

Further along the road we encountered sightings of Malachite Kingfisher, African Stonechat and Cape Grassbird.From the Rondevlei Bird Hide we had good views of three Pied Kingfishers, Black Crake and some great photographic opportunities of Reed Cormorants.


Wednesday 29 October 2014: The Crags, Nature's Valley and Tsitsikamma areas

Our day started off very misty, but we left Knysna and by the time we had arrived in the Crags at 06:30 am the cloud had lifted.

Black-collared Barbet seen on a Birding Africa Garden Route tour - a very rare sighting for this region © Premkumar Devdoss
Black-collared Barbet - a very unusual sighting for this area

We made our first stop along the R340 leading to Nature's Valley where we spotted a small group of Black-winged Lapwings which are not commonly seen in this part of the world. While viewing the Lapwings I heard the call of Black-collared Barbets to my left and we followed a small dirt road and found the Barbets in a Keurboom Tree. These birds are not readily found in the Western Cape and are considered " out of range" for this part of the world. We also managed to view Knysna Woodpecker and Burchell's Coucal in this spot.

Green Wood-hoopoe nest hole in an Outeniqua Yellowwood © Premkumar Devdoss
Green Wood-hoopoe nest hole in an Outeniqua Yellowwood tree

We then proceeded to Nature's Valley, where our first sighting was of Green Wood-hoopoes moving in and around a large Outeniqua Yellowwood and then we eventually watched them make their way into a nest hole.

In this same tree we had a fabulous sighting of a Male Red-chested Cuckoo.We moved further into the forests where we had some amazing photographic opportunities of African Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler and Narina Trogon.

Narina Trogon during a Birding Africa Garden Route tour © Premkumar Devdoss
Narina Trogon

After leaving Nature's Valley we got a great view of a Forest Buzzard sitting in a tree along the roadside.

We then visited a small private residence in the crags where we had good views of Cape Grassbird, Greater Double-collared Sunbird and Common Waxbills. Other great sightings were of Swee Waxbills, Collared Sunbirds and Forest Canaries.

Forest Canary © Premkumar Devdoss
Forest Canary

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Gareth Robbins.

For a full list of species from this trip, please contact us.

Many of the birding sites on this trip are described in detail in the Southern African Birdfinder which is widely available in South African bookshops and on the internet. (e.g., www.netbooks.co.za or www.wildsounds.co.uk). However you're always welcome to contact us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.



Practical tour information: Cape Day Trips and Western Cape Tours

Please click this link for more detailed information about our upcoming Cape Tours.
Focus Our Cape tours and day trips are aimed at keen birders and nature enthusiasts. They have been designed to see as many endemic birds as possible. 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 tours and day 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 Only a low level of fitness is required.
Timing Throughout the year.
Climate Moderate; can be warm in summer and chilly in winter.
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 This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Top birds Fynbos endemics, Karoo endemics and raptors in a spectacular setting
Top mammals whales, dolphins, Cape Grysbok, Chacma Baboon, Caracal, Grey Mongoose
Booking Please contact us if you wish to book. You will receive the booking form and conditions and a tour information pack.


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.



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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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