Birding Africa
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Trip Report: Hottentot's Holland Day Trip, 13 October 2009


This day trip took in the best fynbos and coastal birding of the Hottentot’s Holland region, with Cape Rock-jumper as the main target for the day.

Cape Rock-jumper photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com Cape Rock-jumper photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Our first stop along the spectacular coastal road from Gordon’s Bay to Rooiels was for some distant views of Southern Right Whales. Victorin’s Warbler was calling nearby and a short bout of playback resulted in excellent scope views of this normally-skulking endemic, right on the road verge. We were off to a good start, especially when a pair of Cape Siskin landed nearby.

Arriving at Rooiels we were pleased that the previous day’s stormy weather had cleared and we could amble through the colourful fynbos in still, sunny conditions. At first we found some more common species, such as the bright Orange-breasted Sunbird, smart Cape Grassbird, Grey-backed Cisticola and more Cape Siskins, but the distant calls of Cape Rock-jumper has us firmly focussed on the boulder-strewn mountain slopes. Some patience and scanning paid off and we spotted a trio (two males and a female) of Cape Rock-jumper. Initial views were fairly distant but the birds came much closer and we enjoyed prolonged views of these very smart endemics over about an hour. At one stage they even took to bathing in a pool on top of a large rock!

Occasionally our attention was diverted to other species, including the much-wanted Ground Woodpecker, which shared a sun-bathing rock with the rockjumpers for some time. At around midday we continued to Betty’s Bay where a quick visit to Stony Point allowed us to study cormorants in detail, including the endemic Bank Cormorant and Crowned Cormorant. And, of course, lots of African Penguin.

Victorin's Warbler photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.comGround Woodpecker photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com
Victorin's Warbler and Ground Woodpecker photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

This was followed by a late lunch at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and an afternoon stroll up to Disa Kloof, where we spotting African Black Duck, Southern Boubou, Swee Waxbill, Cape Bulbul, Cape Rock Thrush and many Cape Sugarbird.

On our return trip to Stellenbosch we stopped along the coast to find a pair of African Black Oystercatcher, rounding off a superb day.

Cape Sugarbird photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com
Cape Sugarbird photographed on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com


A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Michael Mills. Pictures taken by Callan Cohen.


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.

Birding for Cape endemics on a Birding Africa Day Trip © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com
Birding for Cape endemics on a Birding Africa Day Trip. Picture taken below the Hottentots Hollands Mountains © Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Practical tour information: Cape Day Trips

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.

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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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