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Cape Birding Overnight Tour: Overberg - Denham's Bustard Tour

Top birds

•  Cape Vulture
•  Blue Crane
•  Denham's Bustard
•  Damara Tern
•  Knysna Woodpecker
•  Agulhas Long-billed Lark
•  Cape Clapper Lark
•  Cape Rock-jumper
•  Victorin's Warbler
•  Southern Tchagra

Please contact us to enquire about an overnight trip.


Typical Birding Sites

Hottentot's Holland Mountains, Sir Lowry's Pass, De Hoop Nature Reserve and if time allows, De Mond Nature Reserve. Possible extension to Grootvadersbosch forest.

Detailed itinerary

It can be difficult visiting the Overberg in one day, so we usually suggest that the area is explored over at least two days.

Across the sandy, low-lying flats that lie east of Cape Town, a barrier of formidable mountains interrupts the landscape. These are the Hottentots Holland Mountains, beyond which lies the fertile Overberg (literally meaning "over the mountains"). The gently undulating Agulhas coastal plains, today predominantly cloaked in wheat fields, host a large number of much-coveted species. These include Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Blue Crane, Stanley's Bustard, Cape Vulture and Southern Tchagra.

A day trip to this region typically kicks off in the Hottentot's Holland Mountains, at Sir Lowry's Pass, where Cape Rock-jumper, Victorin's Warbler and several other mountain and fynbos specials occur. From here we continue eastwards to De Hoop Nature Reserve, stopping to look for Capped Wheatear, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Blue Crane and Stanley's Bustard in cultivated fields en route.

The cliffs on the southern side of Potberg mountain are renowned for hosting the Western Cape’s last breeding colony of Cape Vulture, while the thickets and plantations around the base of the mountain hold desirable endemics as the Southern Tchagra and Knysna Woodpecker, both difficult to see. De Hoop reserve headquarters are set among dense, gnarled milkwood thickets adjacent to De Hoop Vlei. This large, irregularly shaped lake can at times attract a huge number and an excellent diversity of waterfowl and waders, although this varies greatly between years and seasons. Great Crested Grebe is regular here, and occasionally breeds in large numbers. Common residents of the vlei-side thicket are Bar-throated Apalis, Sombre and Cape Bulbuls and Southern Boubou. The area around the vlei and reserve buildings is also one of the best places in the southwestern Cape to see Pearl-breasted Swallow, which often feeds alongside other hirundines such as White-throated Swallow and Brown-throated Martin.

Time and season-permitting, we can visit De Mond Nature Reserve on our return to Cape Town, to look for Damara Terns. It is impractical to cover all great birding spots in the Overberg in a single day. However, we would be glad to tailor a route around your specific interests. With more time, we can plan a more relaxed route incorporating, for example, the superb Grootvadersbosch forest, where the Cape's very best diversity of forest species may be seen, including Grey Cuckooshrike and Knysna Warbler.

The Overberg can also be combined with a visit to the Tanqua Karoo, but this requires a few additional days. Let us know if you are interested in this combination, it makes for an excellent trip!

Blue Crane seen on an Overberg or Endemics Tour © Callan Cohen

See Cape Rockjumper on an Endemics Tour © Mike Buckham

See Knysna Warbler on an Endemics Tour © Mike Buckham

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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[African Tailorbirding CC (CK2003/020710/23) trading as Birding Africa]
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