Tour At A Glance

Cost:

3999.00

Deposit:

800.00

Single Room Supplement:

No single supplement

Tour Code:

Intermediate, with some long drives, early starts and late finishes

Group Size:

Six plus leaders

Crimson-breasted Shrike Lion Cape Glossy Starling Giraffe Northern Black Korhaan Giant Eagle Owl Black-chested Snake-Eagle Burchell's Sandgrouse

South Africa - Cape to Kalahari

Date: Tour not currently running
Leaders: Ashley Saunders and Brian Vanderwalt

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE
Fly London/Cape Town overnight.

DAY TWO
Once safely landed and out of the airport we bird on the Cape Peninsula at a birders favorite site, a sewerage works where 50+ species can be seen without too much effort.  Black-necked Grebe, Cape Shoveller, Yellow-billed Duck, Cape,& Red Billed Teals, Greater Flamingo, Purple Swamphen and Blacksmith Plover can be easily seen.  The rare Hottentot Teal also occurs here and a number of passerines typical of the area can also be found such as Levaillant’s Cisticola, Karoo Prinia, Orange-throated Longclaw and Southern Red Bishop. From here we make the short transfer into Cape Town and check into our accommodation for the night at the superb Braeside B&B near the V&A Waterfront.

DAY THREE
North of Cape Town, situated alongside the fishing port of Saldanha Bay, one finds Langebaan Lagoon which forms part of the West Coast National Park.  The Lagoon hosts a vast variety of migrant waders, which can be seen from the well-placed hides.  This is one of few occasions that one has the opportunity to view birds from bird hides with minimum disturbance.  Langebaan Lagoon is also a RAMSAR site where up to 40,000 migrant waders from Northern Europe in their winter plumage gather to enjoy the southern summer.  Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint are most numerous, but Marsh and occasionally Terek Sandpipers can sometimes be picked out and Kittlitz’s Plover can also be seen.  The surrounding strandveld and freshwater pans in this dry west coast of South Africa are home to the Black Harrier, Cape Penduline Tit, Yellow Canary, Karoo Lark, Southern Black Korhaan, Grey-winged Francolin, Large-billed Lark and Bokmakierie.
We overnight at Glen Finnan B&B in Langebaan Village.

DAY FOUR
We travel onwards through orange orchards, but soon the region changes to arid beauty of the semi desert/desert area of the Northern Cape.  En route we take time out to bird looking for specialist spots where Protea Seedeater, Fairy Flycatcher, Chestnut-vented Titbabbler occur but Rock & Greater Kestrel and Ludwig’s Bustard may also be seen on route.  Late afternoon we call on Port Nolloth for the endemic Barlow’s Lark and Cape Long-billed Larks.
We overnight at Springbok Lodge in Springbok – capital of Namaqualand

DAY FIVE
We depart early for the red dunes near Aggeneys in search of the endemic Red Lark.  The red dunes with their sparse grass cover make this a unique desert region.  The Sclater’s and Starks Larks need a bit of patience at a water trough in the arid scrub before they come in to drink.  We will start seeing our first huge Sociable Weaver nest on the telegraph poles and this also gives us a chance to see one of the world’s smallest falcon, Pygmy Falcon which uses one of the Weaver nests in exchange for keeping the Cape Cobras away from the other nests.  Our arrival at Augrabies Falls National Park in the afternoon, gives us time to view the spectacular Augrabies Falls, where the Orange River crashes through a narrow gorge and down a 56m drop. Dusky Sunbird, Pale winged Starling, Red-eyed Bulbul, Brubru Shrike, and Verreaux’s Eagle are some of the birds to be found here.
We overnight at the air-conditioned Augrabies National Park Rest Camp in comfortable bungalows.

DAY SIX
Early morning birding in the rest camp and a drive through the rocky terrain where we may see Bradfield’s Lark, Namaqua Sandgrouse and the elusive Cinnamon-breasted Warbler.  After which we drive along the longest vineyard in the world, to Upington where we will buy breakfast & lunch supplies for the Kalahari National Park.  We will bird north around Spitskop Park and arrive late afternoon at our overnight stop at Kalahari Guest House a working sheep farm.

DAYS SEVEN, EIGHT AND NINE
We do an early morning walk before breakfast at the B&B before tackling the rest of the road to Kalahari National Park. We arrive in the early afternoon at Twee Rivieren Camp, in time for unpacking and a refreshing swim where after we will do a short drive into the park.  A night drive can be arrange and is recommended. A restaurant at Twee Rivieren provides traditional venison meals and other South African dishes. The Kalahari National Park will produce the finest raptor viewing in South Africa. This is home to the magnificent black maned Lions and game viewing such as Cheetah, Leopard, Caracal, and African Wildcat can be exciting between the birds!  Ground Squirrels are regular visitors to the campsites and rest areas and provide many hours of entertainment!  Suricates (Meercats) can be seen close to their burrows and pose willingly in various comical stances. The magnificent Gemsbok is seen as it stands proud on the top of the red dunes. Gnu and Springbok are regulars at the water holes.  Early morning risers may see Spotted and Brown Hyena and Cape Fox and the Honey Badger doing his own thing looking for grubs under the tree bark.  We may even see the Pale-chanting Goshawk walking behind it waiting for the “one that thought it got away”  However the small mammal to look out for is definitely the red form of the Slender Mongoose, an almost ginger colour.  White-backed & Lappet-faced Vultures, Martial, Tawny & Booted Eagles, Black-chested Snake-eagle, Gabar & Pale Chanting Goshawks, Lanner & Red-necked Falcons, Verreaux’s & Spotted Eagle-owls, White-faced & Pearl-spotted Owls and Kori Bustard as well as the strange Secretary Birds are some of the larger birds to be seen here.  Bateleur Eagles doing their rocking flight is always a show stopper.  But then there are the small guys, Namaqua Dove, Violet-eared and Black-cheeked Waxbills, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Red-billed Quelea, Fawn-colored and Starks’s Larks, Lark-like Bunting, etc.  Most of the action is at the waterholes as small birds come in to drink and the raptors attack!  We will include one Sunset/Night drive as part of your tour package to look for some of the big game present in the park, and while additional drives will be available to interested parties, these will cost+- R180 each which can be booked once there. With long days in the field, we may find that one drive is enough.
We overnight three nights at the air-conditioned Twee Revieren Rest Camp travelling out each day.

DAY TEN
After and early morning drive near Twee Revieren, we head back out of the Park south to Kalahari Guest House and overnight there.

DAY ELEVEN
After a walkabout on the farm before breakfast we travel south to Calvinia an area of dry Karoo scrub, arriving in the late afternoon, but not before birding around Upington Town and farms. In the karoo scrub we may see Greater Kestrel, Bradfield’s Lark, Pygmy Falcon, Karoo Korhaan and Ludwig’s Bustard and the plains form of the Red Lark may be seen.
We overnight at Hantam Huis B&B.

DAY TWELVE
After morning birding we head down the long road to Cape Town where we will overnight at Braeside B&B near the V & A Waterfront.

DAY THIRTEEN
Relaxing day in Cape Town, with a trip to Harold Porter Botanical Gardens for some Fynbos birds ie, Cape Rockjumper, Cape Rock-thrush, Cape Siskin, Cape Sugarbird & Orange Breasted Sunbird, Victorin’s Warbler, Cape, Crowned, Bank & White-breasted Cormorants and African Penguin and on to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for a late lunch and more fynbos birding such as Spotted Eagle-owl, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Francolin, Cape Bulbul, Brimstone and Forest Canaries, Karoo Prinia to name a few.  These two areas capture the natural Fynbos and Mountain flora and provide one with the opportunity of birding just outside the city before we depart for Cape Town International airport for flight to UK.

DAY FOURTEEN
Arrival back in London where the tour will conclude.

 

Additional Information

 

ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation is at seven different bases, and varies from excellent luxurious B&B to comfortable air conditioned lodges and enjoys private bathroom facilities and single rooms throughout.  The exception to this is for one night in the Kalahari where we may choose to venture north and spend the night at either Nossob or Mata-Mata camps.  Here facilities are shared, and rooms have a fan rather than air-conditioning.  Your guides will cook you a simple meal here too as there are no restaurant facilities.  This does give us the chance to visit some key areas at dawn and dusk which could be particularly productive for viewing game.

TOUR CODE
Intermediate with essential early morning starts, though we will break during the heat of the day when in the desert.  Expect temperatures in the Kalahari of between 32 and 38C, though thunderstorms are still also possible at this time of year.  There is little walking, with mainly short walks over sandy or stony ground, with much of the birding done from or beside the vehicle.  Biting insects are often encountered at Augrabies, and though Malaria isn’t present in the region we strongly recommend taking precautions.  You should also expect some long drives of several hours on this tour due to the size of the area covered, but we will travel throughout by spacious and comfortable air-conditioned Toyota Quantum van.

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Return flights London/Cape Town, eleven nights accommodation, dinner, bed and breakfast, packed lunches, ground transport in South Africa, services of leaders and reserve entrance fees. We will also include wine with dinner and cold drinking water throughout the day, and one dawn or dusk game drive in the Kalahari.

NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/from London airport and any overnight stay that might be involved, travel insurance, other drinks, optional guides tips and any items of a purely personal nature. Additional game drives in the Kalahari may also be available at an additional cost payable locally.

 

Testimonials

 

"Thanks for another successful trip. Great company, Brian was on form as usual with his amazing spotting, great birds & mammals – Lions all 3 days in the Kalahari- good food & good b & bs."  C.H Orkney
 
"We are safely back! Great adventure with you. You work so hard and are fantastic fun! Thank you for all your hard work for us. "  P C Herts

 

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