Duration: 2 days
Tour Start: Cape Town
Tour End: Cape Town
We fetch you from your hotel in the early morning and head through spectacular scenery to the beautiful town of Ceres (2.5 – 3 hours’ drive from Cape Town). Ceres is the gateway to the Karoo. The Karoo happens to be one of the greatest endemic hotspots on the entire African continent, and almost everything will be new to birders who haven’t yet visited these parts.
On the way to Ceres, we may also find some exciting non-Karoo endemics such as Cape Clapper Lark, Cape Long-billed Lark, Protea Canary, and many others. Our Karoo-proper birding will start at a canyon near Katbakkies, which is a famed site for the bizarre, crevice-skulking Cinnamon-breasted Warbler. But, this canyon is also full of other incredibly exciting species such as the beautiful Fairy Flycatcher, Pale-winged Starling, Mountain Wheatear, Layard’s Tit-babbler,Rufous-vented Tit-babbler, Cape Eagle-Owl (this one requires a lot of luck), and a host of other rock- and mountain-associated species. We will then head onto the vast flat plains for a completely different suite of endemics, including Karoo Korhaan,Tractrac Chat, Sickle-winged Chat, Karoo Chat, Karoo Eremomela, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Rufous-eared Warbler, Southern Grey Tit, Karoo Lark,Karoo Long-billed Lark, Large-billed Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, and many others. Booted Eagle is relatively common here in these dry parts of the south-western Cape. By the time we reach the lovely and very hospitable Tanqua B&B, our chances of finding Ludwig’s Bustard, Namaqua Warbler, Namaqua Sandgrouse,Namaqua Dove, Dusky Sunbird (with luck), Double-banded Courser, and the rare and declining Burchell’s Courser will have markedly increased. The vicinity of the B&B itself has proved one of the most reliable sites in South Africa (and the world) for the tough Burchell’s Courser!
Night drives at the Tanqua B&B sometimes generate Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Cape Eagle-Owl (with lots of luck), Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Caracal (red lynx – with luck), and good numbers of other small mammals. After spending the night at the Tanqua B&B, we continue birding for the whole of the next day before eventually arriving back in Cape Town. Our aim is to find almost all the Karoo endemics.
We can extend this trip to 3 days, in which case we could find some very difficult fynbos endemics such as Protea Canary (almost guaranteed given an extra day), Cape Rockjumper, and others, in addition to all the Karoo species. The additional day would involve birding picnic areas and the summit of the rugged Cederberg mountain range.
This 2-day trip forms part of our longer 8- or 12-day Western Cape birding tours. We recommend combining this 2-day trip with the 2-day Agulhas Plains trip and/or a 1-day West Coast or Cape Peninsula/False Bay birding tour, if you have more than two but less than eight days available. To really clean up on South African birds, we recommend the 8-day Western Cape trip plus at least a portion of the Namaqualand and Kalahari Birding trip, plus our 2-week subtropical South Africa birding tour.
The guide for day trips is allocated only after you have booked, as all of them are run as private trips. But we always use the country’s top birding guides.