1-day Cape Mountains and Fynbos Birding Tour
Price: R4,500 for one person, then R500 per extra person
Single Supplement: n/a
Duration: 1 day
Tour start: Cape Town
Tour end: Cape Town
Vehicle hire and fuel
Sentinel Rock Thrush
Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.
This tour will give you a chance to see some of the Cape’s best scenery while taking in a number of its top birds, including Cape-fynbos endemics like Cape Rockjumper, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Siskin, and Victorin’s Warbler.
The below is just a rough guide, and since this is run as a private tour it is completely flexible. Also we try to fit a lot in today, so please be aware that all of it is time-permitting.
The day starts with one of the most beautiful coastal drives anywhere, first along a long, white, sandy beach, then along a rocky coastline where high Cape Fold mountains come right down to the sea. En route we may observe Southern Right Whales (winter) and other marine mammals close inshore. After a one-hour drive we will reach the village of Rooi Els, famous for hosting Cape Rockjumper. While looking for the rockjumper we also hope to find Cape Siskin, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird, Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrushes, Neddicky, Ground Woodpecker, and Cape Grassbird. We will keep a lookout overhead for raptors which breed nearby, such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Jackal Buzzard, and Rock Kestrel. In the nearby scrub we should find Yellow Bishop, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Bulbul, Grey-backed Cisticola, and Karoo Prinia.
We will then continue driving beyond Rooi Els for about 20 minutes to the beautiful coastal village of Betty’s Bay. Here we can observe one of only three mainland African Penguin colonies, and we will also get good views of four species of Cormorants (Bank, Cape, Crowned, and White-breasted), of which one species is endemic.
We next visit the nearby Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, hoping for another localized fynbos endemic, Victorin’s Warbler, along with Cape, Forest, and Brimstone Canaries, Cape Spurfowl, Cape Batis, Cape Bulbul, Cape Robin-Chat, Fiscal Flycatcher, Southern Boubou, Black Saw-wing, African Paradise Flycatcher (summer), Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Swee Waxbill, and, as usual, so many others. Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher and Olive Woodpecker both occur; but they are low in density.
Hottentot Buttonquail does occur nearby; however, it is notoriously difficult to see and requires a lot of walking through tough habitat. Therefore we do not normally try for this species on this tour; however, if you are particularly interested in the buttonquail we can of course try for it. The same applies for Striped Flufftail (another notorious skulker!), which is possible to find in the area (August – October only) but requires a lot of time and dedication.
Finally, we will start heading back to Cape Town. But, depending on time, we might stop en route at Strandfontein Bird Sanctuary. Here we should see wildfowl such as Cape, Red-billed, and Hottentot Teals, Cape Shoveler, Maccoa Duck, Southern Pochard, and many others. Common waterbirds include Greater and occasionally Lesser Flamingos, Great White Pelican, African Oystercatcher, African Swamphen, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes, various shorebirds, and African Marsh Harrier, as well as Little Rush and Lesser Swamp Warblers. In the surrounding scrub we may find Cape Bulbul, Karoo Prinia, Cape Longclaw, and many more. The Eucalyptus stands often host Black and Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawks, while Peregrine Falcon is occasionally seen harassing unsuspecting waterbirds.
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.