1-day Cape Peninsula Birding Tour
1-day Cape Peninsula Birding Tour
Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is located near Table Bay on the northern extremity of the stunning Cape Peninsula. This morning we will fetch you from your Cape Town hotel and spend the day taking you to some of the peninsula’s top birding sites. We will try to find a lot of the localized endemics (of which there are many), and we will also see flamingo, pelican, and other waterbird spectacles, plus we will enjoy fantastic botanical garden birding in idyllic surroundings.
The exquisitely colored Orange-breasted Sunbird is actually quite common in fynbos throughout the Cape.
We start the day at the famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Here it is quite easy to find some important fynbos endemics such as Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Sugarbird. Other fine birds like Cape Spurfowl, Lemon Dove, Southern Boubou, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Cape Canary, Forest Canary, Cape Robin-Chat, Karoo Prinia, Swee Waxbill, and a whole host of other excellent birds abound. European Honey Buzzard, a very rare bird in South Africa, is actually regular on the slopes of Table Mountain in late summer. Many other raptors are possible in the garden and at other sites we will visit during our peninsula day trip, including Verreaux’s Eagle, Black and Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawks, African Goshawk, Jackal Buzzard, Forest Buzzard (endemic), Rock Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and others.
Forest Canary is fairly common on the Cape Peninsula.
The Constantia greenbelts near Kirstenbosch can often prove more productive for a number of forest species, such as Rufous-breasted and Black Sparrowhawks, African Olive Pigeon, African Paradise Flycatcher, Amethyst Sunbird, Cape Siskin, and the introduced Common Chaffinch. African Wood Owl is possible; however, it would require a really early start or a late finish. An additional day greatly increases the chances of finding difficult raptor species such as sparrowhawks/goshawks and Forest Buzzard.
After an early lunch we will visit a wetland, either Rondevlei Nature Reserve or Strandfontein Bird Sanctuary. Here we should find wildfowl such as Cape Teal, Cape Shoveler, Maccoa Duck, South African Shelduck, and many others. There is a multitude of waterbird species to keep us entertained, including Greater Flamingo, African Spoonbill, Great White Pelican, African Oystercatcher, African Swamphen, Water and Spotted Thick-knees, various shorebirds, African Marsh Harrier, a host of heron species, Little Rush, African Reed, and Lesser Swamp Warblers, and many more. Less-commonly seen species include Little Bittern (summer), Malachite Kingfisher, African Snipe, and Hottentot Teal. In the surrounding fynbos we may find Cape Grassbird, Grey-backed Cisticola, Yellow Bishop, Fiscal Flycatcher, and Bokmakierie, as well as Red-faced and White-backed Mousebirds.
We will visit a colony of African Penguins (one of only three mainland colonies of this southern African endemic), and nearby we should be able to find all four of South Africa’s marine Cormorants (Bank, Cape, Crowned, and White-breasted) and good numbers of the beautiful African Oystercatcher.
The striking African Oystercatcher.
Although not typically included on a birding day tour, for those who are interested we may then carry on farther down the peninsula to the spectacular southwestern-most tip of the African continent, Cape Point. From this “end of the world” spot we should see Cape Gannet, a large breeding colony of Cape Cormorant, African Oystercatcher, and quite a number of interesting terrestrial birds – Cape Grassbird, Cape Siskin, Bokmakierie, and Cape Bulbul are exciting possibilities. When conditions are right a sea watch can produce decent numbers of seabirds, including Cory’s, Great, and Sooty Shearwaters, Shy and Black-browed Albatrosses, White-chinned Petrel, and jaegers.
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.
CAPE PENINSULA DAY TRIP, CUSTOM TOUR
This is an example of a typical 1-day Cape Peninsula birding trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.
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Highlights: African Oystercatcher, Cape Spurfowl, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Bulbul, Cape Grassbird, Cape Batis, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Swee Waxbill, Cape Siskin, Forest Canary
Today I showed Danny from the UK around some of the Cape Peninsula’s top birding spots.
After fetching Danny in Rondebosch we made our way to the greenbelts around Constantia to target a few forest species. The morning started off relatively slow but soon picked up once it started to warm up. Some of the better birds seen included Common Buzzard, Black Saw-wing, Forest and Cape Canaries, Common Chaffinch, Cape Bulbul, Swee Waxbill, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, and Olive Woodpecker.
We then moved round the corner to Cecilia Forest, where despite the hot conditions no raptors were using the thermals. We thus focused on some of the fynbos and forest species and soon came across Cape Siskin, Cape Grassbird, Neddicky, Karoo Prinia, Cape Batis, Malachite Sunbird, and a flyover African Olive Pigeon.
The beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was next on the itinerary. We made our way to a spot where a pair of Buff-spotted Flufftails had set up a territory; however; despite we were waiting in silence for an hour the birds did not put in an appearance. A friend let me know he saw them later that evening; right place at the right time, I guess! We wandered around the well-maintained garden for a couple of hours and came across Sombre Greenbul, Olive Thrush, Cape Robin-Chat, Bar-throated Apalis, African Paradise and African Dusky Flycatchers, Orange-breasted Sunbird, and a Spotted Eagle-Owl at its day roost.
After a quick lunch we moved to the Strandfontein Sewage Works, to add a few waterbirds to the list. We soon came across a number of new waterfowl species for the day, including Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Shoveler, Cape Teal, Red-billed Teal, South African Shelduck, and Spur-winged Goose. Waders were also in abundance and included Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Stint, Ruff, and Three-banded Plover, as well as a few African Oystercatchers. Exploring the many pans further yielded Lesser and Greater Flamingos, Glossy Ibis, Great White Pelican, White Stork, and Intermediate and Little Egrets, as well as both Hartlaub’s and Grey-headed Gulls. A number of species were seen in the adjoining bush, such as Cape Spurfowl, Spotted and Water Thick-knees, African Marsh Harrier, White-necked Raven, Cape Longclaw, and Black-shouldered Kite. The farmland near the sewage works provided Capped Wheatear, Red-capped Lark, and African Pipit.
To finish off the day we moved to Rondevlei on the western side of Zeekoevlei. This little reserve produced a few new species for the day. including Caspian Tern, Wood Sandpiper, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, and a brief sighting of Little Bittern.
We finished a thoroughly enjoyable day with a species count of 99.
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‘I am writing to you to send a formal review of our birding day tour with Dominic Rollinson on May 18, 2021. Matt and I are not bird experts by any means but we do enjoy watching and tracking the various species of birds back home here in the Houston, Texas area. It is very relaxing and very enjoyable learning new things about all of the beautiful feathered friends out there! While planning our South African adventures last year, we certainly knew that we had to spend one day learning about and hopefully seeing many of the beautiful birds of South Africa.
Dominic Rollinson, our truly knowledgeable and awesome birding guide provided Matt and I with a truly unique and genuinely wonderful birding experience!
Our day started around 7:30 am with a prompt arrival for pick up at our hotel in Camps Bay. We headed on to our first destination for the day, Rondevlei Nature Reserve and Cape Flats wetlands. Here we were able to observe various birds such as the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Karoo Prinia, Levaillant’s Cisticola, and Bar-throated Apalis. There were other birds around the various waterways including the Blacksmith Lapwing, Cape Shoveler, and Little Swifts. The highlight was seeing our first sunbird!
The next stop on our day adventure was the Strandfontein sewage works. Here we were able to see Blacksmith Lapwing, Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Spurfowl, Cape and Reed Cormorants, Black-necked Grebe, Hadeda and African Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, and many other species of various water fowl.
Our next stopping point was the peaceful, beautiful and extraordinary Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens! It is here that we saw an abundance of feathered friends! We saw Cape Bulbul, Forest Canary, Cape Sugarbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbirds galore, feeding on the beautiful candelabra aloe flowers, and even a beautiful male Malachite Sunbird! Other sightings included the Sombre Greenbul, Common Waxbill, Cape Robin-Chat, Olive Thrush and Cape White-eye.
Our final stop of the day was at almost sunset overlooking the coast in Clifton. Here we caught a glimpse of African Oystercatchers, Bank and Crowned Cormorants, and the beautiful sunset to cap off a really special day!
Dominic Rollinson provided us with in-depth knowledge and a greater understanding of the various birds, wildlife and ecosystems that make up the areas in/around Cape Town and South Africa! Our expectations for the day were not only met but greatly exceeded with Dominic guiding us along the way! Matt and I truly had a blast and would highly recommend Dominic Rollinson as a birding guide!
Matt and Chris