Duration: 1 day
Tour start: Cape Town
Tour end: Cape Town
Price: R4,500 for one person, R500 per extra person
Single Supplement: n/a
Vehicle hire and fuel
As usual this is a very full day of birding. We will drive north from the beautiful city of Cape Town. Our first stop is generally the Darling area, where we are able to find a number of important species. The patches of fynbos harbor Cape Clapper Lark (in spring), Southern Black Korhaan, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Grassbird, Grey-winged Francolin, Bokmakierie, and Chestnut-vented Warbler, and others. The farmlands will be birded for Blue Crane, African Hoopoe, Pied Starling, Capped Wheatear, Red-capped Lark, and Pearl-breasted Swallow, while we may also get lucky with Secretarybird striding through the veld. We normally stop at a small wetland where Red-chested Flufftail breeds; however, it is very difficult to see. Other birds seen here include African Rail (difficult), African Snipe, Little Rush Warbler, and Yellow Bishop.
Our next stop will be at the tiny Tienie Versveld Wildflower Reserve, an excellent stakeout for the unique Western Cape subspecies of Cloud Cisticola. Here it is also usually easy to find the stunning Cape Longclaw, Capped Wheatear, Large-billed Lark, several waterbirds often including South African Shelduck, and good numbers of other fine birds. This tiny reserve also hosts a plethora of stunning flowers, which are best viewed in spring.
We can then head to the extremely interesting fishing town of Yzerfontein to search the rocky shoreline for Bank, Cape, and Crowned Cormorants, African Oystercatcher, and others. Yzerfontein is an excellent site on the West Coast
We will continue northward to the West Coast National Park, which has fantastic terrestrial endemic birding as well as a huge lagoon, which is one of Africa’s primary shorebird stopover sites. Sought-after species we can find here include Black Harrier (and also African Marsh Harrier), Grey-winged Francolin, Cape Penduline Tit, Grey Tit, Cape Bulbul, White-backed Mousebird, Southern Black Korhaan, and many others. Common Ostrich is common. Shorebirds (waders) include impressive numbers of Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Grey (Black-bellied) Plover, Chestnut-banded Plover, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, and a host of others. Several shorebird species such as Common Redshank that are genuine vagrants to South Africa are actually regular here at the Langebaan Lagoon in the West Coast National Park. We can also visit a freshwater wetland within the national park for a suite of new species, including African Rail (with luck), Black Crake, African Swamphen, several waterfowl, Brown-throated Martin, Sand Martin (late summer), reed-associated warblers, and many more. Antelope in the park include Common Eland, Steenbok, and Bontebok, while we may even get lucky with a Caracal sighting!
Time permitting we can look for Sickle-winged Chat, Cape Long-billed Lark, Secretarybird (with luck), Acacia Pied Barbet, Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark, Namaqua Sandgrouse (tough), Ant-eating Chat, Antarctic Tern (winter) and other birds to the north of the West Coast National Park at the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve near Paternoster. We may also have time to visit the salt works around Velddrif, where Chestnut-banded Plovers are particularly numerous, with a few Red-necked Phalaropes present too, before heading back to Cape Town.
The above are all options during the day. However, due to time constraints all of them might not be possible in a single day, and we would have to decide what to focus on.
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.
Please note that the above itinerary is only a suggested route, we can customize the day as you like.