Tours by Style
1-Day Pelagic Trips
Come with us and ply the oceans for such great birds as albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, prions, storm petrels, tropicbirds, noddies, and more! Our 1-day Cape pelagic seabird trip is extremely popular, and rightly so. Indeed, Cape Town pelagics are among the most famous seabirding trips on the planet. But from time to time we also help arrange some of the other world-famous pelagics or we simply include these as part of our set-departure tours, e.g. New Zealand, Australia, Cape Hatteras off the renowned Outer Banks of North Carolina, San Diego, and Monterrey Bay in California, the Dry Tortugas in Florida, and across the world. Some of the South American pelagic trips are absolutely incredible, e.g. the seabird trips off Lima, Peru (fancy a Peruvian Diving Petrel or some of the species occurring closer to the shore, such as Humboldt Penguin or Inca Tern?). And then of course there’s Alaska, with it’s two puffin species, all the other alcids, and altogether phenomenal seabirding opportunities. Please see details of our main Alaska tour, and then we also get out to more remote parts of this vast state on the extension.
Pelagic birding trips encompass a very specialized type of birding. They are greatly loved by experienced birders (well, at least those who don’t suffer from seasickness). Pelagics are an easy way of getting a bunch of life-birds, and the chance of seeing a rarity or two on a pelagic trip is high. Suddenly a “mega” can appear out of nowhere while we’re miles offshore, sometimes in response to chumming. A pelagic birding day is a very exciting thing to embark on!
But beginner birdwatchers are often afraid of pelagic boat trips. The thought of going out on a small boat in search of seabirds, braving possible seasickness or enduring cold and wet conditions rightly worries many would-be pelagic-goers. We include a pelagic seabird day trip (or occasionally two) on quite a number of our birding tours across the world, but of course they’re not compulsory; if you opt out you can either stay back at the lodge relaxing and watching or photographing birds, or you will be taken on conventional (terrestrial) birding while the rest of the group is out at sea.
If you want to get a feel for what a seabirding trip is like then please take a look at the Cape Town pelagic trip footage on our video gallery. These Cape pelagics usually depart from Simonstown or Hout Bay and sail past the scenically spectacular Cape Point and nearby Cape of Good Hope into the open ocean. Very exciting!
Please note that pelagic trips can be postponed or canceled completely if sea conditions are too rough and waves are too high because of wind. Safety always comes first, and we won’t go out if the skipper decides that the seas are going to be too rough.
We’re able to arrange tailor-made 1-day (or sometimes 2-day) pelagic birding trips at some unusual sites, if you ask us. For example, we did a pelagic trip off Walvis Bay, Namibia, once, not something that often gets arranged by birding tour companies. We can also arrange pelagic birdwatching off the tropical waters of Mozambique, as another example. Kindly just ask us, and we can look into it as we’re experienced arranging birding pelagics. BirdLife South Africa sometimes also arranges exciting trips that can last several days, such as “the birding cruise to nowhere”, a trip from Cape Town deep into the southern oceans and back. What a trip that was, with some firsts for the South African region including Sooty Albatross, Light-mantled Albatross, and other desirables! And “Flock to Marion”, a trip to a sub-Antarctic island that few birders have the privilege of getting to. Please ask us if you want to be kept informed of these pelagic tours.
In addition to 1-day pelagic bird trips Birding Ecotours also offers quite a number of longer expedition birding cruises on small ships, which give plenty of time for pelagic birding. The best cruise we do for pelagic birding must be our annual Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands wildlife cruise. We see so many different albatrosses and penguins, including massive colonies of King Penguins, on this tour.
We also often see other wildlife on our pelagic day trips. On our Cape pelagics we frequently see Southern Right Whale and Bryde’s Whale, Cape Fur Seals and other marine mammals. We may even get lucky with a sighting of a sea turtle! False Bay is also one of the world’s best sites for Great White Shark, and we can in fact arrange shark trips by request as well.
We’re excited about our 1-day pelagics and invite you to join us on a scheduled or a bespoke seabird tour.
1-Day Pelagic Videos
Pelagic birding trips off Cape Town are always exciting as you never know what might appear over the next swell. Come and join us on another adventure out at sea and experience for yourself the wonders of pelagic birding!