"Penguins and Sugarbirds"
A birding and wildlife journey through the Fairest Cape
19 - 27 August 2013
The Western Cape is a truly remarkable piece of land. Hemmed in by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west and an intricate system of fold mountains on the inland side, it is possibly as un-African it gets without leaving the continent. The winter rainfall regime, strong summer winds and unique topography have contributed to a high degree of endemism and a singularly unique floral kingdom, described originally by the Dutch settlers as Fynbos, or ‘Fine Bush’. This floral uniqueness also results in a unique bird component and the Western Cape is the place for the endemics-seeker. Throw in breathtaking scenery, warm and welcoming people, a long and interesting history and superb tourism infrastructure and the result is an unforgettable birding, wildlife and cultural experience. Our itinerary has been honed over the years to include the top birding spots while keeping travel and car-time to a minimum. Two nights per stop ensures an unhurried pace and lots of time to seek out the specials and endemics. Southern Right Whales are virtually guaranteed in Spring (late August to October), while the onset of spring is the beginning of the famous Cape flower season. Indeed, once you’ve experienced it, you’ll understand just why it has long been dubbed as the fairest Cape of them all.
Tour In brief
Group size: maximum of 12 participants, 1 guide per six participants
Expected weather conditions: the Cape’s weather is notoriously variable and August is usually towards the end of the rainy season, but it all depends on the cold fronts sweeping up from the south. Some rain can be expected, while fine and warm conditions are also expected.
Tour tempo: medium to medium-plus, optional mid-day breaks on non-travelling days.
Accommodation standards: medium plus: lodges and guest houses.
Birding in Brief: excellent variety, forest, marine, coastal, Karoo and mountain habitats covered. Great for endemic and near-endemic species.
Top birds: Cape Rockjumper, African Penguin, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Siskin, Black Harrier, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Bank Cormorant, African Black Oystercatcher, Ground Woodpecker, Southern Black Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Black-eared Sparrowlark, Blue Crane, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Karoo Korhaan, Knysna Woodpecker.
Mammal viewing: Southern Right Whales in season (late August to December); antelope species such as the endemic Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra, as well as Chacma Baboon, Rock Hyrax and other smaller species. No Big Five.
Other attractions: Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula, the scenic drive between Gordon's Bay and Pringle Bay, the Fold Mountains of the interior, the desolate scenery of the Karoo.