Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch

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Cape Sugarbird

Cape Sugarbird

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King Protea

King Protea

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Orange-breasted Sunbird (F)

Orange-breasted Sunbird (F)

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African Dusky Flycatcher

African Dusky Flycatcher

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Bird watching day tours around Cape Town can include three or more of the venues on our day tour list. 

Birdwatchers, bird photographers, botanical enthusiasts and nature lovers of Cape Town, South Africa and indeed guests from all over the world visit Kirstenbosch Gardens.

This extremely well-maintained and managed garden with its magnificent floral displays is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Town and is seldom excluded as a venue to visit when birdwatching in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

In order to miss the many visitors, an early start is recommended.

On entering the Garden (via the upper gates) one is enveloped by the serenity that is Kirstenbosch in the early morning. Stretching before you, the lower slopes of Table Mountain, clothed in green shrubbery and mountain forest, reach up to the base of sculptured blue-grey cliffs towering high into the heavens above you. Birdsong fills the air, Helmeted Guineafowl and Cape Spurfowl feed busily on the lawns while Olive Thrush and Cape Robin-chat search through the leaf litter, and Southern Boubou and Fiscal Shrike call from the denser thickets. Karoo Prinia, Cape White-eye, Cape Canary, Cape Bulbul, Swee and Common Waxbill are regular sightings, Fiscal and Dusky Flycatchers hawk insects from their selected perches.

As the early morning sun blankets the east-facing slopes, lustrous Orange-breasted, Southern Double-Collared and Malachite Sunbirds join Cape Sugarbirds to feed on protea and other flowering fynbos; long bills probe deep into the flowers then with foreheads and frayed tongue tips coated with pollen they move to the next flower to feed and, perhaps, unwittingly assist in pollination.

These open areas of Kirstenbosch produce fantastic viewing and photographic opportunities as it is possible for bird watchers and photographers to get up close to many of the Cape specials. The wooded and forest areas at Kirstenbosch are home to many of the forest species: Cape Batis, Bar Throated Apalis, Sombre Greenbul, Forest Canary, African Paradise Flycatchers and the secretive Lemon Dove to name a few. Spotted Eagle Owl is a regular sighting while African Goshawk, Black and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawks are accipiters that roost and hunt in the forest.

Raptor watching in skies above the Garden has become increasingly popular with sightings of Jackal, Steppe, Forest and European Honey buzzards, Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel common with regular reports of African Harrier-hawk, Booted and Black Eagle sightings.

Sightings in the forest are good. However, like all forest birding, low light and mottled shadows challenge the photographer.

Some of the bird species available:

Helmeted Guineafowl
Cape Spurfowl
Olive Thrush
Cape Robin-chat
Southern Boubou
Fiscal Shrike
Karoo Prinia,
Cape White-eye
Cape Canary
Cape Bulbul
Swee and Common Waxbill
Fiscal and Dusky Flycatchers
Orange-breasted, Southern Double Collared and Malachite Sunbirds
Cape Sugarbirds
Cape Batis
Bar Throated Apalis
Sombre Greenbul
Forest Canary
African Paradise Flycatchers
Lemon Dove
Spotted Eagle Owl
African Goshawk
Black and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawks
Jackal, Steppe, Forest and European Honey Buzzards
Peregrine Falcon
Rock Kestrel
African Harrier-hawk
Booted and Black Eagle.