BIRD AND MAMMAL SAFARI
6 DAY South Coast, Overberg and Little Karoo safari
The following tour itinerary serves as a guideline only. Aperture Wild will happily custom the safari to suit your specific needs and time restraints.
Departing early from Cape Town, we head out along the coastal road below the towering Hottentots Holland range of mountains; a drive taken by many for its scenic beauty alone. Once on the far side of False Bay, we visit sites that give birdwatchers and photographers the chance to see most of the bird species available on the peninsula. However, the area also provides fairly easy access to a few species that are more difficult to locate or are not available on the peninsula.
Rooi Els, the beautiful Harold Porter Botanical Garden and Stony Point are all excellent birding venues.
Area target species: African Penguin, Cape, Crowned, and Bank Cormorants Cape Rockjumper, Victorin’s Warbler Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted and Southern Doubl-collared Sunbird, Neddicky, Cape Siskin, Cape and Sentinel Rock-thrush to name but a few.
We then head east towards Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. Time permitting, we visit the Agulhas Nature Reserve for more fynbos-habitat birding and De Mond Nature Reserve, to view many of the waders(seasonal) that frequent our coastline, the beach at the mouth of the river is also home to a small colony of breeding Damara terns.
Retire to selected overnight accommodation.
We travel through farmlands, open fields and islands of natural Renosterveld to find sought-after bird species including Black Harrier, Blue Crane, Karoo Koran, Denham’s Bustard, White Stork, Aguhlas Long-billed,Cape Clapper, Red-capped and Thick-billed Lark and Capped Wheatear.We visit the De Hoop Nature Reserve which boasts a 260-strong bird list. The coastal fynbos can produce further exciting species like Southern Tchagra, Bokmakierie and Knysna Woodpecker, while the large lake attracts many species of water fowl and waders. 86 mammal species are found in the park, most notably: Bontebok, Grey Rhebok, Cape Mountain Zebra, Steenbok, Eland, Chacma Baboon and, if you’re lucky, Caracal. The park is an important conservation area for the rarer lowland fynbos.
A visit to Potberg Nature Reserve could provide views of the endangered Cape Vulture at its southern-most breeding colony.
We then make our way to our overnight accommodation on the banks of the Breede River.
Up early, we scout the area around the lodge and towards the river mouth for birds. After a hearty breakfast, we make our way to the Bontebok National Park, crossing the river at Malgas by way of a hand-drawn pont, the last of its kind in South Africa.
This beautiful park, aptly described as “a place of beauty and simplistic charm”, nestles on the plains alongside the majestic Breede River and will provide a host of bird species to add to your growing list: Grey-winged Francolin, Cardinal Woodpecker, Fiscal Flycatcher, Southern Flycatcher, Bar-throated Apalis, Streaky-headed Seed-eater to name but a few. Mammals one can expect to see are Bontebok, Cape Mountai Zebra and Grey Rhebok.
We then depart for our accommodation at Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve
Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve encompasses 250 hectares of the most noteworthy, remaining indigenous forest in the Western Cape and is the western limit for a number of the more characteristic eastern species of birds: Narina Trogon, Forest Canary, Victorin’s Scrub-Warbler, Terrestrial Brownbul, Olive Bush-Shrike, African Paradise Flycatcher, Forest Buzzard, Jackal Buzzard, African Crowned Eagle, Greater Double-Collared Sunbird, Cape Siskin, Cape Batis, Sombre Greenbul, Red-necked Spurfowl and Olive Woodpecker are some of the bird species you can expect to find.
[Please note that this is mainly an “on foot” venue and may be too strenuous for some. The Garden Route Safari would be less challenging and offers much easier access to all the species found here.]
We depart for the luxurious, malaria-free Sanbona Wild Life Reserve in the Little Karoo heartland via a short journey over the scenic Tradouw Pass.
DAY 5 & 6
We enjoy 54,000 hectares of bird watching and mammal viewing on one of the largest privately-owned reserves in South Africa. You will have the opportunity to view and photograph White Lion, Cheetah, Elephant, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Cape Mountain Zebra plus many antelope species including Springbok, Greater Kudu and Gemsbok.
Sanbona also boasts one of the most successful Riverine Rabbit conservation projects and offers the opportunity to view and photograph Africa’s most endangered mammal species along with other “elusive” nocturnal species like Aardvark, Aardwolf, Cape Fox, Bat-eared Fox and Porcupine.
The reserve also boasts an extensive bird list which includes many of the “Karoo Specials” : Karoo Korhaan, Sickle-winged Chat, Yellow Canary, Cinnamon-breasted and Rufous-eared Warbler, Pirit Batis, Fairy Flycatcher, Karoo Lark, African Shelduck, Southern Pale –Chanting Goshawk and Jackal Buzzard to name but a few.
Endless and excellent bird and mammal watching and photographic opportunities are afforded at this pristine reserve.
The safari returns to Cape Town – with new memories, birding and mammal lists, experiences, photographs and friendships to discuss and treasure for many moons to come.