Birding Africa
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Western Cape Tour, Hottentots Holland, 6 March 2011

Please click here for more information about our upcoming Cape Tours.

Itinerary: We birded at Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Rooi Els, Stoney Point, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

Detailed Trip Report

The purpose of this trip was to find a select number of target species such as Cape Rock-jumper, Victorin's Warbler, Bank Cormorant and Grey-backed Cisticola.

We left Cape Town just after 06:30 and headed east along the N2 for specific targets. We stopped past Gordon’s Bay near the Steenbras River mouth in search of Victorin’s Warbler. While there was no sign of the bird, we watched an obliging display of Cape Sugarbirds.

Moving on, we arrived at Harold Porter National Botanical Garden in Betty's Bay just as the gates opened. We quickly worked our way up through the gardens stopping briefly to enjoy Orange-breasted and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Cape Sugarbirds, Dusky Sunbird, Swee Waxbills, Cape Robin, Cape Francolin and more common birds. Once we had crossed the bridge and headed up Disa Ravine we found a pair of African Black Duck. We moved in towards our target bird. On the dry (usually damp) slopes of the ravine the work started and after an hour we located a very secretive Victorin’s Warbler. We could just make out its very subtle movement through the fynbos. During the half hour that we spent with the bird it showed itself once for a nano-second and was induced to give one short call. A rather frustrating experience, but not unexpected at this time of the year.

After a pleasant breakfast at the Garden’s restaurant we headed for the Stoney Point penguin colony which has in recent months grown considerably as a result of the proximity of the desired food source (anchovies). African Penguin in all plumage stages adorned the rocks and nest sites. Betty's Bay is one of the few places in South Africa where all four species of marine cormorants can be seen. Bank, Cape, Crowned and White-breasted Cormorant were present and breeding allowing us to compare the features of each species at our leisure. Bank Cormorant had been another target bird so the results of our endeavors were quite satisfactory. On the edges of the colony we were able to spend some time with Rock Hyrax and Common Girdled Lizard.

We then headed on to Rooi Els in search of the Cape Rockjumper. The calm, hot conditions were quite debilitating and after information regarding the lack of Rockjumper sighting over the past weeks our expectations were quite low. We scoured the rocky slopes for nearly 2km and were eventually rewarded with extended views of a confiding pair of Cape Rockjumper within 30m of the road!

The next target species we watched was Grey-backed Cisticola. We observed a family of Grey-backed Cisticola sheltering under a rock from the now oppressive heat. We enjoyed watching three sunbird species, Orange-breasted, Southern Double-collared and Malachite Sunbirds, Familiar Chats, Cape Buntings, Rock Martins and a few Southern Rock Agamas.

After rehydrating in the village of Rooi Els we headed off to Paarl Mountain for a late afternoon attempt at Protea Canary. Sadly the South-easter which had held off all day was now screaming and after a short walk in the Botanical Gardens we agreed to leave this species for another day.

For a full list of species from this trip, please contact us.

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Barrie Rose.

Many of the birding sites on this trip are described in detail in the Southern African Birdfinder which is widely available in South African bookshops and on the internet. (e.g., or However you're always welcome to contact us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.

Practical tour information: Cape Day Trips and Western Cape Tours

Please click this link for more detailed information about our upcoming Cape Tours.
Focus Our Cape tours and day trips are aimed at keen birders and nature enthusiasts. They have been designed to see as many endemic birds as possible. While on the walks, we spend a lot of time looking for other aspects of wildlife such as mammals, chameleons, geckos, butterflies and interesting plants. We can also customise any itinerary to suit to the keen birder, the wildlife enthusiast or both.
Photography Many participants on our tours and day trips are amateur wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are very good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.
Fitness Only a low level of fitness is required.
Timing Throughout the year.
Climate Moderate; can be warm in summer and chilly in winter.
Comfort A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
Transport We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle.
Group Size This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Top birds Fynbos endemics, Karoo endemics and raptors in a spectacular setting
Top mammals whales, dolphins, Cape Grysbok, Chacma Baboon, Caracal, Grey Mongoose
Booking Please contact us if you wish to book. You will receive the booking form and conditions and a tour information pack.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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