Jon and I met at his V&A Waterfront hotel
early on Friday, enabling us to escape from the centre of Cape Town
before the morning rush hour traffic set in. We headed east out
of the city; the trip across the Cape Flats being relatively uneventful
except for picking up Indian House Crow near the airport. On the
eastern side of the City we turned off towards the coast and were
soon travelling along the False Bay coastline. The mountains above
us were the Kogelberg Mountains, with their incredibly high floral
We stopped at a roadside lay-by turning up Cape Robin-chat, Cape
Bunting and Orange-breasted Sunbird, whilst a pair of Cape Batis
responded out of an indigenous forest patch. After travelling this
magnificent scenic drive we came to the village of Rooiels where
we walked the coastal strip looking for Cape Rockjumper. We heard
these birds calling but they failed to put in an appearance. We
did however have great views of a pair of Verreaux’s Eagle
that put down on a nest high on the over hanging mountain cliff.
Nearby were White-necked Ravens, which were joined by Peregrine
Falcon and Rock Kestrels hanging in the mountain updrafts. Further
to this we found Rock Martin, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Rock-Thrush,
Orange-breasted and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds along the
coastal track. A particularly vocal Cape Grassbird gave us a fine
display and photographic opportunity.
We moved on to the Stoney Point penguin colony in Betty’s
Bay. This colony of African Penguins is one of the few mainland
penguin colonies that have become established due to the absence
of traditional historical predators such as lion, hyena and leopard
that used roam the mainland. On the way there we picked up Cape
Spurfowl and at the parking area found Cape Weaver. On the walk
down to the penguin colony we found the plump Rock Hyrax, which
lay around the rocks like sunning door mats. At the Stoney Point
itself, we found Southern Boubou and then a couple of hundred African
Penguins covering the shore line, with adult and young birds alike.
The adjacent cormorant colony was well attended, with White-breasted,
Cape, Bank and Crowned Cormorants. Some birds were breeding and
these birds allowed us to put a scope on them and work through the
identification differences between the species.
Looking out to sea there were the usual Cape and Hartlaub’s
Gulls, with a surprise viewing of Shy Albatross and a White-chinned
Leaving Stoney Point we travelled on to the Harold Porter Botanical
Gardens, which has a mixture of cultivated flower beds of the local
flora as well as natural fynbos and forested ravines. At the entrance
we heard Sombre Greenbul, but it took a while to connect with this
species. Cape White-eye, Olive Thrush, Yellow Bishop and Cape Bulbul
met us along the paths, along with tame and confiding Cape Robin-chat.
We walked through the lower garden, hearing Malachite Sunbird which
gave only a brief view of the emerald green body of the male. Further
up the garden, we stumbled across a Victorin’s Warbler which
was unusually some distance away from water. A young Pin-tailed
Whydah made an appearance with a calling Southern Boubou Shrike.
In the Disa Gorge we picked up a tame and confiding Dusky Flycatcher
and Cape Batis before heading down for some lunch at the restaurant.
After lunch we headed back to Cape Town, picking up Steppe Buzzard
and Yellow-billed Kite before reaching the Strandfontein Sewage
Treatment Works on the Cape Flats.
Here we found a wide variety of water birds; amongst the water fowl
we soon found Cape Teal, Cape Shoveller, Southern Pochard, Yellow-billed
Duck, Red- billed Teal and Maccoa Duck. Great-crested, Black- necked
and Little Grebe’s were on the pans in large numbers, whilst
several hundred Greater Flamingos put on a fine display, along a
smaller matching flock of Black-winged Stilt. African Purple Swamphen,
Red-knobbed Coot and Common Moorhen patrolled the shoreline, with
Glossy and Sacred Ibis competing for space with extensive flocks
of Cape and Hartlaub’s Gulls.
Being late in the afternoon we headed back into Cape Town, again
avoiding the traffic and so ending a great day out!
For a full list of species from this trip, please
A Birding Africa Trip
Report by Tour Leader Dalton Gibbs.
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
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
Only a low level of fitness is required.
Throughout the year.
Moderate; can be warm in summer and chilly in winter.
A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and
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.