Ideal for visitors and business travelers who have only a few days available for birding in Cape Town. Itineraries for birding day trips in Cape Town depend on your specific interests relating to Key Species and desired destinations coupled to time of year and weather on the day. We add our local knowledge of bird localities and 'hot' sighting reports - the all important element to serious 'listers' if time and 'hit' rates are prime considerations. This approach ensures our outings are optimally beneficial and enjoyable to you whether you are a 'twitcher' or a leisure birder.
Cape Town Birding Meander
A classic run that commences at first light below Table Mountain for a mix of forest and 'fynbos' specials before embracing a medley of wetlands scattered across the Cape Flats. Routing south towards Cape Point for shorebirds and back across the mountain range ensures an impressive list by day's end.
Key Species : Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted and Lesser Double-collared Sunbird, Sombre and Cape Bulbul, Knysna Scrub Warbler, Grassbird, Cape Shoveller, S A Shelduck, Bank, Cape and Crowned Cormorant, African Black Oystercatcher and many more...
Strandveld Saunter (inner West Coast loop)
A combination of sea and sandveld set against spectacular Table Mountain at dawn marks the start to a diverse day of birding delights and unfolding scenic attractions unique to the sprawling wheatlands and granite capped hills of the Langebaan lagoon. An extended loop as far north as the Berg river estuary ensures a cross section of waders, shorebirds and a host of semi-arid dwelling species of the coastal 'fynbos'.
Key Species: Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape and Grey-wing Francolin, Large-billed, Karoo, Red-capped and Cape Long-billed Lark, Sickle-winged Chat, Yellow and White-throated Canary, Grey and Penduline Tit.
Hottentot's Holland Ramble (inner South Coast loop)
Dawn finds us high on the slopes of the mountain range looking out across False Bay towards Cape Point in the far distance. We set off on foot through pristine displays of colourful mountain 'fynbos' in search of highly localized endemics resident in the area. From here we wend our way along the scenically impressive coastline looking for shorebirds and the odd pelagic seabird. A further walk takes us to a breeding colony of penguins and cormorants before heading inland to explore two wooded ravines and the surrounding slopes. This route offers the possibility of excellent whale sightings in season as an added bonus for the day.
Key Species : Cape Rockjumper, Cape Siskin, Yellow Bishop, Stone chat, Cape Rock Thrush, Victorin's Warbler, Neddicky, Bar-throated Apalis, African Penguin, Ground Woodpecker and Bank Cormorant.
Half-day excursions are also available within inner circuits geared to specific sighting requests in season.
Short Birding Trips in the Western Cape
Our short 'out-of-Cape-Town' birding trips are specially profiled to provide visiting birders with limited time available the chance to pick up on a spread of species typically associated with the mix of habitats within each area.
Combinations of all or any of the Specials trips below are available by prior arrangement along with specific birding requests related to species of particular interest.
Two Day West Coast Birding Circuit
Route heads north to the Berg river estuary along the Atlantic coastline embracing a mix of strandveld and marine environments.
Key Species : Clapper, Karoo, Red-capped, Long-billed and Thick-billed Larks, Southern Black Korhaan, Black Harrier, Karoo Robin, White-throated and Yellow Canary, Grey-wing, Karoo Korhaan, Capped Wheatear and Cape Francolin along with a wide variety of shorebirds.
Two Day Southern Coast Birding Circuit
Route heads east via the Hottentots Holland mountains and on towards the southern tip of Africa before curving northwards across the Agulhas plain to the impressive Langeberg mountains.
Key Species : Cape Rockjumper, Cape Rock Thrush, Victorin's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Widow, Cape Siskin, Southern Tchagra, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Bar-throated Apalis, Forest Buzzard, Knysna Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler and Swee Waxbill.
Three Day Karoo Birding Circuit
Route follows a 'forgotten highway' into the vast arid interior of the Great Karoo with its scenically spectacular vistas and rugged mountain ranges that are home to some of the most sought after local endemics. An early start through the winelands of the Western Cape to Wellington and the foot of the impressive Bain's Kloof Pass marks the start of the day. Typical fynbos species along the pass include Victorin's Warbler and Orange-breasted Sunbird. At the summit Cape Rock Thrush and Fiscal Flycatcher are known to occur. Following the descent into the valley below the route to the arid Karoo passes through mixed habitat with the odd stop off for sightings along the way.
On reaching the rain shadow beyond Theronsberg Pass the vegetation changes dramatically and within the bird mix. Pied Starlings give way to Pale-winged Starlings, Chanting Goshawks, Karoo Robins and Karoo Chats while the rocky hills are where Mountain Chats, Ground Woodpeckers, Dusky Sunbirds, Layard's Titbabbler and the elusive Cinnamon-breasted Warbler are to be found. Along the drainage lines Pririt Batis, Fairy Flycatcher, Namaqua Prinia, Yellow-bellied Eremomela and Titbabbler are found. Scanning the open ' bossiesveld' should produce sightings of Ludwig's Bustard and Karoo Korhaan while a walk is likely to produce views of Spike-heeled Lark, Yellow canary, Black-headed Canary ( after the rains ), Karoo Eremomela, Rufous-eared Warbler, Grey-backed Cisticola, Namaqua Sandgrouse and Karoo Lark. Open stretches of water will attract Avocet and South African Shelduck while the adjacent reedbeds will accommodate Cape Weaver and African Marsh Warbler in summer. Raptors are well represented with both Booted and Black Eagles in the area. Two nights in an approved establishment offering full board constitutes the birding base whereafter we return to Simon's Town via Du Toit's Kloof and the Hugenot tunnel.
Key Species: Namaqua Sandgrouse, Karoo & Trac Trac Chat, Chat Flycatcher, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Burchell's and Double-banded Courser, Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig's Bustard, Karoo Long-billed and Spike-heeled Lark, Grey-backed and Black-eared Finch Lark, Yellow-bellied and Karoo Eremomela, Rufous-eared and Namaqua Warbler, Layard's and Rufous-vented Titbabbler, Southern Grey Tit and Cinnamon-breasted Warbler.
Five Day Birding Loop out of Cape Town
Route, starting and ending in Cape Town, is intended to take in the best birding the evergreen forests of the Southern Cape have on offer along with a return run through the succulent Karoo in search of a number of dry country specials. As such the route provides a contrasting combination of birding opportunities.
Key Species : Denham's Bustard, Blue Crane, Jackal and Forest Buzzard, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, Chorister and Starred Robin, Terrestrial Bulbul, Cape Batis, Lemon and Tambourine Dove, Olive Pigeon, Knysna and Olive Woodpecker, Half-collared and Malachite Kingfisher, Karoo Chat, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Chat Flycatcher, Karoo Lark, Fairy Flycatcher, Pririt Batis and Ground Woodpecker.
Ten Day South Western Cape Birding Combo
A combination of the above trips, with an optional one day extension for a pelagic trip.
Three days of birdwatching in Cape Town to fully explore the Peninsula birding localities (includes Inner South Coast loop and Peninsula Meander), followed by 2 days of birdwatching in the West Coast, 2 days in the Tanqua Karoo, and finally 3 days in the Overberg region as far east as Grootvadersbosch Forest Reserve. The best time of year for this trip is Spring, which is undoubtedly the high season for all Cape endemics. In August / September between 250 and 300 bird species is an objective for this trip.
The above tour can be extended northwards to include the Northern Cape as far as the Orange River or even the Kalahari (Kalaghadi) Transfrontier Park and Augrabies on the Orange River . Such a tour will embrace as many habitat types as possible and usually lasts from 15 to 18 days or longer.