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Southern Double-colored Sunbird by Gina Nichol.SOUTH AFRICA
The Cape Special!
August 30 - September 10, 2018

Cape Town, The Garden Route &
Tanqua Karoo Birding

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South Africa is a must visit birding destination and our fantastic itinerary has us visit during their springtime which means beautiful weather, stunning scenery with carpets of flowers, one of the world’s most exciting pelagic trips and a host of rare and sought after endemics. We begin our tour in Cape Town and from here we embark on a pelagic trip into the South Atlantic, an area famous among birders the world over for offering some of Pelagic off of Capetown, South Africa.the largest concentrations of seabirds anywhere on the planet. We could see up to 7 species of albatross, as well as countless shearwaters, skuas, petrels and prions. Add to this Southern Right Whales and the scene is set. Moving on we go to Overberg, Paarl, Tanqua Karoo, Swellendam, Grootvadersbosch, Hermanus, Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain and an assortment of very productive nature reserves. Two areas contain habitats found nowhere else in the World and these are the heathland vegetation of the ‘Fynbos’ and the semi-desert ‘Karoo’. Both these areas host many endemic species of birds and more than 6,000 species of endemic plants. It’s no wonder they are so special and our days spent here should see us rewarded with many unforgettable moments. 

Some of the special birds possible on this tour include:
Ground Woodpecker by Steve Hinton.
  • Cape Rockjumper
  • Black Harrier
  • Karoo Korhaan
  • Protea Seedeater
  • Cape Long-billed Lark
  • Stanley's Bustard
  • Wattled Crane
  • Gurney's Sugarbird
  • Southern Black Korhaan
  • Cape Eagle-Owl
  • Ground Woodpecker
  • Kynsna Warbler
  • South African Penguin
  • Blue Crane
  • Cape Sugarbird
  • Gorgeous Bush-Shrike
  • Narina Trogon
  • Forest Buzzard
  • Southern Right Whales
  • Many Pelagic Seabirds
Join us for a fantastic
South African Adventure!

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Contact to reserve your space!
Top photo: Southern Double-colored Sunbird by Gina Nichol.
Above: Ground Woodpecker by Steve Hinton.


Day 1: Travel to Cape Town, South Africa
Plan on a flight to arrive in Cape Town early the following morning the 31st Aug. If you prefer to arrive a day or two before  and have a nights rest before the tour starts then please advise and we can book you an additional night (extra cost).


Day 2:  Arrive Cape Town – 31st Aug
After early morning arrival at Cape Town International Airport, we will meet our local guides and set off towards Noordhoek, with some relaxed birding en-route. Our first stop is at Strandfontein sewage works, the best area for water birds close to the Cape. Ducks and waders are abundant and amongst the many species we can look for are Great White Pelican, both species of Flamingo, Maccoa Duck, South African Shelduck, Black Crake, Purple Heron, White-winged Tern, and Kittlitz’s Plover . After checking for Cape Longclaw we will head for Rondevlei Nature Reserve on tKaroo Prinia (Photo: Steve Hinton)he Cape Flats. This area of lagoons and grassy scrub is also very important and near the entrance, in the surrounding bushes, we can look for Cape Robin-Chat, Cape Canary, Karoo Prinia (Photo: Steve Hinton), Burchell’s Coucal, Cape Francolin, Cape Sparrow and Cape Bulbul to name a few. Once inside the reserve we can visit several bird-hides. Our time spent here should produce a wealth of species such as African Black, Little, Alpine and White-rumped Swifts, Purple Swamphen, Water Thick-knee, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, African Marsh Harrier, Caspian Tern, African Darter, Malachite Kingfisher, White-breasted Cormorant, with luck the massive Goliath Heron, Little Bittern, and amongst the swampy areas, scrub and trees Cape White-Eye, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Karoo Prinia, and Levaillant’s Cisticola.  Three nights, Simonstown.  Meals: Lunch, Dinner


Day 3: Cape Town, Pelagic – 1st Sept
This morning we will board a chartered boat, weather permitting, at Simonstown Harbor to search for pelagic birds. The south-western offshore waters of South Africa provide one of the best and most exciting seabird-watching opportunities in the world. Due to the nutrient rich cold Benguela current’s upwelling along the continental shelf some 40 nautical miles offshore, seabirds are abundant. Once and if we find a deep-sea trawler then we shall be privileged to literally masses of seabirds viewable at very close range. There are chances of spotting up to 7 species of albatrosses, including Black-browed, Shy, Indian and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, and the less common and huge Wandering Albatross that might appear from nowhere together with Wilson’s and Black-bellied Storm Petrel. Other pelagic birds which might be encountered, include Great Shearwater, Pomarine Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Sub-antartic Skua, Northern Giant Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Cory’s and Manx Shearwater, Pintado Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, White-chinned Petrel,  Cape Gannet and even Great-winged Petrel.

On our return from this awesome pelagic, we can keep an eye out for Southern Right Whales or even Bryde’s Whale and along the rocky coast we may find Hartlaub’s or Cape Gull plus the chance of White-breasted, Cape, Bank or Crowned Cormorants. We will then drive back to our hotel to freshen up, before heading up the mountain towards Jonkersdam for an afternoon with the wildlife of the Fynbos! Such birds as Cape Rock Thrush, Cape Siskin, Cape Sugarbird, Southern Double-collard and Orange-breasted Sunbirds, Cape Grassbird and Cape Bunting are all good possibilities, and we should have time to visit the African Penguin colony. Should the weather not permit us to do our Pelagic boat trip, we will follow the program as scheduled for Day 4. Please also note that if you do not wish to go on this pelagic trip we will need to know in advance. 
Meals: All Meals


Day 4: Cape Town – 2nd Sept
South African Penguins by Gina Nichol.After an early breakfast we board our vehicle and drive towards The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. En route we stop at Kommetjie to get acquainted with the differences of the four Cormorant species occurring on the Cape coastline. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve was established to protect the fragile and beautiful “Fynbos” flora. Birds that may be encountered includes Plain-backed Pipit, Malachite Sunbird, Ground Woodpecker, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Rock Pigeon, Speckled Mousebird, White-necked Raven, Cape Bulbul, Neddicky, Spotted Prinia, Southern Boubou, Redwinged Starling, Cape Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Common Ostrich, and Cape Bunting. A few raptors do occur and we can probably have good views of Black Shouldered Kite, Steppe Buzzard and Red-breasted Sparrowhawk. Wildlife within the boundaries of the reserve includes Bontebok, Cape Mountain Zebra and Chacma Baboon. The picturesque Cape Point is visited at lunchtime. From Cape Point, we visit the African Penguin (Photo: Gina Nichol) Colony and return to our accommodation, late afternoon. Meals: All Meals

Coastal scenery at Capetown by Gina Nichol.


Day 5: Cape - Overberg – 3rd Sept
Blue Cranes by Steve Hinton.After an early breakfast, we leave Cape Town for the Overberg. En route, we stop at Rooi Els for a walk in search of the Cape Rockjumper. This will be the prize bird for the morning…. Other birds around include Black Eagle, Cape Sisken, Cape Rock Thrush, Neddicky, Ground Woodpecker, etc.

At lunchtime we leave Rooiels and stop at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens for lunch and birding. This is an excellent place to catch-up on any fynbos birds that we may have missed before we entered the Overberg. Late afternoon we drive through the Overberg region’s gravel roads looking for the sought after Blue Cranes (Photo: Steve Hinton). Other excellent species in this area include Black Harrier, Stanley’s Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Agulhas Long-billed Lark and the endemic southern Cape subspecies of Clapper Lark. Raptors are also plentiful in the area and include Secretarybird, Martial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and more chances for Black Harrier. Common and characteristic species of the agricultural lands here are White Stork, Black Crow, Southern Thick-billed and Red-capped Larks, Capped Wheatear, Cape Longclaw, Pied Starling, Pin-tailed Whydah, Yellow Canary and Cloud Cisticola. We check in at our accommodation where we will be for two nights, as the sun sets in the west! Meals: All Meals


Day 6: Swellendam - 4th Sept
Bontebok (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas) (Photo: Steve Bird)With a packed breakfast, we will leave very early for the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, a small pocket (250ha) of indigenous forest, surprisingly rich in bird life. We have the morning at hand to explore the well-marked paths in the forest on foot. Birds that can be encountered include Knysna Warbler, Olive Bush-Shrike, Narina Trogon, Gray Cuckoo-Shrike, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Blue-mantled Flycatcher, Knysna Woodpecker and Terrestrial Bulbul. After mid-day, we leave this pocket of indigenous forest and make our way towards the Bontebok National Park. Much of the park consists of low, fynbos-clad plains, enlivened by grazing Bontebok (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas) (Photo: Steve Bird), an antelope that was on the brink of extinction, but is now flourishing, Gray Rhebok (Pelea capreolus) and Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) are some of the other mammals occurring in the Park. At the campsite, we do a walk in search of Klaas’s Cuckoo, Cardinal Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide, Southern Tchagra, Gray-headed Sparrow and Streaky-headed Canary, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Cape Bulbul, Bar-throated Apalis, Fiscal Flycatcher and Southern Boubou, As we are on the banks of the Breede River, African Black Duck and Giant Kingfisher might just give us a surprise visit! Meals: All Meals


Day 7: Wilderness - 5th Sept
From Swellendam it is a scenic drive to arrive at Wilderness around mid-day. There are several trails in the area for birding and we will probably start with the Giant Kingfisher Trail. The most conspicuous species in the forest are usually Bar-throated Apalis and Green-backed Bleating Warbler. Terrestrial Bulbul and Chorister Robin lurk in the lower undergrowth, while common species of the mid-canopy are Cape Batis, Dusky Flycatcher, Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Olive Woodpecker and less conspicuously, Olive Bush-Shrike. Black-headed Oriole, Narina Trogon, Gray Cuckooshrike, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Black-bellied Starling, Knysna Lourie, and Red-billed Woodhoopoe all possibilities.

Red-necked Francolin usually appears in the open areas near the forest edge. Crowned Eagle and African Goshawk may be seen overhead, while Cinnamon and Tambourine Doves are birds of the forest floor. At sunset, we check in at our accommodation. Meals: All Meals


Day : Plettenberg Bay/Nature Valley – 6th Sept
Today we will have a pre-breakfast birding-walk in the area, departing after breakfast for Plettenberg Bay. En route, we will stop at Harkerville Forest and the Kranshoek view point. Here we have comfortable access to both fynbos and forest species. A comfortable walk along the Forest Flora trail can produce beautiful species such as Gray Cuckooshrike, Narina Trogon, African Olive Pigeon, Forest Canary, White-starred Robin-Chat, Knysna Woodpecker, Long Crested Eagle and much more! On our way to Kranshoek Lookout Point, Burchell’s Coucal, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Grassbird, Victorin’s Warbler (Photo: Steve Hinton) and a couple of Fynbos sunbirds with Cape Sugarbird as the “queen” of all! The elusive Hottentot Buttonquail, Protea Seedeater and Cape Siskin are also in the area but tricky to find. Mid-afternoon we leave for Plettenberg Bay Sewage Works for the last hour or two of birding for the day. Black Crake, African Black Duck, Giant & Pied Kingfisher and several other shorebirds and warblers will vie for our attention. At sunset we check in at our overnight accommodation in Nature’s Valley. Meals: All Meals


Day 9: Nature Valley/Oudtshoorn – 7th Sept
This morning we explore De Vasselot Rest Camp, inside the National Park. Here Bar-Throated Apalis, Cape Batis, Fork-tailed Drongo, Terrestrial Brownbul, Green-backed Cameroptera, Chorister Robin-Chat, Green Wood-hoopoe African Olive Pigeon and Black-bellied Starling are the more common birds around. Along the river several Kingfishers are present. After lunch, it is time to head back towards our overnight accommodation is in Oudtshoorn, approximately 200km from Nature’s Valley. Oudtshoorn is in an area, known as the Little Karoo. It is also the Ostrich capital of the world and many of these odd-looking birds can be seen. The habitat changes to semi-arid desert and the birding changes with this habitat change! On arrival we check in at our overnight accommodation. Meals: All Meals.

Orange-breasted Sunbird (Photo: Steve Bird)


Day 10: Touwsriver – 8th Sept
After a pre-breakfast walk in the gardens of Swartberg Manor, we depart for Swartberg Pass, with packed lunches. Probably one of the most scenic gravel passes in South Africa and birding will not disappoint you either! All the Fynbos-specials are present with one of the more difficult species, Victorin’s Warbler, one of the more common species to be found in the undergrowth of the many seeps! Protea Canary, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird (Photo: Steve Bird), Neddicky, Cape Bulbul, Grassbird and Malachite Sunbird, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Rockjumper, Sentinel and Cape Rock Thrushes as well as Cape Siskin are all birds to be found in the area. From Swartberg Pass, we drive to Aquila Game Reserve via Prince Albert, Laingsburg. Driving through the arid Karoo offers great opportunities for many more birds and your guide will be scanning for the specials! We arrive late afternoon at our accommodation. Meals: All Meals.



Day 11: Tanqua Karoo – 9th Sept
At daybreak we leave Aquila with breakfast & lunch packs. Our first stop is at the picnic site at Karoopoort of tKaroo Korhaan (Photo: Gina Nichol)he Tanqua. Our target bird here would be Namaqua Warbler and Gray-winged Francolin. After our picnic breakfast, we travel via Eierkop and Katbakkies towards the Cape. Our day spent traveling through one of the most desolate areas in South Africa offers us the opportunity to see several Karoo specials, including Karoo Eremomela, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Thick-billed, Red-capped & Spike-heeled Lark, Karoo Korhaan
(Photo: Gina Nichol), Cape Penduline Tit, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Greater Kestrel, Double-banded Courser, Namaqua Sandgrouse and Tractrac Chat. Other species include Southern Gray Tit, Layard’s Titbabbler, Mountain Chat, Rock Martin, Pale-winged Starlings, Dusky Sunbird and Acacia Pied Barbet. Raptors of the area include Black and Booted Eagles, Rock Kestrel, Pale Chanting Goshawk and Greater Kestrel. We could finish up the day with White-necked Raven, Olive Woodpecker, Ground Woodpecker and Cape Eagle Owl. Late afternoon, we once again check in at our overnight accommodation. Meals: All Meals

Cape Sugarbird (Photo: Steve Hinton)

Day 12: Cape Town – 10th Sept
Time permitting we will visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, en route to Cape Town International Airport. Founded in 1913 and lying on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch covers an area of 828ha, of which 60ha is cultivated with indigenous flora with the remainder uncultivated areas, protected as a natural floral reserve. Kirstenbosch is a living display featuring almost 5000 of the 20 000 indigenous floral species of the South African flora. Birds in this well manicured botanical pearl, should include Brimstone Canary, Southern Boubou, Cape White Eye, Speckled Mousebird, Cape Bulbul, Southern Double-Collard Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird (Photo: Steve Hinton), Sombre Greenbul and Cape Canary. In the skies above, look out for Black Saw-Wing, Rock Kestrel, Steppe Buzzard, Honey Buzzard and the rare Forest Buzzard. Your will then be dropped off at the airport, in time for your international flight back home. Please note that late afternoon / evening flights are best option. Meals: Breakfast


Leaders: Steve Bird and Gina Nichol with local guides throughout.

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Common Ostrich. Photo by Gina Nichol.SOUTH AFRICA -- The Cape Special!
August 31 - September 10 , 2018

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TOUR PRICE: US $3950.00 per person double occupancy from Cape Town, South Africa. 

Single supplement: $495.00 pp (subject to availability) 

Optional Pelagic Day 3 or 4:  $275.00 per person
with minimum of 8 participants  

Deposit: $500 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment. 

Group Size: Minimum 8 and maximum 12 

Included in cost: Accommodation based on twin rooms, en-suite, all meals as per itinerary starting with lunch on 31st Aug to breakfast on the 10th Sept, ground transport throughout, and all transfers, entrance fees to parks and reserves, bottled water, services of all leaders and local guides.

Not included: Cost does not include roundtrip airfare to and from Cape Town, South Africa from your home airport, optional Pelagic trip, passport/visa fees, insurance, departure taxes, items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, or gratuities for porterage or personal services.

Accommodation: We stay in standard hotels and lodges which vary in quality from excellent to medium, but all are within easy reach of the areas we wish to bird.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with all day birding. No particular strenuous walks are planned and generally the walking effort is easy to moderate. To see a good amount of endemics and specialities you need to be prepared for fairly long days, and we have several long driving days which we will try and break up with en-route stops. All in all this works very well and maximizes our birding at the right times of day, giving us good chances of seeing many endemics and specialities. Climate is rather variable with lower altitudes mostly being hot, dry and sunny, but occasionally overcast and rainy. At higher altitudes the weather is similar but temperatures are cool to warm. Opportunities for photographing are very good. Because not everyone enjoys pelagic birding (birding from a boat at sea) we have not included this within the tour cost so if you wish to do this please note cost and advise us of your participation as soon as possible. The seas in South Africa are notoriously rough and not to everyone’s liking, although the Pelagic birding here represents some of the very best in the World.

RESERVATIONS: Contact either or to reserve your space! Then, complete the Registration & Release Form and mail it with your deposit of $500.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC.  Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 

Final payment is due by April 30, 2018 and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees).

Transportation/Travel Planning: You will be responsible for making your travel plans to Cape Town. Information will be forthcoming about timings for arrivals and departures. Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run.

**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds:  All cancellations must be made in writing.  In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. 

Insurance:  The purchase of trip cancellation insurance to cover any eventuality is strongly recommended.  Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour. 



Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724