Birding Day Trips
How our 1-to-3-day tours work
Please note that we run day tours in all the major South African cities, and sometimes also in Lima, Peru (where we have an established office), in Windhoek, Namibia, and in Thailand at certain times of the year (when Andy is living there).
Our 1-day Cape Town, Johannesburg/Pretoria and Durban area tours cost R4000 for one person, with an extra R500 per person if more than one participant. We run all our 1-day tours as private tours, since we have found we never manage to put groups together. Most people travel singly, in couples, or they bring their own small group along. Half-day trips lasting less than five hours are much poorer value for money as we can only give a R500 discount for groups of two or more (because the guide usually ends up doing a large mileage even for such a short trip).
These prices include guiding fees and vehicle costs, but they exclude the relatively small but variable costs of entrance fees (which depend on which tour you do) and lunch (you can tell us if you prefer “on the run” sandwiches or a sit-down restaurant meal halfway through the day of birding). Entrance fees and lunches for you and the guide are for your account. The birding guide will fetch you from wherever you are staying, after breakfast, and drop you back before dinner/before dark in the case of a 1-day tour (airport drop-offs are also perfectly OK). In the case of a half-day tour, the trip will run either from breakfast until lunch or from lunch until dinner. Please e-mail us for the starting time you prefer – we are happy with an early start (e.g. 5 a.m.), but we also understand that you will sometimes prefer a later start (e.g. 9 a.m.). The trip is yours, and you can tell us when you want to start the day. We often recommend 7:30 a.m. at the entrance to your hotel, but we can also advise about the best time to avoid rush hour for specific tours.
Longer trips – accommodation and meals have to be added to the price – please ask us; we can usually get accommodation for R900 per person sharing per night (ballpark), but if more luxury is needed the price, of course, increases. The guide’s accommodation also needs to be paid.
Tour prices for Port Elizabeth and other cities are the same. For smaller cities and towns we sometimes struggle to find guides.
We strongly recommend that you book far in advance even for the three larger cities. At certain times of the year our birding guides get booked particularly far in advance, but even at the best of times we recommend booking as far in advance as possible. On the other hand, we can often accommodate you even if you book a week in advance (sometimes even the day before).
You are welcome to just pay the guide cash (South African Rands; ZAR) on the day of the tour after you have booked with us. For trips that are longer than one day, we need payment of a deposit in advance.
Which tours do we recommend? In Cape Town, if you have never visited the Cape before and only have one day available for guided birding, we suggest doing a 1-day tour of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay, which can be custom-made to your exact needs (you can discuss this with the guide at the start of the day). If you have a second day available, we recommend also doing a 1-day West Coast birding tour. If you have more than two days available, there is a stack more you can do birding-wise – please ask us for suggestions. In Johannesburg, we recommend Suikerbosrand/Marievale (south of Johannesburg) if you only have one day available. If you have a second day, we suggest Zaagkuilsdrift and environs (north of Pretoria), an area which has Kalahari-type birds. The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden provides an excellent half day around Johannesburg.
We believe in providing first class service, and if you e-mail us with any questions you will find we answer in lots of detail and very enthusiastically.
We look forward to hosting you here in sunny South Africa!
Please note: Any of these 1-day tours can be run as 1-day photographic birding tours – to convert them into birdwatching photo tours we modify the sites visited and slow down the pace.
South Africa: Cape Town
Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is located near Table Bay on the northern extremity of the stunning Cape Peninsula. We will fetch you from your Cape Town hotel and spend a day taking you to some of the Peninsula’s top birding sites. We will try to find a lot of the localized endemics (of which there are many), and we will also see flamingo, pelican and other waterbird spectacles, plus we will enjoy fantastic botanical garden birding in idyllic surroundings.See all South Africa: Cape Town tours
South Africa: Garden Route
The Garden Route – a special gem, offering spectacular and unique bird sightings, complimented with breath-taking scenery and phenomenal landscapes, all encompassed within lush forest lands, fynbos, thicket, and water habitats (rivers, estuaries, and ocean), as well as prime localized farmlands. Using key locations and remarkable areas of the Garden Route, our primary focus will be on sighting the exquisite bird species these locations host.See all South Africa: Garden Route tours
South Africa: Durban
We do a variety of excellent 1-day and 2-day tours around Durban, in addition to our longer Kwazulu/Natal and subtropical South Africa birding tours. Please contact us for further details or click here for general information on our South African day trips.See all South Africa: Durban tours
South Africa: The Sani Pass and Lesotho
The ascent up Sani Pass, one of the most famed birding routes in South Africa, provides easy access to most of the birds endemic to the Drakensberg Escarpment and highlands, plus spectacular mountain scenery.See all South Africa: The Sani Pass and Lesotho tours
South Africa: Johannesburg / Pretoria
In Johannesburg, we recommend Suikerbosrand/Marievale (south of Johannesburg) if you only have one day available. If you have a second day, we suggest Zaagkuilsdrif and environs (north of Pretoria), an area which has Kalahari-type birds. The Roodepoort Botanic Gardens provides an excellent half day around Johannesburg.See all South Africa: Johannesburg / Pretoria tours
South Africa: Northern Cape
Southern Africa is the lark capital of the world, and larks are at times the favorite group of birds for Chris (when he is not chasing owls) and some of the other Birding Ecotours guides. And a disproportionate number of these subtly beautiful birds lurk in Namaqualand and other parts of the remote Northern Cape, South Africa. This is why we love to do 3-5 day lark tours to this region.See all South Africa: Northern Cape tours
For most Namibia day tours, out of Windhoek, we do not have a set or fixed itinerary. We basically provide a list of specials/birds that could be realistically seen, and then, once we have the wish list of clients, we decide on the route.See all Namibia tours
We offer day tours out of Lima. Please contact us for availability and details.See all Peru tours
We offer day tours/short tours out of Bangkok between November 2016 and March 2017. Please contact us for availability and details.See all Thailand tours
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What our clients say
Chris I sent a longer analysis of the Florida trip to Stephan, which I will forward to you. Again, my thanks for a truly memorable experience. The trip was spectacularly successful. I chose Birding Ecotours because other trips were full, and I couldn’t be happier. On a purely practical note, with three rather inexperienced birders as the participants we picked up a variety of birds missed by other birders. But the final bird list doesn’t really cover why this tour was so vastly superior. This was my first birding trip ever with less than 12 participants, and the advantages of a small group are monumental – no battling for seats, no squabbling over who saw what, no battles to get to the leader’s scope when the Resplendent Quetzal finally comes into view. In fact, there were no squabbles at all on our trip Hotels were quite well chosen, despite some early problems with accepting South African addresses, etc., and the restaurants worked out quite nicely. Mexican restaurant would be my only quibble – a bit heavy for our over 60s group. One of us simply said he wouldn’t be on the lookout for Mexican restaurants in the future. But then he also discovered Key Lime pie and had it four nights, not to mention the Key Lime ice cream along the way. The balance of Cuban unique restaurants with seafood and steak houses worked out quite nicely, and the final two nights at Cracker Barrel were a big hit. Big hit too were the home-made lunches – they were actually better than the Subway lunches of the last few days and they extended our birding times quite dramatically But the tour only really worked because of Stephan – he’s a gifted birder – that’s a given on any tour these days, but he’s also extremely good with people. In my note to him I mentioned how impressed I was with his interactions with the other participants. They were new to American birding, so we had lots of initial sightings of grackles and starlings. But Stephan patiently looked at all their sightings, and soon they were finding some rather wonderful birds. Main point – he never made them feel bad – something many guides need to learn, believe me. And Stephan really knew the territory – I have no qualms about any of his choices, though I might have questioned a few at the time. There were virtually no migrating birds, and we still got 20 warblers. We also got close to 180 species without that much luck either. We missed the Thick-billed Vireo by one day, and others easily picked up the Smooth-billed Ani at the same location we has scoured a day earlier. But then we got all three cowbirds in an afternoon and had great looks at multiple Prothonotary Warblers, a bird everyone else missed this year. And we birded both the first day and the last – not something most tours do, and he even saved the Spot-breasted Oriole for our last bird. Bottom line, Stephan is equal in his birding skills to any guide I’ve been with. More importantly, he’s the best overall guide I have ever experienced – a people-person who knows birds. I highly recommend him on any tour he might be leading and love to bird with him again. So, I had never heard of your tour company and only signed on because it was all that was available on dates my wife had to be in Florida. The serendipitous result was one of the most rewarding birding experiences of my rather long birding career. I strongly recommend your company to anyone and even more strongly recommend the value of small group tours – they are worth every extra penny. My thanks for all your help, and I hope to be on one of your tours in the future. Kieran