web analytics
Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours






1-day 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. After collecting you from your choice of accommodation, we will embark on a promising journey to capture the absolute best of the Plettenberg Bay area and its surrounds. Using key locations and remarkable areas of the Garden Route, our primary focus will be on sighting the exquisite bird species these locations host. The most sought-after birds in this part of the world are Knysna Turaco, Knysna Warbler*, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Knysna Woodpecker, Narina Trogon, Klaas’s Cuckoo, and Orange-breasted Sunbird.

*The Knysna Warbler is best seen in early summer, when it is calling. It can be seen in Plettenberg Bay at a privately-owned estate. If this sighting is highly requested, access will be arranged, and visiting this location can take preference over another previously arranged birding spot.

Please refer to our Day Tours further!

Duration: 1

Tour Start: Plettenberg Bay

Tour End: Plettenberg Bay

The Garden Route Birding Day Trip Itinerary:

Our first stop off will be at Nature’s Valley – a beautiful town situated within the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park. Nature’s Valley is renowned for its abundant forest bird species, namely Knysna Turaco, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Knysna Woodpecker, Narina Trogon, and Klaas’s Cuckoo (best seen in summer when calling). Further amazing highlights include Grey Cuckooshrike, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Half-collared Kingfisher, African Finfoot, White-starred Robin, African Emerald Cuckoo (summer), Forest Buzzard, Black-bellied Starling, Lemon Dove, Chorister Robin-Chat, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Blue-mantled Crested FlycatcherGreen-backed Camaroptera, Terrestrial Brownbul, and Forest Canary. Other grand sightings are those of Olive Woodpecker, Cape Batis, Collared Sunbird, Green Wood Hoopoe, African Olive Pigeon, Red-chested Cuckoo (summer), Swee Waxbill, African Paradise Flycatcher (summer), Olive Thrush, Grey Sunbird, and Tambourine Dove. Birding in this area proceeds along the Groot River, hosting the indigenous tree species of the Outeniqua Yellowwood and the Real Yellowwood (the national tree of South Africa). These trees, extremely tall in height and ancient in age, serve as a perfect setting for excellent forest birding. The ever-shy bushbuck is also known to frequent the forest, as well as striking variants of butterfly species, such as mocker and green-banded swallowtails. We will then proceed to a fynbos reserve located in close proximity to Nature’s Valley. The majestic Tsitsikamma Mountain Range poses as a delightful panoramic landscape backdrop whilst we enjoy the fynbos birds. This area boasts a small number of superb and ‘must see’ endemics, all sighted in and amongst proteas, cone bushes, and ericas, to name but a few. These particular endemics are Orange-breasted Sunbird, Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Grassbird, and Cape Sugarbird.

We will then drive to the stunning area of The Crags (originally named after the craggy-like mountains which tower over The Crags themselves). The Crags is rippled with prolific agricultural lands and beloved vineyard terrains, and it is a region that prizes itself for a wealth of diverse habitat types, while the preservation of indigenous fauna and flora is paramount. It is within these habitats that the following bird species remain some of the most cherished finds: Knysna Turaco, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Forest Buzzard, Cape Longclaw, African Jacana, White-backed Duck, Western Barn Owl, Malachite Sunbird, African Harrier-Hawk, Plain-backed Pipit, Jackal Buzzard, and Hamerkop.

The vast area of the Bitou will be our next featured stop – the term Bitou is derived from the bietou or tick berry shrub, a shrub which presents itself as radiantly yellow in colour and continues to be plentiful within the Plettenberg Bay area and its surrounds. We will begin our bird sighting along the Bitou River – the river, accompanied by its wetlands, supports a fine diversity of birdlife, including waterbirds, waders, and thicket-related species. Here the birds we will focus on seeing are Klaas’s Cuckoo, Blue Crane (the national bird of South Africa), Giant Kingfisher, Black Crake, Pied Kingfisher, Wood Sandpiper (summer), African Stonechat, Southern Red Bishop, African Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Yellow Bishop, African Shelduck, and Greater Flamingo. Other added ‘treasures’ to view here are Black Cuckooshrike, Diederik Cuckoo (summer), Brown-hooded Kingfisher, and African Hoopoe. If time permits, we can then drive to the town of Wittedrift, in search of further sightings of these species.

We will then visit Uplands, located slightly north of the Bitou River and situated along the Prince Alfred Pass – this area is a haven for grassland birding and for birds that have adapted to farmland habitats. Superb sightings here are Amur Falcon (summer), Denham’s Bustard, Cloud Cisticola, European Roller (summer), African Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Black-headed Heron, and Black-winged Kite.

Then we will stop off at Keurbooms Estuary to focus primarily on waders: Grey Plover, Whimbrel, Common Ringed Plover (summer), Curlew Sandpiper (summer), Common Greenshank, White-fronted Plover, Common Sandpiper (summer), Bar-tailed Godwit (summer), and Terek Sandpiper (summer).The Keurbooms Estuary also serves as an important breeding ground for Kelp Gull and African Oystercatcher. Further magical sightings we will encounter are African Fish Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Western Osprey (winter), Cape Canary, Swift Tern, Purple Heron, Kittlitz’s Plover, Grey Heron, Greater Striped Swallow (summer), Levaillant’s Cisticola, Lesser Flamingo, and Reed Cormorant. The Keurbooms Estuary is tide-dependent, and as a result, to ensure we maximise the birding within nature’s conditions, a slight reshuffle of the itinerary order may occur on the given day.

We will then journey to the nearby Plettenberg Bay sewerage works, an ever popular vicinity, enriched with and notorious for an abundance of ducks – the impressive collection of  Hottentot Teal, Cape Teal, and Red-billed Teal, along with the distinguished Cape Shoveler, Yellow-billed Duck, and White-faced Whistling Duck, forms an imperative part of the dynamic variety on offer here, further validating this site as a key spot to explore. Other birds to be sighted here are Little Grebe, Common Moorhen,Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, Streaky-headed Seedeater, White-throated Swallow (summer), and Brimstone Canary.

We will then embark on an exquisite drive to Robberg Nature Reserve. Robberg (otherwise known as ‘Seal Mountain’) is not only a Nature Reserve but also a National Monument. Robberg is home to 5,000 Cape fur seals, and we have the opportunity to witness miraculous sightings of southern right whales, humpback whales, Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins, and common dolphins. Within this awe-inspiring, untainted spot, our main focus will be on fynbos birds, involving sightings of Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Grassbird, African Oystercatcher, Cape Siskin, Neddicky, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Karoo Prinia, Cape Rock Thrush, Southern Tchagra, and Rock Kestrel.

We will then move on to the area of Kranshoek (accessible through the Harkerville Forest). This area is comprised of forest and fynbos habitats and proves to be a reliable spot to view: Knysna Turaco, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Victorin’s Warbler, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, White-starred Robin, Cape Grassbird, Cape Sugarbird, Collared Sunbird, Peregrine Falcon, and African Dusky Flycatcher.

We will then head to the Rietvlei dam, which serves as a prime viewing point for four heron species as well as Pin-tailed Whydah, Speckled Mousebird, Brown-throated Martin, Little Rush Warbler, African Marsh Harrier, and Lesser Swamp Warbler. Sooty Falcon, an extremely rare bird of prey for this area, continues to be an exhilarating find and appears to have taken up residence at a local hotel establishment – the bird has been seen in this area in 2012, 2013, and 2014 (only in the months of February, March, and April). After the Rietvlei dam, we will return to your initial collection point, and this will be the end of our day. 


Price: Please see http://birdingecotours.com/birding-day-trips/.

Single Supplement:

Black Harrier - John Tinkler

West Coast Birding Tour - 1 day

Duration: 1
Price: Please see http://birdingecotours.com/birding-day-trips/.
Details: The West Coast National Park is a 1-hour drive (if traveling directly) from Cape Town, But we certainly will be birding all along the way instead of driving directly!

See full tour detail
Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Photo and Birding Tour South Africa: Western Cape, with extension to Kruger National Park 2018

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: September 01, 2018
Date End: September 11, 2018
Price: Main tour: R50,562 , Kruger NP extension R26,889
Details: South Africa’s Western Cape Province is scenically stunningly beautiful and hugely varied – from rocky sea cliffs and impressive mountains rising straight out of the sea to everything from moist t

See full tour detail
Rockrunner - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana: 13-day Adventure 2018

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2018
Date End: March 21, 2018
Price: R89,797 per person sharing, based on 4 – 7 participants in a 14-seater van with some seats removed.
Details: This is a photographic birding tour that gives you time in some of Africa’s greatest (no exaggeration!) wildlife havens. We begin our Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana in Namibia with thr

See full tour detail
Rockrunner - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana: 13-day Adventure 2018

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2018
Date End: March 21, 2018
Price: R89,797 per person sharing, based on 4 – 7 participants in a 14-seater van with some seats removed.
Details: This is a photographic birding tour that gives you time in some of Africa’s greatest (no exaggeration!) wildlife havens. We begin our Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana in Namibia with thr

See full tour detail
Dune Lark - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia - Quintessential Namibia 2018

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 6
Date Start: September 02, 2018
Date End: September 12, 2018
Price: This is an exclusive tour, prices on request.
Details: Experience the Namib in all its splendor – the oldest desert in the world with towering red dunes. The essence of Namibia is encapsulated in this wondrous photographic birding exploration, which tak

See full tour detail


Sorry, there are no other tours related to this one.

Contact us

Featured Guide - To be assigned

...

See guide details

Download Tour Itinerary



Gallery for Destination

What our clients say

Bo Beolens of Fatbirder put me onto Chris Lotz of Birding Ecotours originally. What a favour he did me. Not only is Chris an excellent birder, but he goes out of his way to be really helpful. I and my partner settled on Namibia with Birding Ecotours as our next trip, and as we were in Jo`burg visiting friends a few days before the trip, I asked Chris if he could also arrange for me to see Flufftails in the gap available. The hub of Birding Ecotours couldn`t have been more delightful to deal with. Not only did he get very excited by this challenge, but took it upon himself to do our guiding. He found an equally enthusiastic birder, Kevin, to join the trip and off we set for the Dullstroom area, where there was a Striped Flufftail guide, all revved up and ready to go except it was miserable weather. Never mind, a quick re-calculation and we descended down to Nelspruit Botanic Garden and sunshine, and spent half a day revelling in Sth. African birds. Then we ascended and went lark and pipit hunting which Chris found by call. He also found us an Oribi which was stunning, we were so close. Chris and his guide worked extremely hard the next day, trying to call out a flufftail . We could hear them but the thick vegetation prevented any views of them. After doing a circuit of the whole area, Chris and the guide doing more, as they were going up and down the hill , we were losing heart. Luck returned as Chris planted us by a carefully placed mp3 playing flufftail, and a narrow trodden path into the bracken. We waited as the sound of another flufftail got closer. I could hear Kevin hyperventilating as he suddenly found himself looking at a full frontal view of a male Striped Flufftail. As I was at a slightly different angle, I couldn`t see this marvellous apparition, but found myself breathing hard in anticipation when, from behind the clump of grass I was straining to see through, a female suddenly leapt across the gap like a frog, so fast that all I got was a view of the back and tail! No wonder they are a difficult bird to get to grips with but I would recommend this sort of diversion to anyone. I wouldn`t have climbed the hill after the Cape Eagle Owl if it wasn`t for Chris`s infectious enthusiasm either, and we were sorry to see both of them go; they had been so easy to get on with, both entertaining and amusing We flew to Walvis Bay a few days later to meet Steve Braine, our leader for the Namibia trip, and the rest of the participants. We found that Steve was a born and bred Namibian and knew the country like the back of his hand. He knew exactly where everything was, and if he didn’t, he had a hot-line to somebody who did. Fortunately the rest of the group were a relaxed bunch and very talkative and entertaining, and soon Steve had everyone fixated on birds. Steve and his bird knowledge is fearsome. He worked tirelessly, always on the go arranging the next highlight, repeating things if he thought anybody had missed out. He knows all the mammals, all the reptiles, loves scorpions and even dabbles with Lepidoptera. We were all beginning to think he was some kind of magician a week into the trip. There are sights on this trip you will never forget. For me, even the sight of a line of larks, all squashed together along a 1 inch wide line of shade under a notice board was spectacular. The plumage of desert birds looking like ink etchings: I could go on. Steve is an extremely good leader and I for one am grateful for his excellent birding skills and tireless driving.

Jan and John, Wales



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

Back to Top

Switch to our mobile site