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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours
Ross's Turaco by Masa Wang - Uganda birding tour






Birding Tour South Africa - Cape, Namaqualand and Kalahari 2019



This is a birding adventure in which a large number of localized southern African endemics will be encountered. In addition, big mammals such as black-maned Kalahari Lion will be an exciting distraction to birding. We’re excited to bring you this ‘Birding Tour South Africa’ adventure!

We start with a couple of days around Cape Town, where a plethora of fynbos habitat endemics can be found amid some of Africa’s most splendid scenery.

We then drive to Springbok in northern Namaqualand. From here we can bird the endemic-rich, beautiful desert mountains of one of the most famous flower areas on earth. Namaqualand has a huge plant diversity, and its spring flower shows are an impressive sight. In addition, we can also access the desert coast just south of the Namibian border.

Next on this Birding Tour South Africa adventure we head inland for some extremely localized birds inhabiting the region called “Bushmanland”. Further inland, we bird the surroundings of the impressive “waterfall in the desert” (Augrabies Falls) and its associated gorge before heading for one of Africa’s great game parks: the vast Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park extending into neighboring Botswana. This conservation area is on a par with Kruger and Etosha National Parks and is set in one of South Africa’s most remote wilderness areas, wedged between Namibia and Botswana. Not only is this park inhabited by Africa’s charismatic megafauna such as Lion and Gemsbok, but it also hosts many vibrant southern African endemic birds like Crimson-breasted Shrike, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Southern Pied Babbler, Kori Bustard, and Black-faced Waxbill. This park is a truly phenomenal place for raptors and owls, many of which can be found at their day-time roosts.

We then add on a drive to Kimberley; this is especially rewarding during the southern winter when recently described pipits can be seen. We also have an excellent chance of seeing Aardvark there.

Please note that this Birding Tour South Africa excursion itinerary is still flexible, and we may opt to spend more time in Cape Town if any participants request this.

Duration: 13 days

Limit (Group Size): 4 - 9

Date Start: August 15, 2019

Date End: August 27, 2019

Tour Start: Cape Town

Tour End: Kimberley

Budget version also available.

Important explanation about the default vehicles we use on our southern African tours: Whereas the standard birding-tour vehicle in East Africa is the popup-roof stretch Land Cruiser, in southern Africa these are extremely rare and not usually legal except within some parks. Open safari vehicles, on the other hand, are commonly seen in southern African parks but can’t be used outside the parks, and they are extremely unpleasant to be in when the weather is bad even inside the parks. The only tried-and-tested tour vehicle available in southern Africa that allows us to cover the ground we need so we can find the greatest diversity of birds (and other wildlife), and which is comfortable in all weather, is legal, has proper air conditioning, and does not make the overall tour price exorbitant, is the 13-seater Toyota Quantum when we have 6-8 (rarely 9) tour participants (or similar 7-10-seater vans when we have smaller group sizes). In areas where we are not restricted to the vehicle during the tour (such as in the Cape) we usually use unmodified standard Quantum vans – everyone gets out of the vehicle when we see a good bird or animal. In areas in which we are at times restricted to the vehicle because of the presence of dangerous megafauna including lions, elephants, and more (such as the Kruger National Park) we typically use a Quantum van with modified windows for better viewing of birds and other wildlife. In Kruger (and sometimes in Etosha) National Parks we usually do include a day or two in open safari vehicles as part of the tour price. Optional night drives (at nominal cost) in open safari vehicles are available at most southern African parks (including Kruger) for those who have less of a focused interest in birds (as these are operated by the park’s guides, who usually focus mainly on the “Big 5”). You can speak to the tour leader about joining these night drives, but in our experience some tour participants prefer not to join them, and hence we leave them as an optional extra for those willing to pay a (small/nominal) extra fee.

Even the tried-and-tested Toyota Quantum (or similar) vans we use fall far short of being ideal (small windows that are quite low, etc.), and we truly wish there were something better available without breaking the bank. But we use the best available vehicles, and we ensure that everyone has a fair turn in and near the front of the vehicle – we typically swap seating positions daily, but in the parks we can swap positions four times a day as necessary. The vehicles we use are by far the best vehicles available at a reasonable price. All the birding tour companies use the same vans unless their tours have a narrow focus just around Kruger/nearby or another park. It’s a big problem in South Africa that the East African style safari vehicles are, simply, unavailable, except for a handful of very old, shaky ones (and usually in East Africa they don’t have air conditioning anyway, are extremely slow between sites, and, in short, have a different suite of disadvantages). We use the very best vehicles we can without making our trips much more expensive than anyone else’s, but we also feel we have to be clear about what to expect before the tour, hence this note. If you are worried about the vehicle then please:

  • kindly ask further questions (before booking the tour)
  • consider a private tour which will be a lot more pricey, but since you’re not sharing with other tour participants you can always sit at a large window. If a whole group wishes to upgrade a tour and is willing to pay a large extra price, if given enough notice we are able to rent a very special vehicle – the cost is extremely high so the tour becomes a premium, rather than a standard, tour.

While we generally allow a window seat for every passenger and like to have at least a couple of free seats available for birding gear etc., it’s better to ask us about the specific tour to be sure what is the case. For photography trips the per-person price is higher because we leave more empty seats available as more tour participants have bulky camera gear!

It is our philosophy only to have one vehicle per tour as it invariably gets very frustrating when one vehicle sees a bird or animal and the other vehicle misses it! And our group sizes are small – maximum of eight (rarely nine). The tour prices would be very high and uncompetitive if we had a second vehicle and driver-guide with twice the guide’s accommodation, food, fuel and toll costs, considering the small group sizes on our tours. Again, if you request a private tour, we can take two or even three vehicles or absolutely whatever you request – a private tour is different. (It is illegal for us to have any person without a local driver’s license and professional driving permit to drive passengers who are paying to be on a tour, so we can’t even suggest that a tour participant drives a second vehicle to allow more space and window seats).

 

 


Price: R69,828 per person sharing

Single Supplement: R9,310

Price includes:
Meals
Accommodation
Entrance fees
Guiding fees
All transport while on tour

Price excludes:
International flights
Personal insurance
Alcoholic beverages
Gratuities
Laundry service
Personal expenses such as gifts

Black Harrier - John Tinkler

West Coast Birding Tour - 1 day

Duration: 1
Price: Please see https://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!

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Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Photo and Birding Tour South Africa: Western Cape, with extension to Kruger National Park 2019

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: September 01, 2019
Date End: September 11, 2019
Price: Main tour: R54,607 per person sharing , Kruger National Park extension R29,040
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

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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 2019

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2019
Date End: March 21, 2019
Price: R96,981 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 2019

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2019
Date End: March 21, 2019
Price: R96,981 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


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What our clients say

Chris, just to let you know, I got  the lifer Caspian Plover yesterday and the Gull (Larus heuglini) for a possible future tick if it is split. Without my guide’s knowledge of the bird’s habits and area, we would never have got the Plover, an excellent guide! The other guys on the twitch also got what they needed. Best regards, John

John Neville, Pretoria
10/05/2015



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