Ground Woodpecker, Betty's Bay
Ground Woodpecker, Betty's Bay

Introduction: 

In birding terms South Africa is a must for both the world lister and the leisure birder. For the leisure birder it’s a wonderfully diverse destination in which to see a lot of birds as well as some of Africa’s iconic mammal species in a seemingly endless array of habitat types. For the world lister however, South Africa is important for the high levels of endemism which make it the most important country on the continent in terms of endemic and near-endemic species. These include 19 true endemics; two breeding endemics; one seasonal endemic; and 45 near-endemics. These are spread out over a large geographical region, and it’s a given that any tour which aims to give a chance for almost all of them is going to be long and cover huge distances. With this almost outrageous goal in mind we have come up with this tour, a mega-birding tour, which will give participants a chance of seeing virtually all of the endemics and a large proportion of the near-endemics. It’s divided into two parts, Western and Eastern, which run back-to-back. The Western section starts in the regional town of Upington in the Northern Cape, with a night in Augrabies Falls National Park before heading westwards to Springbok in Namaqualand, then on to Calvinia in the heart of Bushmanland and then down to the West Coast and the Cape Peninsula before heading eastwards to the Agulhas Plain and the start of the Garden Route, where we begin to get a taste of what the eastern side of the country has to offer. Follow on from here on our Eastern Endemics tour…

7 – 19 November 2020 (12 nights / 13 days)
6 – 18 November 2021
5 – 17 November 2022

Starts in Johannesburg (O R Tambo International Airport) on the first morning of the tour in time for a connecting flight to Upington. Ends at George Airport on the last day of the tour in time for afternoon connecting flights to Durban (to continue with the Eastern SA Endemics Tour) or Johannesburg. Please check with use before booking any flights.

2020: ZAR 52 050 per person sharing, ZAR 3 825 single supplement
2021: ZAR 56 500 per person sharing, ZAR 4 050 single supplement
2022 prices coming soon!

Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control. 

Includes
• Accommodation
• All meals
• Ground transport
• Bottled water in Lawson’s vehicle whilst travelling
• Entrance fees
• Personalised checklists
• Specialist guide fees

Excludes
• All airfares
• Travel and medical insurance
• All drinks
• Optional excursions where applicable
• Gratuities
• Items of a personal nature

Note
• This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control.
• The species mentioned in the itinerary represent only some of the possible ones we may see on the tour, however, none of these can be guaranteed even though every effort will be made where possible to locate them. A full list of possibles appears on your checklist.

*See the Augrabies waterfall on the Orange River.

*Search for endemic Larks and other species in the remote regions of the Northern Cape Province.

*See the spectacular Langebaan Lagoon while searching for endemics in the West Coast National Park.

*Experience some exciting birding on a pelagic trip out of Simon’s Town (weather dependent).

*Spend time birding on the Cape Peninsula and surrounding areas, home of the Fynbos Specials – Cape Sugarbird, Cape Rockjumper, Cape Siskin & Orange-breasted Sunbird.

*Bag an impressive array of other endemics and near-endemics, including Blue Crane, Black Harrier, Karoo Kohaan, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Bank Cormorant, Knysna Woodpecker, Barlow’s Lark, Cape and Agulhas Long-billed Larks and many more.

*See mammals such as the endemic Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra.

*Enjoy the fine wine and good food of the Cape after an exciting day’s birding.

Group size: maximum of 8 participants; 4 participants per guide / vehicle. 

Areas visited: Augrabies Falls, Springbok, Calvinia, Langebaan, Cape Peninsula, Swellendam, Wilderness.

Expected weather conditions: the interior will by hot and mildly humid this time of year, whilst the Western Cape will be pleasant but could be quite windy.

Tour tempo: medium-plus to fast paced.

Accommodation standards: medium; guest houses and National Parks accommodation.

Birding in brief: excellent variety of habitats and bird species, strong focus on birding.

Top birds: Sclater’s Lark, Burchell’s Courser, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Black-eared Sparrowlark, Cape Rockjumper, Victorin’s Warbler, Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Karoo Korhaan and Black Harrier.

Mammal viewing: although not strongly focused on mammals, a good selection of game is possible with Gemsbok, Dassie Rat, Cape Grysbok, Cape Mountain Zebra, Cape Fur Seal and Southern Right Whale.

Other wildlife and attractions: excellent plant diversity in the Cape and Namaqualand, scenic Cape Peninsula.

Add-ons: this tour can be combined with the Eastern South African Endemics set-departure, 16th November – 1st December 2016 / 21st November – 6 December 2017.

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