Clients : Mr & Mrs Alwyn Jackson, Norfolk,UK
Dates :
29 Aug to 13 Sept 2007
Duration :
15 days

Route: Trip brief called for a balanced blend of botany and birding to bring out the best the Western Cape had to offer in the way of ‘highlight’ opportunity. Early spring was accordingly chosen as the countryside had greened up magnificently following a succession of cold fronts and winter squalls that had swept up in recent months from the Antarctic. Days were warming up and the first of the intra-Africa migrants had started to arrive for the austral summer with breeding activity amongst resident species very much in evidence. Aside from the birding, ‘flower line’ reports from Namaqualand indicated a riot of botanical colour awaited us throughout the spectrum of flower reserves we intended to visit. The route encompassed a great deal of botanical splendour, including the classic ‘fynbos’ mix of erica, restio, protea and a wide variety of geophytes and the horizon wide splendour of Namaqualand daisies and gazanias at their very best. Days proved warm and pleasant, as opposed to hot and dusty, making all day birding and botanizing an absolute pleasure in the normally arid areas of the Tanqua Karoo and Northern Cape . Along the Agulhas coastal plain emerald green wheat fields interspersed by patches of bright yellow lupins had eclipsed the dry and desiccated landscape of a few months before. As such the composition of habitat types selected for the trip did not disappoint and provided a visual feast of birding and floral delights across a spectrum of seven distinctly different biomes in the Western and Northern Cape.

Offshore pelagic activity in the form of a wide variety of albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels was equally impressive and provided an all embracing spectacle of entertainment as they careened about the trawling fleet.

Namaqua Sandgrouse

Listings: A total of 254 bird species were recorded for what is essentially a winter trip free of the summer mix of intra-African and Palearctic migrants. Highlights included Northern Royal Albatross, Great-winged Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel within the pelagic mix of thousands of seabirds off Cape Point. Inland, White-backed Duck, African Black Duck, Ludwig’s Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Blue Crane, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Chestnut-banded Sand Plover, Antarctic Tern, Crowned Eagle, Martial Eagle, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Black Sparrowhawk, Secretarybird, Lanner Falcon, Greater Kestrel, Little Bittern, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Cape Rockjumper, Southern Grey Tit, Victorin’s Warbler, Karoo Green Eremomela, Namaqua Warbler, Rufous-eared Warbler, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Dusky Sunbird, Sociable Weaver, Black-headed Canary, Protea Canary and Double-banded Courser were sighted.

Full details of sightings for the trip are available on request.

In the client’s own words: What contributed to our enjoyment of the trip was Patrick’s knowledge of the natural history and historical cultural development of SA, his caring attitude, the library of books, his well structured approach to ID and willingness to research ID questions. We received excellent service from Avian Leisure!

Alwyn Jackson UK

For more information contact Marie-Louise on

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