Finding South Africa's endemics

A report by Keith Taylor (Keiths Home Page)


Southern Africa embraces a tremendous range of habitats, home to one of the greatest bird diversities in the world - over 900 species occur of which 133 are endemic or near-endemic. Lying within the southern boundaries of Southern Africa is the extraordinary country of South Africa that harbours 700 of these species and a great majority of the endemics. However, only 27 are truly endemic within the borders of South Africa. This three-week itinerary is designed to see all of the Southern African endemics occurring in South Africa while surveying the country's unparalleled and breathtaking scenery. To locate all of this wonderful region's endemics you should be prepared for the extensive distances driven between birding sites. However, the quiet, rural atmosphere throughout South Africa offers an exciting and very comfortable birding experience. Walking is usually effortless on the easy terrain. Along the route you will see many magnificent and abundant mammals as well with such exciting species as Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey. Burchell's Zebra, White Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Common Giraffe, Blue Wildebeest, the endemic Nyala, Red and Grey Duikers, and Impala.

 Many will be surprised to find a superb infrastructure similar to that found in Europe and North America with remarkably good roads, luxurious accommodations (all of which have pools and air-conditioning in hot areas), excellent food and wine, and tape-water that you can safely drink. Most South Africans speak English.

The climate is variable throughout South Africa with half of the route cooler than most visitors would expect. High temperatures ~seldom reach over 80-850F ill the interior where hot, dry and sunny days are the norm. Coastal Natal will be frequently overcast with some rain and you may experience high humidity and possibly higher temperatures. In the Cape region, in the Drakensberg mountains, and around Volksrust conditions range from pleasantly warm through cool, or even cold (as dawn can be in the interior); overcast days are interspersed with sunshine and it may rain. October is the best month to visit

 This itinerary has been designed for comfort - and as outlined - 24 days will cost a couple from the USA or Canada about $7, 800 US or around $7,150 US from Great Britain. At the end of your trip you should have tallied a list of just under 500 species. However, following this itinerary will leave you with little time to relax as you will need to move along at a hurried pace. For those who can stay an extra week or two, I highly recommend you do so. An extra week would add fifty species to your list. You will need a current passport (good for six months from departure). footwear suitable for muddy trails, wet-weather gear, clothes for cool weather, as well as light clothing and footwear suitable for dry deserts and a tropical climate. No inoculations are required but a Hepatitis A shot is advised. Although anti-malarial prevention will be advised from your health center. malaria has been virtually non-existent even at SL Lucia and Mkuze in recent years. During my October visit I did not see a single mosquito. Infectious-ticks can be troublesome in KwaZulu-Natal. Stay on paths, but if you need to leave them, check yourself over and remove any immediately.

 Reference ,Material: Birds of Southern Africa by Sinclair, Hockey & Tarboton: Southern, Central & East Africa Mammals:

A Photographic Guide, Stuart 1992.



Names in the itinerary follow those in Birds of Southern Africa by Sinclair Hockey and Tarboton. Agreeing with many authorities these common names have been hyphenated, while additional names may accompany others (example: Pied Avocet and Common Ringed Plover). However, in disagreement, lower cases have not been used for the family name when several species are listed in tandem (example: Grey, Olive & Scarlet-chested Sunbirds). Greywing and Redwing Francolins have been changed to Grey-winged and Red-winged Francolins. With certain species I have added (African) to avoid confusion with similarly named species found elsewhere (example: (African) Rock Pipit). Even with these changes, the names in the itinerary will he recognizable with those in the field guide. See the Addendum for notes on the taxonomic status of certain South African species.

 The numbers in brackets () that introduce many paragraphs refer to the sites position on the accompanying map.

 The short-lists of species that accompany each site are those that should be found in the time allowed to follow the itinerary. Those with more time will produce a longer list. Complete checklists of the bird species occurring at National Parks, Game Parks and Nature Reserves can be obtained in many cases at their gates or offices. The Marine Protea Hotel has a free checklist of the birds of Lambert's Bay available at their desk and the Ingeli Forest Lodge has a free checklist of the birds of Weza-Ngele forest. Other complete checklists can be found in Birding in Southern KwaZulu-Natal. Species that are recorded daily in their proper habitats or species that are highly conspicuous on the roadside during drives are seldom mentioned in the itinerary lists. These species are listed below:

 Ostrich     Dabchick White-breasted Cormorant  Reed Cormorant
Grey Heron  Black-headed Heron Cattle Egret Hadeda Ibis 
Sacred Ibis Egyptian Goose   Yellow-billed Duck  Spur-winged Goose
Yellow-billed Kite  Black-shouldered Kite Jackal Buzzard Rock Kestrel
Helmeted Guineafowl Red-knobbed Coot  Three-banded Plover Blacksmith Plover
Feral Pigeon Rock Pigeon   Red-eyed Dove Cape Turtle-Dove
Laughing Dove Red-chested Cuckoo  Little Swift Alpine Swift
European Swallow White-throated Swallow Greater Striped Swallow  Rock Martin
Brown-throated Martin  Fork-tailed Drongo Pied Crow Black-eyed Bulbul
Sombre Bulbul   Southern Olive Thrush Southern Anteating Chat Cape Wagtail
Grassveld Pipit  Fiscal Shrike Southern Boubou  Bokmakierie
European Starling    Pied Starling Red-winged Starling   Cape White-eye
House Sparrow Cape Sparrow    

This itinerary is to be used along with the excellent birdfinding guides available for South Africa. It is highly recommended that you purchase the regional birdfinding guides listed below before visiting South Africa. The advantage of this itinerary is that it outlines a simple route to observe all of the ~endemics, eliminating sites which do not produce additional species. Unlike local birdfinding guides, this paper contains a wealth of logistical information which is required for tourists to comfortably bird these sites with precise directions, maps, accommodations, air services, boat charters for pelagic trips, books, car rental and the logistics for gaining access to Sani Pass.

Birding in Southern KwaZulu-Natal by David Allan; 1998, 52 full-colour pages.

This book outlines the species found in nine nature reserves but seldom gives precise directions for particular species. Excellent Regional checklist and colour photographs. Available at the front desk at Ingeli Forest Lodge for $4.00 US.

 Top Birding Spots in Southern Africa by Hugh Chittenden; 1993, 421 pages covering 127 sites. Distributed worldwide by bookstores that specialize in selling bird books.

 Birds of the Southwestern Cape and Where to Watch Them by Wally Petersen and Mel Tripp; 1995.

Available at the gift shop at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Published by the Southern African Ornithological Society and the Cape Bird Club. Excellent directions for sites and specific species in the Cape.

An interesting packet of free information including the 256 page travel guide - South Africa: a world in one country - and the 160 page - South Africa Accommodation Guide - can be obtained by writing the South African Tourism Board (Satour) in your country.

 United Kingdom           5-6 Alt Grove, Wimbleldon, London, 5W19 41)7                                                       tel: (0181) 944 8080

USA                               Suite 2040, 500 Fifth Avenue (20th Floor). New York, NY 10110                              tel: (212) 730-2929

 These full-colour guides have regional maps, detailed airport maps, breathtaking photographs and information on many accommodations (with photographs of the establishments) all without buying the popular guides available at bookstores.

Wakkerstroom Bird & Nature Guide by Warwick & Michele Tarboton; write Box 289, 2480 Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Southern African Birdsounds by Gibbons; 1991; 6 cassettes of all species $79~95 US


 South Africa



 Day 1-2                                                                                                          MAP 2


Overnight flights to London, leaving from North America, will arrive the afternoon of Day 2. After clearing Customs, you will shuttle to the Ibis Heathrow for a required afternoon sleep. The South African Airways overnight flight to Johannesburg leave Heathrow at 10 pm.

 Afternoon at the Ibis Heathrow

Day 3

Johannesburg-Kimberley                                                    MAP 3

  (1.) The overnight flight from London arrives at Johannesburg at 9:20 am. After clearing Customs most birders will fly to Kimberley the same morning that they land at Johannesburg (from their respective countries) for a one-night stay. Flights leave for Kimberley at 11:30 am and one-way fares are $90.00 US. After the exhausting flights you should check into your rooms for a much needed rest, birding Kamfersdam in the afternoon.

 After picking up your rental car drive 8 km north into Kimberley. Once in Kimberley you will come to a round-about at the Honoured Dead Memorial. Keep left around the monument and proceed straight ahead along Memorial Street to Do Toitspan Road, timing left (0.7 km). Proceed along Du Toitspan past Lennox-Regiment Way (highway 64), then left staying on Do Toitspan after driving a further 0.8 km. You will find the Diamond Protea Lodge on your left after driving a further 0.4 km (124 Do Toitspan Road).


Big Hole

(2.) From the Diamond Protea turn left along Do Toitspan Road which becomes New Main Road. After driving 0.3 km, turn right (northwest) onto Bultfontein Road (highway 12). Proceed 0.2 km and park. The best time to visit the "Big Hole" is at sunset when there is still adequate light to discern colour. Search among the smaller Little & White-romped Swifts and larger Alpine Swifts for one that is mid-sized without any white in the plumage. This swift will he mottled on the underparts - the target species here -Bradfield's Swift. Although in small numbers one or two will be seen well.


(3.) In the late afternoon take a short drive to Kamfersdam. Here you will be introduced to a variety of widespread African waterbirds along the shores of this large reservoir.Continue northwest along highway 12 from the "Big Hole" for (0.7 km) where highway 12 swings right. Keep straight-ahead on Pniel Road (highway 72) for approximately 3-4 kms where you will see a large lake on the right. Look for a small dirt road (the first one) and turn right. The road passes under a railway line at a culvert-like underpass lined with South African Cliff Swallow nests. Drive under and park, or drive the road which rims the western shoreline. Thousands of both Greater & Lesser Flamingoes are the main attraction with Little Egret, Grey Heron, African Spoonbill, Glossy & Sacred Ibises, Egyptian Goose, South African Shelduck, White-faced Duck, Cape Teal, Cape Shoveler, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Crowned, Blacksmith, Common Ringed & Three-handed Plovers, Little Stint, Common, Curlew, Wood & Marsh Sandpipers and Whiskered & White-winged Terns. Levaillant's Cisticola, Rufous-eared Warbler and Black-chested Prinia frequent the lakeside shrubs. Bird Kamfersdam, then visit the Big Hole at dusk before returning to the Diamond Protea for the night.

Afternoon & night at the Diamond Protea Lodge, Kimberley

 Day 4

Kimberley to Augrabies Falls

 Vaalbos National Park

(4.) Your first destination, close to Kimberly, is Vaalbos National Park where the target species is the highly localized Short-clawed Lark. At the gate at dawn, begin birding the Kalahari thornveld, Karoo and grassland habitats within the park. Karoo is a desert community restricted to South Africa south of the Kalahari Desert. Karoo is characterized by a great number of succulents, although this habitat will remind birders of the saltbrush scrub found in the southwestern deserts of the USA. This is a land of low rainfall which leads to many bird species being nomadic. Continue northwest along highway 72 to the highway 31 junction which is 8 kms from Kimberley. Turn right towards Barkly West which is thirty-two kilometers away. [The recently described Long-tailed Pipit occurs around Kimberley during the austral winter and should still be present in early October; scan any green fields en rout~. Proceed through Barkly West along highway 31 and continue another 20 kms (52 kms from Kimberley), turning left at the park sign. The road is unpaved into and through the park but is well-maintained gravel. Drive 6 kms to the gate which is open from sunrise to sunset. The river just before the gate has Little Egret, Hamerkop, African Fish Eagle, Giant & Pied Kingfishers, European Bee-eater and Brown-throated Martin. Pay the nominal fee scanning the surrounding brush for Greater Striped Swallow, Familiar Chat, Tit-Babbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Pint Batis, Fiscal & Chat Flycatchers, Black-chested Prinia, Scaly-feathered Finch, Violet-eared & Black-cheeked Waxbills and Black-throated & Yellow Canaries. The 34 km-long loop road begins and ends at the gate. Visitors are only allowed out of their vehicles at the designated picnic areas (2 and 17 kms from the gate) as rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo roam freely within the park. The park's varied habitats, marred by several dry riverbeds, are satiated in birds with Ostrich, Secretarybird, White-backed Vulture, Tawny & Martial Eagles, African Fish Eagle, Crowned Plover, Orange River & Swainson's Francolins, Northern Black & Red-crested Korhaans, Kori Bustard, Cape Turtle-, Laughing & Namaqua Doves, White-rumped Swift, White-backed & Red-faced Mousebirds, Swallow tailed Bee-eater, (African) Hoopoe, Greater Scimitarbill, Acacia Pied Barbet, Rufous-naped & Clapper Larks, Fork-tailed Drongo, Karoo Robin, Red-eyed Bulbul, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Desert Cisticola, Marico Flycatcher, Grassveld Pipit, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Three-streaked Tchagra, Glossy Starling, Dusky Sunbird Grey-headed Sparrow, Melba & Scaly-feathered Finches, Cape Sparrow, Southern Masked Weaver and Common Waxbill.


(5.) Block Dam picnic site is 17 kms from the Vaalbos National Park gate, "the" site for the local, uncommon and endemic Short-clawed Lark. Visitors may be surprised to find clean flushing toilets and potable tape water in the washrooms. Several Fawn-coloured & Spike-heeled Larks will be flushed before the target species is found. Try anywhere in the vicinity, especially uphill around the water tank. Several confusing species of pipit will be seen that will require close study. Both Buffy & Plain-backed Pipits occur as well as the distinctive Grassveld with its white outer-tail feathers. The Buffy Pipit can he identified via its habit of tail wagging. In the vicinity are White-throated & Pearl-breasted Swallows, Kalahari Robin, Brubru and Golden-breasted Bunting.



(6.) After a morning of birding Vaalbos it will be time to leave Kimberley. From the Diamond Protea drive west (left) along Du Toitspan and New Main Roads to Bultfontein (highway 12) and turn left. Drive 3.5 kms to Long Lennox (highway 64), turning right. The drive from Kimberley to Upington is an exhausting 413 kms with little time to bird. Those driving directly to magnificent Augrabies Falls National Park (recommended) have a 533-kilometer (7 hrs) drive. There will be several opportunities en route to look for dry country birds along the highway as the landscape becomes ever more arid. Pale Chanting-Goshawk, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Southern Anteating & Mountain Chats, Short-toed Rock Thrush and White-browed Sparrow-Weaver should be looked for en route. You will see the incredible nests of Sociable Weavers built upon telephone poles. Lucky birders will see Double-banded Courser and White-bellied Korhaan. Stop for lunch at Griekwastad which has a small restaurant with reasonably good fare but slow service. Follow highway 64 to Groblershoop, turning north (right) onto highway 10. Arriving in Upington you will cross the Orange River where highway 10 becomes Scott Street at a round-about (sign for Upington Protea Hotel here). Keep left onto Scott Street and drive one block, turning right onto Schroder Street which curves left. The Upington Protea is two blocks on the right at number 24. The comfortable hotel has a bird feeder outside the lobby window that attracts a few common species.

 Optional night at the Upington Protea Hotel, Upington

 Note: Up mg ton and Spitskop Nature Reserve are optional sites not harbouring species that can be found elsewhere. I recommend driving through to Augrabies Falls National Park and staying there in the chalets.

 Spitskop Nature Reserve

(7.) If you decided to stay the night at the Upington Protea Lodge you should visit this reserve at dawn on Day 5 then drive directly to Augrabies Falls after breakfast. From the Upington Protea drive northeast along Schroder Street (the opposite direction you came into town). (Schroder Street becomes highway 14 which leads to Johannesburg). After driving two blocks, turn left onto River Street and drive three blocks, turning right onto Le Roux Street. Follow Le Roux, winding west, then northwest for 4 kms to the highway 360 /10 junction. Proceed across highway 10 onto highway 360. Drive 5 kms and begin looking for Stark's Larks on the roadside. Ten kilometers along highway 360 is the signed entrance to Spitskop Reserve on the right. Pay the nominal fee at the office which is open from 7 am to 7 pm. The reserve is centered on a striking granite hill- "koppie" - where you will find Mountain Chat. A well-maintained dirt road winds back-and-forth through the small reserve giving the idea you'll never return to where you started. There are no dangerous animals. Among the many karoo species you should find Stark's, Spike-heeled & Sabota Larks, Red-billed Quelea and Lark-like Bunting. Watching the water trough at the koppie is worthwhile.


Augrabies Falls National Park

(8.) Driving straight through to Augrabies Falls from Kimberley you will encounter a round-about as you enter Upington along highway 10. Keep left and straight-ahead onto Brug Street. Take the second left which is highway 14. From the Upington Protea, return along Schroder Street to the round-about. Follow highway 14 for 92 kms, turning right off highway 14 at the sign for Augrabies Falls National Park. Along highway 14 watch for White-browed Sparrow-Weaver and Lark-like Bunting along the fence lines. Numerous Sociable Weaver nests decorate the roadside poles (watch for white-wash as Pygmy Falcons nest in chambers 'ii these nests). The road is paved to the park (28 kms). Pay the nominal fee at the park gate and proceed to the parking lot at the park complex and chalets. You will arrive very late in the afternoon. I highly recommend a stay at the delightful cottages and chalets in this most scenic area of South Africa. Each modern unit has air-conditioned rooms, hot-water showers, two beds, and the park has laundry service, a swimming pool, an a la carte and self-service restaurant, and tourist shop.

 Night at the holiday chalets, Augrabies Falls National Park

Day 5

Leisurely birding begins immediately outside your rooms under endless blue skies. The Orange River forms a narrow green ribbon in an otherwise stark, but beautiful rose-tinted sandstone landscape. From the parking lot and chalets walk along the road to the north across the lawns of the picnic sites and through the lovely groves of trees. Along the luxuriant tree-lined banks of the river you should find Palm Swift, White-backed & Red-faced Mousebirds, (African) Hoopoe, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-eyed Bulbul, Southern Olive Thrush, Familiar Chat, Cape Robin, Print Batis, African Pied & Cape Wagtails, possibly Crimson-breasted Shrike, Glossy Starling, Dusky Sunbird, Grey-headed Sparrow, Common Waxbill, and White-throated & Yellow Canaries.

 The local Namaqua Prinia is found along a small dirt side-road that branches to the west (left) between the entrance gate and the parking lot. Stop at the second creek crossing that is surrounded by large reeds (1/2 km) and play a tape to bring this shy and furtive prinia into view. Little Bittern is possible and African Marsh Warbler and Red Bishop are common. Exploring the river's banks and its reedbeds you should find African Darter, Black-headed & Goliath Herons, Hamerkop, Egyptian Goose, South African Shelduck, Cape & Red-billed Teals and African Fish Eagle. A short drive outside the park's gates will take you into the drought-resistant vegetation in the surrounding seemingly endless desertlands. The brush, open plains and grasslands that begin a few feet from the river's edge harbour Orange River & Red-necked Francolins, Namaqua Dove, Fawn-coloured Lark, Ashy Tit, Karoo Robin, Layard's Tit-Babbler, Tit-Babbler, the tiny Cape Penduline Tit, Grey-backed Cisticola, Black-chested Prinia, Rufous-eared Warbler, Chat & Marico Flycatchers, Great Sparrow and Cape Bunting.

 Breaking for lunch at the restaurant you will be mobbed by aggressive Pale-winged Starlings, Southern Masked Weavers and Cape White-eyes. A pair of Acacia Pied Barbet nest in a hole in a tree adjacent to the restaurant patio.

 After lunch walk along the signed trail to admire the impressive gorge with its turbulent rapids and falls. As the Orange River meanders towards the South Atlantic it reaches Augrabies in a powerful explosion of sound. Here the rapid flow cuts a dramatic series of deep gorges and canyons, thus creating the spectacular waterfalls. in the cooling spray scan the cliffs for Rock Pigeons as Alpine, Black, Little & White-romped Swifts, possibly a Bradfield's Swift, Greater Striped, South African Cliff & White-throated Swallows and Brown-throated & Rock Martins swirl over the falls. A Peregrine Falcon could be seen hunting through the gorge while overhead you may see a Pale Chanting-Goshawk, Black Eagle, Black-breasted Snake-Eagle or Greater Kestrel.

 Sadly you must leave Augrabies Falls by early afternoon. From the falls you continue southwest passing through an extensive valley of rolling, bright-red sand dunes. From the falls, return to highway 14 turning right (west) towards Poffader 135 kms away. Watch the roadside and overhead wires en route for Acacia Pied Barbet, Sickle-winged & Mountain Chats, Chat Flycatcher, Sociable Weaver and Lark-like Bunting.

 (9.) After driving about 95 kilometers across the vast expanses of space and silence begin scanning the plains for Karoo Korhaan and the road shoulder for Long-billed Lark (40-30 kms from Pofadder).

 (10.) You will arrive at your hotel in Poffader during the early evening. Turn left (south) from highway 14 at the gas station along the main road into town. The Hotel Pofadder is found on the right after a block or two. The accommodation is surprising comfortable with excellent set meals, hut the water pressure ensures that the showers are slow in producing a steady flow and the toilets flush only periodically. Birding is good around the hotel's pool with White-backed & Red-faced Mousebirds, Red-eyed Bulbul, Familiar Chat, African Marsh Warbler, Pale-winged Starling, Dusky Sunbird, Southern Masked Weaver and Black-throated Canary.

 Night at the Pofadder Hotel, Poffader

Day 6


 South of the Orange River lies an arid I semi-arid wilderness where it is possible to travel for days without seeing another person. This area, reminiscent of the Kalahari desert to the north, is called the Bushmanland which stretches for hundreds of miles to the coast. Today you will explore the ancient bed of the Orange River and its varied habitats. Many of the target species around Pofadder are endemic larks and you should find flocks of these birds everywhere here at the hub of their evolution, especially on stark gravel plains. Besides the target species of lark, Karoo, Thick-billed, Sabota & Clapper Larks can be found in the area. The paved main street through Pofadder ends in a "T" junction (1 km). Keep right for the road to the owling and Rufous-checked Nightjar, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and Red Lark sites, left for the farm ponds and Sclater's Lark. Along the right-hand road, 3-4 kms from Pofadder, is a flat, open gravel plain covered in stunted desert shrubs. The karoo here is excellent for karoo species including Karoo Chat. There are no kilometer stones along Pofadders well-maintained gravel roads complicating directions, especially the Sclater's Lark site. Begin your day owling before daylight and finish with the Sclater's Lark site after lunch.

 (11.) Sclater's Lark: Drive along gravel highway 358 for exactly 29 kms, passing one main road branching left - to the second, Houmoed (a town on maps, but just a big green sign for Kraandraal etc.). Turn left towards Kraandraal and proceed a further 1~l8 kms (a 15 minute drive at 50-60 kms an hour) to the first small rise on the otherwards flat plain looking for an obvious man-made object silhouetted on a small rise along the north (left) skyline. The karoo here is rather barren with areas scattered with small stones. A few Stark's Larks and many Spike-heeled & Red-capped Larks will be flushed before the bold white outer-tail feathers of the Sclater's are detected. Try the southside of the road first. Tractrac & Karoo Chats and Rufous-eared Warblers inhabit the plains. En route to the lark site you will pass a farm with ponds with shorebirds and ducks including African Shelduck and Kittlitz's Plover. South African Cliff Swallows occur.


(12.) Taking the right road from Pofadder (another well-maintained gravel road) drive southwest for approximately 29 kms at 4:30 am. Watch the tops of the telephone poles en route for the dark silhouettes of owls. The road winds up and into a mountainous area. Stop where the road starts a decline and is surrounded by huge boulders. Play a tape here for Rufous-cheeked Nightjar and both Cape (rare) & Spotted Eagle-Owls. On the cliffs are groups of Rosy-faced Lovebirds (scarce) and Pale-winged Starlings.

(13.) Proceed about 23 kms from the owl site, bypassing an intersection on the right signed "to Pelis". Turn left (south) at the next road after a short distance. The next junction is in a km or so. In a northwesterly direction this road leads to highway 14 near Aggeneys. Cross over this road and proceed south 3 or 4 kms until both sides of the road are surrounded in rolling dunes, some covered in short scrubby vegetation. The high red sand dunes are scattered over a vast area and it is here, directly from the roadside, that you will look for the Red Lark. Reaching the breeding grounds of this local and uncommon lark at dawn is a necessity as they are only active for a short time after first light (it is often close to freezing here at dawn). Listen for the beautiful flight song of this little-known lark, a species restricted to these dunes, and tape them in for close views. Grey-backed & Black-eared Finch-Larks occur here. As the sun begins to warm, park at the nearby stock water trough where Namaqua Sandgrouse, Namaqua Dove, Scaly-feathered & Red-headed Finches, Yellow Canary, and the white-headed race of Black-headed Canary come to drink.


(14.) Retrace your route back towards the owling site watching for Capped Wheatear en route. About 10 kms from the Red Lark site you will see an obvious deep "V" valley in the mountain to the north. Park, and walk up the fairly steep incline across the broad flats dotted with tiny succulent euphorbias and white quartz pebbles towards the weathered, flat-topped mountain. Lark-like Bunting will be seen along the way. Once at the base of the rocky hillside with the large boulders interspersed with large desert aloes (1/2 km walk) play a tape for the secretive Cinnamon-breasted Warbler. Black Eagle and Bradfield's Swift fly overhead, while Short-toed Rock Thrush, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Grey-backed Cisticola and Cape Bunting flit among the rocks and scrub. In the wadi here there is a slightly thicker growth of acacia shrubs and trees, home to Layard's Tit-Babbler and White-throated Canary.


(15.) Return to the road which leads 9 kms to highway 14 near Aggeneys. turning right. Open the gate and drive through. Ludwig's Bustard and Karoo Korhaan occur on the grassy plains. There are two more gates before reaching highway 14. Turn right and drive 54 kms to Pofadder. En route, scan the very barren areas about half-way for Burchell's Courser and watch the telephone poles for Pale Chanting-Goshawk and Greater Kestrel. Namaqua Sandgrouse will be seen before reaching Pofadder. Have lunch before heading out for Sclater's Lark.

 Night at the Pofadder Hotel, Poffader

 Day 7

Pofadder to Lambert's Bay

 Today you have an 555-kilometer drive south to Lambert's Bay. Leave after an early breakfast as it will take eight hours to reach Lambert's Bay with stops for lunch, gas, and one or two bird observations. However the highways are excellent and you can make brief roadside stops to bird along the way. One of these stops will be to see the local Protea Canary as you approach the cool Atlantic coast - a welcomed change after your days in the desert. Simply drive west along highway 14 to Springbok (watching the roadside poles for Pale Chanting-Goshawk and Greater Kestrels and the plains for Karoo Korhaan, Namaqua Sandgrouse and Mountain Chat) then south along highway 7 to Clanwilliam. Stop along the highway shoulder 15 kms east of Springbok at the Goegap Wild Flower Reserve (when the incredibly fragrant and spectacular carpets of flowers come into view). Here you may see Stark's Lark, Grey-backed & Black-eared Finch-Larks, and Lark-like Bunting. Stop for gas in Springbok (163 kms from Pofadder) and follow the signs through town, then left for highway 7. A simple right turn onto highway 7 south is all that is required. Watch the skies carefully for Booted Eagle in the area of Kamieskroon (68 kms south of Springbok). After driving 421 kms from Pofadder a stop for lunch at the gas stop in Vanrhynsdorp will be welcomed. The restaurant is quaint with good food. From here to Clanwilliam the first of many Yellow-billed Kites will be seen and possibly a Black Crow. At Clanwilliam (496 kms from Pofadder), turn left and under the overpass onto highway 364 to Lambert's Bay, a further 59 kms (or visit the Protea Canary site).


[Port Nolloth]

(16.) The recently split Barlow's Lark can be found alongside the closely related Karoo Lark in unknown diamond fields near this town. There are good accommodations but details are unknown. From Pofadder, follow highway 14 west, 7 north and 382 west for 165 kms. All roads are paved. An optional site which requires an extra day and knowledge of the whereabouts of this new species.

 Clanwilliam                                                                                                  MAP 4

(1.) You should have plenty of time for a brief stop at this important site. Driving south along highway 7 bypass the turnoff for highway 364 that leads to Lambert's Bay. Proceed south on highway 7 for about 7 kms, turning right onto a dirt road at the sign for Paleishewel. (En route you will pass a flooded area and marshes along highway 7 with (African) Darters and other waterbirds). Drive 1.5 kms up  the dirt road to a narrow, rocky valley, "the" site for the local Protea Canary which responds well to tapes. African Sedge Warblers frequent the small reedy marshes lining the road as well as Yellow-rumped Widow and Red Bishop.

 Lambert's Bay

(2.) The semi-desert landscape turns to green as you wind your way through riverine woodlands and farms towards the coastal fringe with its boulder-strewn beaches, estuaries and saltmarshes. To reach the Marine Protea Hotel in the small port town of Lambert's Bay, turn right from highway 364 just beyond the gas station and proceed one or two blocks to the downtown waterfront. The hotel is directly to the right of this corner. Check into your charming lodge with ocean views. There will be enough daylight to visit Bird Island which is one block left (south) of the hotel at the harbour's centre. Park at the causeway and walk to the reserve with its large colony of Cape Gannets and small group of Jackass Penguins. White-breasted, Bank, Cape & Crowned Cormorants, Kelp, Grey-headed & Hartlaub's Gulls, Antarctic, Swift & Sandwich Terns, African Black Oystercatcher and Common Sandpiper frequent the area.

 Night at the Marine Protea Hotel. Lambert's Bay


Day 8

Lambert's Bay to Ceres

Today you bird coastal fynbos, strandveld, and wetlands as you wind your way towards Ceres. At dawn bird the Vaalviei road and return to the hotel for your set breakfast. Begin birding along the coast by mid-morning, finishing at West Coast National Park. Leave the park at four o’clock, which will give you enough time (two-hours) to drive the l53 kms to Ceres before dark.


(3.) A weir alongside the Lambert's Bay trailer park at the north side of town has created the Jakkaisviei, a flooded area with wetland birds. Greater & Lesser Flamingos are abundant. The strandveld here is excellent, Black & African Marsh Harriers occur.


Vaalviei road

(4.) Drive back east along highway 364 for 6-7 kms, turning left (north) onto a dirt road at the sign for Vaalviei. A good patch of coastal fynbos habitat is located 2 km up this road. Park at a barbwire gate on the right and walk through. Excellent site for Cape & Grey-winged Francolins, Common Quail, Karoo Lark (south-western Cape race), Clapper & Thick-billed Larks, Southern Grey Tit, Cape Bulbul, Long-billed Crombec, Spotted Prinia, Bokmakierie, Pied & Wattled Starlings, and Yellow & Black-headed Canaries. A small marsh en route will produce Black Crake, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Levaillant's Cisticola and Red Bishop. Pin-tailed Whydah occur.

Wadrif Soutpan

(5.) After checking out of the hotel proceed south of Lambert's Bay along unpaved coastal highway 365, turning right after 8 kms onto a dirt toll-road that parallels the Sishen-Saldahna railway line. The road is signed Toleraba. A short way down the road pay the daily toll of 6 Rand. The pan is observed directly from the road where Black-necked Grebe, Glossy Ibis, African Spoonbill, Greater & Lesser Flamingoes, Crowned, Blacksmith, White-fronted, Common Ringed, Kittlitz's, Grey & Chestnut-banded Plovers, Common, Wood, Marsh & Curlew Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Little Stint, Ruff, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, South African Shelduck, Cape Teal, Cape Shoveler and the scarce Maccoa Duck occur. The surrounding strandveld harbours Burchell's & Double-banded Coursers, Cape Turtle-, Laughing & Namaqua Doves, Red-faced & White-backed Mousebirds, Clapper, Long-billed, Red-capped & Thick-billed Larks, Grey-backed Finch-Lark, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Sickle-winged & Karoo Chats, Stonechat, Karoo Robin, Tit-Babbler, Layard's Tit-Babbler, Bar-throated Apalis, the miniscule Cloud Cisticola high overhead in its flight song, Grey-backed Cisticola, Rufous-eared Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Grassveld, Long-billed & Plain-backed Pipits, Orange-throated Longclaw, Malachite & Lesser Double-collared Sunbirds, Bully, Yellow & White-throated Canarys and Cape Bunting.

 Eland's Bay (Elandsbaai)

(6.) Continue west and south from Wadrif Soutpan along the dirt road to the reedbeds and lake (Verlorenvlei) at Eland's Bay, about 7 kms. Cape & Southern Masked Weavers and Cape Reed Warblers are easily found in the reeds. Great Crested Grebe, (African) Darter, Little & Yellow-billed Egrets, Glossy & Sacred Ibises, Grey & Purple Herons, Pastern White Pelican, various ducks, Purple Gallinule, Grey-headed Gull, Pied & Malachite Kingfishers, (African) Hoopoe, Yellow-romped Widow and Common Waxbill occur. The rocky outcrop (Baboon Point) has Black Swifts, swallows and raptors.

Rocher Pan Reserve

(7.) Continue south from Eland's Bay on the dirt road (named the Piketberg) towards Aurora. European Bee-eaters are common along this stretch. Turn right after approximately 33 kms. This corner may or may not be signed to Velddriff or Dwarskersbos but it is the first right turn after loosing sight of the sea. After an additional 6-7 kms there is a sign for Rocher Pan Reserve on the right. Cape Penduline Tits are reliable along the entrance road. Herons, egrets, waterfowl, including Maccoa Duck and Red-billed Teal, are to be found. Sign the register at the office (no entry charge). There are clean flush toilets. Pavement begins 4 kms away at Dwarskersbos. 


(8.) Saltworks are located on the west side of highway 27. highly visible just south of the Berg River bridge 2 kms south of Velddriff. Drive onto the property and ask permission to bird the salt pans. The specialty here is Chestnut-banded Plover (also found at the salt works near Yzerfontein). Other shorebirds will be present as well as Capped Wheatear.

(9.) Velddriff is 8 kms from Dwarskersbos. Immediately east of the junction of Highways 27 and 399 in downtown Velddriff (park along 399) is the Berg River estuary with flamingos, egrets, herons, gulls, Caspian & Common Terns, and shorebirds including Whimbrel. Many accidentals have occurred here including Little Blue Heron and Broad-billed Sandpiper.

West Coast National Park

(10.) Your last stop along the coast is West Coast National Park where you will see your target species, the aesthetic Black Harrier. Continue 20 kms south on highway 27 from Veldriff, turning right at the 1-stop gas station to Langebaan (6 kms). Follow the signs through the center of town to the park which is situated directly on the outskirts. Pay the nominal entrance fee at the gate and proceed along the paved road a short distance to "Look Out Uitkyk". Begin scanning for Black & African Marsh Harriers from here to the road to "Geelbek Bird Hide" (about 4 kms). Other species expected include Cape & Grey-winged Francolins, Helmeted Guineafowl, Southern Black Korhaan, Spotted Dikkop and Banded Martin. Proceed past the southern park boundary and return to highway 27 following highways 315 and 46,153 kms to Ceres. Blue Cranes occur in the rolling fields en route. See Day 9 for directions to the Belmont Hotel.

Night at the Belmont Hotel, Ceres

Day 9


(11.) The Belmont Hotel is found north of highway 46 on Porters Street in downtown Ceres. The turn (left) is signed for the hotel, an excellent old refurbished sanatorium. There are several very attractive bungalows as well as the rooms in the main hotel.

Bainskloof  Pass

(12.) Visit Bainskloof Pass at dawn. The southern tip of Africa is just a sliver of land, but it holds one of the six major floral regions in the world, supporting 7,000 plant species of which half are endemic. Known as fynbos or macchia, this chaparral-like vegetation varies from coastal heath around Lambert's Bay to dense protea-rich shrubland in the mountains near Cape Town and Ceres. Our target species at the pass is the localized, secretive Victorin's Warbler as well as Cape Siskin. All roads are paved. From Ceres follow highway 46 west towards Wolseley, then turn left onto highway 43 towards Worchester. Turn right onto highway 301 towards Wellington (about 20 kms from Ceres). The road narrows as you drive over the Darling Bridge. White-rumped Swift, White-backed Mousebird, Cape Robin, Red Bishop and Yellow-rumped Widow occur here. After driving approximately 8-10 kms along highway 301 you will climb steeply into a gorge cloaked in fynbos. This unusual and floristically rich habitat will be ablaze with colour if it has rained. Stop at the first pullout on the left approaching the summit (the first one available at this approximate distance and altitude). There are two pullovers here and the site is further recognized by a stone wall at a small creek/waterfall just before a sharp left curve (the first stone wall along this stretch of road). Play a tape scanning the brush above you for the reliable Victorin's Warbler. With a little perseverance you should find the Cape Siskin eliminating the need to visit Cape Point in Cape Town. Others in the vicinity are Cape Batis, Lesser Double-collared Sunbird, Cape. Yellow & Protea Canaries, and Cape Bunting.

Ceres-Calvinia  Road

Back at the hotel, have breakfast before starting out for a drive back north into the desolate karoo. From Ceres follow highway 46 northeast, paved for 39 kms. Leaving the lush orchards and farmlands around Ceres you will pass over a low escarpment into an endless stony plain. The semi-arid karoo here is covered in the most beautiful array of small euphorbias and succulent scrub. Birds e abundant here along the rim of the Great Karoo, home to many small birds including the karoo form of Karoo Lark. The scenic emerald hillsides soon change to a shimmering dry and barren desert bisected by sandy wadis and dotted with thorn trees. At the 39 kilometer stone the road changes to rough-gravel highway 355 - noted for flat tires - you should rent two spares in Ceres before attempting this northward journey. At the beginning of highway 355 the kilometers stones begin at zero.

(13.) At km 6 (i.e. 45 kms from Ceres) stop at the small picnic area, a good site for Southern Grey Tit and the warbler-like Fairy Flycatcher. In this vicinity a gravel road branches right signed to Southerland. Continue straight ahead on highway 355 stopping at the small windmill at km stone 13.5, "the" site for the localized Karoo Eremomela. The plains harbour Karoo, Spike-heeled, Thick-billed & Red-capped Larks, Capped Wheatear, Sickle-winged & Karoo Chats, Long-billed Crombec, Spotted Prinia, Rufous~ eared Warbler, Scaly-feathered Finch - and many of those noted around Poffader.

(14.) At the 41 km stone (80 kms from Ceres), turn left at the sign for Op-Die-Berg. Stop 3-4 kms along the road after reaching the rocky slopes. Search for the elusive Cinnamon-breasted Warbler amongst the rocks and gorges filled with aloes and shrubs. This is a reliable site, although even after taping this secretive species it can still be difficult to observe. Black Eagle, White-rumped Swift, Layard's Tit-Babbler, Grey-backed Cisticola, Dusky Sunbird and Pale-winged Starling are common.

After a full-day of birding around Ceres you will drive southwards to Cape Town for a three-nights stay. From Ceres, drive back along highway 46 to Malmesbury and turn south onto highway 7. Drive 70 kms turning right (after crossing the overpass) onto the westbound lanes of highway 2 toward the center of Cape Town. Once on highway 2, drive 5.3 kms exiting left at the third sign designating "Pinelands" which also has a sign for "City Lodge". Turn left onto Raapenberg Street and cross over the overpass and right at the first street (Howard Place) to the City Ledge at Pinelands - Mowbray. You should arrive around sunset. This luxurious hotel, situated alongside highway 2, is the most convenient accommodation while staying in Cape Town. The airport is only eight-minutes away, Kirstenbosch Gardens fifteen-minutes away and freeways link the hotel to Sir Lowry's Pass, Cape Point and both pelagic ports at Simon's Town and Hout Bay.

Night at City Lodge Pinelands Hotel, Cape Town

Days  10-11

Cape Town                                                                                                                        MAP 5

(1.) Framed beneath Table Mountain, the modern city of Cape Town is famous for its natural setting and dramatic scenery. Although the Cape does not posses a diverse passerine avifauna, a high proportion are endemic and two-and-a-half days in the southwest Cape will provide the opportunity to explore all of the major habitats of the area. Your pelagic trip should he scheduled for Day 10 50 you have Day 11 as an alternative if it is cancelled. After your day at sea (you will return to port around four pm) visit the boulders or Kommetijie Point for Antarctic Tern and then Cape Point if necessary. On the morning of Day 11 drive to Sir Lowry's Pass and onward to De Mond Nature Reserve. Spend the morning of Day 12 at Kirstenbosch Gardens before catching your early afternoon flight to Durban.

Kirstenbosch Gardens                                                                                        MAP 6

(2.) In the woodlands of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens you will search for your target species, the skulking Knysna Warbler.

From City Lodge, turn left onto Raapenberg Road, cross the overpass and turn left onto highway 2 Follow highway 2, leaving left onto the fourth exit for highway 3/Rhodes Street. Proceed 6 kms along Rhodes to a sharp bend and turn right at the traffic lights onto Rhodeskylaan Stad (highway 63). Follow the signs to the gardens another 2 kms. The gardens are open 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Here you will find a large parking lot, elaborate covered displays, shopping areas, and a restaurant that is open from 8:30-9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a 7 Rand ($1.25 US) entrance fee. Obtain a map of the grounds at the gate. Immediately after the gate you will reach the Kanferlaning walkway. The large tree directly on the left has a Spotted Eagle-Owl nesting in the crotch at eye-level; the male will be found roosting nearby. The "hit" species here is Knysna Warbler. Find the Braille wandelpad (Braille Trail) on your map and enter the trail from the left side. The thick bracken as you enter has a reliable Knysna Warbler which tapes out nicely. Try anywhere along this trail. Another location is found about a half-kilometer away. Prom the Braille trail follow the Smuts se wandelpad (Smuts trail) left and steeply uphill to the Skeletonkloof and Contour trails (look for Spotted Dikkop on lawns). Walk through the beautiful forest keeping right along the bracken fringed creek. Tape in cool, sheltered sites. Many species inhabit the gardens and woods with Cape Francolin, Helmeted Guineafowl, Rock Pigeon, Red-chested Cuckoo, Pied Kingfisher, (African) Hoopoe, Cape & Sombre Bulbuls, Southern Olive Thrush, Familiar Chat, Cape Robin, Cape Batis, Southern Boubou. Bokmakierie, (African) Paradise Flycatcher, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite, Orange-breasted & Lesser Double-collared Sunbirds, Cape Weaver, Red Bishop, Yellow-rumped Widow, and Yellow, Streaky-headed, Cape & Forest Canarys. A patch of sedge (marked Kruietuin on the garden map) is home to a pair of cooperative African Sedge Warblers.

Simon's Town pelagic trip

(3.) At first light, weather permitting, board your chartered sport fishing boat and cruise 40 miles offshore to the cold Benguela Current (see the address sheet in the addendum for charter information). The weather off the Cape can be notoriously unpredictable and the chance of a cancellation should be included in your schedule. Those affected by seasickness can visit the famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or other Cape Town sites. The thousands of seabirds on the fishing grounds off Cape Town is one of the great birding spectacles. Among the countless, sweeping tubenoses in the wake of the factory trawlers are Shy, Black-browed & Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Southern & Northern Giant Petrels, White-chinned & Pintado Petrels, Greater, Sooty & Cory's Shearwaters, Subantarctic Skua, Arctic Skua (Jaeger). Black-bellied & Wilson's Storm-Petrels, Cape Gannet, Sabine's Gull, and Arctic Terns. Among the less common species are Wandering & Grey-headed Albatrosses, Great-winged & Soft-plumaged Petrels, Antarctic Fulmar, Broad-billed Prion and European Storm-Petrel. To reach Simmon's Town from the City Lodge enter highway 2 towards the airport and keep left at highway 6 (the first exit). Turn right (south) over the overpass and continue 4.2 kms to the second divided highway turning right. After 1.9 kms turn left, entering the southbound lanes of highway 5. Proceed an additional 13 kms to highway 310 and turn right along the coast. At Muizenberg keep left at the "T" junction onto highway 4 and continue 9 kms along the coast to Simon's Town. The harbour is sighted easily from the highway but ask the captain for directions to your chartered boat. Simon's Town's small harbour is a real "yuppie" retreat with delightful outdoor cafes and shops.

Simon's Town to City Lodge

Reverse your route back to highway 5 - but continue (16 kms) taking the Pinelands exit. Keep left and proceed about one km to the traffic lights. Turn right, then immediately left following the "to highway 2" signs. At the "T" junction and traffic lights turn right under the overpass onto Raapenberg Road. Proceed over the highway 2 overpass and then right onto Howard Place to the hotel.

The boulders and Kommetijie Point

(4.) About 4 kms beyond Simon's Town along highway 4you will find "The Boulders", a touristy Jackass Penguin colony and roost site for Antarctic Terns. You can also find these terns roosting on the rocks below the lighthouse at Kommetijie Point south of Hout Bay. Cape, Bank & Crowned Cormorants, African Black Oystercatcher, Kelp, Grey-headed & Hartlaub's Gulls, and Swift & Common Terns also roost along the shores.

Note:Cape Point is an optional site that need not be visited if you spend time finding the Cape Siskin at Ceres. This site could be visited in the late afternoon on returning from your pelagic trip, either Simon's Town or Hout Bay.

Cape Point

(5.) If you missed the erratic Cape Siskin at Ceres visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve for another try. Continue south along highway 4 an additional 8 kms from The Boulders to the sign on the left for the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (Cape Point). Pay the nominal entrance fee at the gate (open dawn to dusk) and proceed a further 12 kms to the end of the road and the parking lot birding en route. African Marsh Harrier and Southern Black Korhaan occur. Here you will find a take-out restaurant with terrible food. Look for Grey-backed Cisticola and Cape Siskin around the parking area. If you are unsuccessful, walk up the steep stairs along with the hords of tourists to the lookout. Check the mortar cracks in the walls and buildings for Cape Siskin, Cape Rock Thrush, Cape Bunting and possibly Ground Woodpecker.

Pelagic trip from Hout Bay

(5.) From City Lodge follow directions under Kirstenbosch Gardens to the junction with Rhodes Street (highway 3) and highway 63. Continue along highway 63 an additional 8 kms to Hout Bay.

Sir Lowry's Pass                                                                                                             MAP 4

(15.) Sir Lowry's Pass lies at the summit of the rugged, wind-swept Hottentot Mountains to the east of Cape Town where virtually every species of protea of the Cape region is protected. This beautiful array of flowers feeds the Cape Sugarbird which resembles a gigantic sunbird. Drive about 55 kms east along highway 2 from Cape Town. At the summit there is an inconspicuous parking lot on the right. Behind a knoll, the parking area is difficult to see and even more difficult to turn into across the oncoming traffic. It may be easier to pass the parking lot a short way then make a "U turn arid come back. The summit is obvious - if you begin to descend you have past it. From the parking lot carefully cross the highway on foot. Look for a hole in the barbwire fence. There are two wide trails. Take the higher one which leads through the fynbos habitat with rocky outcrops at an elevation of 2,000 ft. The unusual fynbos vegetation and rocky mountain outcrops here are home to Black Eagle, Ground Woodpecker, White-necked Raven, Cape Bulbul, Cape Rock Thrush, the roadrunner-like Cape Rockjumper (specialized to these rocky regions), Grassbird, Grey-backed Cisticola, Spotted Prinia, Wattled & Pale-winged Starlings, and Malachite & Orange-breasted Sunbirds.

De Mond Nature Reserve

(16.) After birding the pass continue your drive to the southernmost point of Africa. The extensive wetlands of De Mond Nature Reserve harbour your target species, the localized Damara Tern. From Sir Lowry's Pass continue 55 kms along highway 2 east to Caledon (110 from Cape Town). Turn right through town along paved highway 316 and continue another 80 kms to Bredasdorp watching for the numerous Blue Cranes and Black Crows in the grain fields en route. Proceed along highway 316 another 10 kms and turn right at the signed dirt road that leads 16 kms to the reserve. Another alternative in reaching the reserve is to turn right onto highway 319 at Bredasdorp and after 14 kms turning left onto an unsigned dirt road. This road has numerous flooded areas that are excellent for Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, African Spoonbill, South African Shelduck, Cape & Red-billed Teal, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Yellow-billed Duck, Kittlitz's & Crowned Plovers, Little Stint, Ruff, Ethiopian Snipe, Pied Avocet, Red-knobbed Coot, as well as Whiskered Tern. One or two Stanley's Bustards are frequently encountered. Turn right from this road after driving 6 kms and continue another 11 kms to the reserve. At the office are trail maps arid washrooms (open 7 am to 4 pm). Watch for Water Dikkops under the trees here. The "hit" species are the breeding Damara Terns which are found easily over the estuary close to the parking lot. Walk over the foot suspension bridge and follow the trail along the estuary towards the ocean. Shorebirds are numerous with White-fronted & Grey Plovers, Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Terek, Common, Marsh & Curlew Sandpipers,. Common Greenshank, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel. Eastern White Pelican, Crowned Cormorant, Greater & Lesser Flamingoes, Kelp, Grey-headed & Hartlaub's Gulls, and Caspian, Swift & Common Terns frequent the estuary. The seven-kilometer "Sterna Trail" passes through riverine vegetation, dune forest and saltmarshes. You can continue to Cape Aguilhas along highway 319 (30 kms from Bredasdorp). There is a scenic drive along the sea here at the southernmost point of Africa with a photogenic lighthouse. Numerous seabirds roost on the rocks and Black-winged Plover has been seen on the towns lawns.

2 Nights at City Lodge Pinelands Hotel, Cape Town 

Day 12

Flight from Cape Town to Durban                                                                                                                                            MAP 7

(1.) After a final morning of birding in Cape Town fly to Durban oil the Natal coast. To save time many birders will find it profitable to drop their rentals at Cape Town (no drop off charges with Avis) and fly the 1660 kms to Durban and gain a another car rental there. South African Airways includes one free domestic flight with a round-trip flight from overseas, however, the one-way flight will only cost about $140.00 US. Reserve your flight for the early afternoon so there is ample time to drive to Oribi Gorge Hotel after landing at Durban. The flight is 2 1/2 hours and the drive to Oribi Gorge is 2 1/2 hours. Look for House Crows at the Cape Town International Airport and Indian Myna at Durban's. After picking up your second air-conditioned car in Durban you have a 150-kilometer drive to your lodgings, arriving at dusk. Highway 2 runs beside the airport and you simply turn left from the car rental lot onto the southbound lanes following the coast to Port Shepstone - from there you continue following highway 2 inland for ten kms. The turnoff to Oribi Gorge is well-signed both at the 10 km post and again at 21 kms. As there is a paved circular drive you can enter it from either end. Turn right at the first exit for the hotel which is found 11 kms along the circular drive. The hotel has magnificent views of the gorge's breathtaking rock formations. Country-style meals are served. Here you can bird the forests of Oribi Gorge Nature Preserve outside your hotel rooms. In the evening Wood Owl and Freckled Nightjar are regularly heard around the hotel.

Night at Oribi Gorge Hotel, Oribi Gorge

Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve

(2.) Although not on the birding circuit this site is excellent for locating Short-tailed, Plain-backed & Striped Pipits, Pale-crowned Cisticola and Kurrichane & Black-romped Buttonquail; the latter flushed from underfoot from short, dense grassland. Short-tailed Pipits are common but must be flushed from their short-grass areas, especially recently burnt grassland. Striped Pipits are associated with rocky and wooded grassland. The elusive Pale-crowned Cisticola is found in moist, relatively short grasslands of the upper plateaus. The reserve is signed from highway 2 at the Park Rynie/Umzinto overpass. Follow paved highway 612 north, bypassing the town of Umzinto, for 12.5 kms (3 kms past Umzinto). Turn right onto the dirt road at the sign for the reserve. Follow signs along this road for 6 kms to the main entrance which is open sunrise to sunset. There is a nominal fee, washrooms and several walking trails through both forest and grassland - or drive the 12 km network of roads. Ticks can be a problem.

Umtamvuna Nature Reserve

(3.) Again this reserve is not on the birding circuit but it is a more reliable site for Knysna Woodpecker; if missed at Oribi Gorge, look for it along the Umtamvuna River. Long-tailed Wagtails are common along the side-streams leading into this river. Red-winged & Shelly's Francolins occur in the upper grasslands where an occasional Ground Hornbill may he seen. The reserve is signed from the Port Edward crossroads. Turn right along the paved Izingolweni Road and 8 kms along this road is the well-signed turnoff to the Beacon Hill entrance and the main office. The reserve is open sunrise to sunset with a nominal entrance fee. A detailed booklet of the trails can be obtained at the office (there are no roads to drive). Trails are 1/2 to 8 hours in length.

Day 13

Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve

(4.) Mocking & Familiar Chats, Striped Pipit and Cape Rock Thrush frequent the rocky habitat at the hotels doorstep. In the heavily forested gorge is your target species. the local and endemic Knysna Woodpecker. From highway 2, take the turnoff at the km 21 stone (signed for Oribi Gorge) and then turn immediately left at the sign for the hutted camp. [Those staying at the Oribi Gorge Hotel will simply take the circular drivel. There is a nominal entrance fee and washrooms are provided. Look for Black-collared Barbet, Lesser Striped & Black Saw-wing Swallows, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Black Flycatcher, Plum-coloured & Black-bellied Starlings, Greater Double-collared, Grey, Olive, Black & Collared Sunbirds, Cape Weaver and Yellow-eyed Canary here. Between the huts is a trail that crosses a short open area then winds downhill to join the circular drive after 200-300 meters. Look for shy Terrestrial Bulbuls along the path. Walk left along the circular drive to the 7 km stone where a tape will bring Starred Robins into view. Between the 7 km and 8 km stones are picnic tables. Opposite these tables you will see two obvious dead snags, one the nesting site of the Knysna Woodpecker. The high-pitched calls are heard fairly often, but over-taped, they are reluctant to come into view. Other birds in this vicinity include Natal Francolin, Tambourine Dove, Knysna Lourie, Black, Emerald & Klaas's Cuckoos, Palm Swift, Narina Trogon, Trumpeter & Crowned Hornbills, Red-fronted & Golden-romped Tinker Barbets, Olive Woodpecker, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Square-tailed Drongo, Brown Robin, Barratt's Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Bar-throated & Yellow-breasted Apalis, Green-backed Bleating Warbler, Dusky & (African) Paradise Flycatchers. Cape Batis, Southern Tchagra, Forest Weaver, Green Twinspot, Grey Waxbill and Red-backed Mannikin Walk downhill a further 100 meters to view the huge Crowned Eagle nest. Side streams of the Mzimkulwana River harbour Long-tailed \Wagtail. 'The rare African Finfoot occurs along quiet stretches of this river, while the uncommon African Black Duck frequents rougher stretches. Coqui Francolin, Harlequin Quail and Broad-tailed Warbler are difficult to observe but present in proper habitat. Others you should see include Long-crested Eagle, Black Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk, Gymnogene. Southern Olive Thrush, Chorister Robin and Lazy Cisticola. 

Note: Pied Mannikin can be found at three localities in the Southport - Umtentweni area just north of Port Shepstone (see page 4 in "Birding in Southern KwaZulu-Natal ").

Ingeli Forest Lodge & Weza-Ngele Forest

(5.) After a home-made brunch  at the Oribi Gorge Hotel begin your drive to the higher elevations around the Ingeli Forest Lodge. A huge brown sign on the left of highway 2 (23 kms northwest of Harding or about 94 kms from the first turnoff to Oribi Gorge) signals this splendid accommodation in a country setting. Those driving straight through from Durban will reach Ingeli in 3 hours. Semi-detached wooden cabins set in a beautifully landscaped garden surround an inviting pool. Among others, the peaceful grounds harbour Southern Olive Thrush, Pale-winged Starling, Malachite, Black & Lesser Double-collared Sunbirds, Grey-headed Sparrow. and Swee Waxbill. Trails wind through the adjacent Weza-Ngele Forest which is renowned for its small but stable population of Cape Parrots. Noisy pairs fly high over the lodge almost on a daily basis at dawn and dusk while up to thirty frequent favourite roosting sites among the huge forest yellow-woods. The lodge caters to birders and has free checklists and sells the small "Birding in Southern Kwa-Zulu Natal". Trail maps are available. From the lodge drive along the adjacent Weza road for 0.7 km. On the right you will see a line of small rocks painted white. Turn right onto the dirt road and drive a half-km to the "T" junction where there is a fenced home. Turn right, keep right at the next junction, and park after driving a further 1.5-2 kms at the swamp that has Red­chested Flufftails and African Sedge Warbler. The Afromontane mist forest here harbours specialties such as Forest Buzzard, Cinnamon Dove and Bush Blackcap. Cape Parrots fly overhead early iii the day. As you walk along the old road through the cool forest with its tall yellow-wood and stinkwood trees heavily festooned with trailing lichens look for Crowned Eagle, Knysna Lourie, Emerald Cuckoo, Speckled Mousebird, Narina Trogon, Crowned & Trumpeter Hornbills, Greater, Lesser & Sharp-billed Honey guides, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Black Tit, Chorister & Starred Robins, Bar-throated & Yellow-breasted Apalis, Green-backed Bleating Warbler, Lazy Cisticola, Dusky & (African) Paradise Flycatchers, Cape Batis, Olive Bush-Shrike, Black-bellied Starling, Forest Weaver, Blue-billed Firefinch, and Yellow-eyed, Cape & Forest Canarys. The secretive Barratt's Warbler is common along the road as are Rameron Pigeon, Olive Woodpecker, Black Saw-wing Swallow and Yellow-throated Warbler. You will hear the long, drawn-out and mournful call of the ultra-secretive Buff-spotted Flufftail. These tiny rails inhabit the forest's shady floor. If your fortunate you will find an Orange Ground Thrush. Play a tape for this gorgeous thrush on reaching a sharp-bend about half a kilometer past the swamp. This Weza-Ngele specialty reacts strongly to the playback.

(6.) Back on the paved road to Weza, turn right (southeast). Long-crested Eagles are commonly encountered between km stones 10 and 16. Check the marsh at Weza (km 14) for Southern Crowned-Crane and Levaillant's Cisticola. The upland grasslands at km stones 6 and 10 harbour the endangered and local Blue Swallow. They are found exclusively in large green fields that are cropped short by grazing cattle. Mammal burrows must be present in these pastures for nesting. Scope these fields thoroughly as one pair can occupy a large territory. Also found in these fields are African Marsh Harrier, Rufous-naped Lark, Black Crow, White-necked Raven, Ayres' & Wailing Cisticolas, Grassveld & Long-billed Pipits, Stonechat and Common Waxbill. Recently burnt fields support Black-winged Plover and Plain-backed Pipit. Ground Hornbills occur.

Night at the lngeli Forest Lodge, Harding Kokstad

Day 14


(7.) After a morning of birding and a farewell breakfast at the Ingeli Lodge you can drive directly to Himeville or bird the high pastures at Matatiele. From the Ingeli Lodge a drive of 145-kilometers will take you directly to Himeville. A side-trip to Matatiele is recommended. Matatiele does not have any satisfactory restaurants so have the lodge pack a lunch for you. Matatiele is a small town 73 kms northwest of Kokstad along highway 56. Watch for White Stork, Black Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk, Lanner Falcon and Black Swift en route. Turn left (south) from the center of town onto Jagger Street which is signed for "Mountain Lake". Proceed a short distance to the end of pavement and torn right onto gravel at the conservation sign. Kilometer stones begin here at zero. The road is fairly rough but drivable with an ordinary car. Scan any rocky areas en route for Buff-streaked Chat and bushes for Streaky-headed Canary. Proceed uphill to km 7.5 (to the first gate on the right just below the summit). Yellow-breasted Pipits are found on the high-altitude pastures that are grazed by sheep immediately after passing through the gate. Proceed along the road strattling the ruts to a second gate where you will see Mountain Lake. Park, and walk to the highest crest in front of you (about 1.5 kms from the main road). The cool, wind-swept short-grass ridges harbour Yellow-breasted & Grassveld Pipits, Orange-throated Longclaw and Rudd's & Red-capped Larks. Secretarybirds may be present where there are longer dry grasses.

Matatiele to Himeville

En route to Himeville you will drive through un-African-like grasslands at an elevation of 3,000-5,000 feet. These beautiful rolling farmlands hold Southern Crowned- & Blue Cranes, Cape Vulture, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Crow, Orange-throated Longclaw, Cape Weaver, Red-billed Quelea, Red Bishop, Red-shouldered, Red-collared & Long-tailed Widows and Pin-tailed Whydah. From Matatiele retrace your route southeast along highway 56 to Kokstad (73 kms). Turn left onto paved highway 617 and drive north to Underberg (101 kms). At Underberg turn left following the signs to Himeville (5 kms) (179 kms from Matatiele). The delightful Himeville Arms Hotel is easily found in this small village on the left along the main street. Lying below the mighty Drakensberg massif and its spectacular craggy spikes and rock buttresses, this Tudor-style country inn has six semi-detached cottages that are equipped with excellent heaters, necessary at these high elevations. The dining room serves delicious set meals. Speckled Mousebird, Black-headed Oriole, Cape Robin, Cape Weaver and Yellow Canary occur on the grounds. During your two-day stay at the Himeville Arms you will explore the surrounding high-altitude grasslands, alpine karoo and wetlands.

Night at Himeville Arms Hotel, Himeville

Day 15

Himeville                                                                                                                                                                                       MAP 8

Pholela wetlands

(1.) Drive northeast along the main paved road through Himeville for 8 kms. Here you will see a sign for Sani Pass. Scan the fields to the north (left) of the road for Wattled Crane (infrequent). Southern Crowned- & Blue Cranes are common. At the marsh are Black-necked Grebe, Grey & Black-headed Herons, Yellow-billed Egret, African Spoonbill, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow & African Marsh Warblers, Drakensberg Prinia (split from Spotted), Levaillant's Cisticola, Grassbird and various swallows. Malachite Kingfisher is possible. Scan the Pholela River from the bridge for African Black Duck and a reliable Half-collared Kingfisher which sits over the water near the larger trees to the south. Red-breasted Sparrowhawk and Gymnogene occur.

Sani Pass

(2.) A few of the most localized South African endemics occur on the dramatic escarpment of rocky crags and on the Afro-alpine grasslands at Sani Pass. You must switch to 4WD to reach this pass on the highest plateau in Lesotho at an altitude of 10,000 feet, negotiating a winding, rough road that twists and turns up the precipitous face of the Drakensberg. Grasslands and agriculture will give way to craggy cliffs and open alpine meadows bisected by fast flowing streams. It is not unusual to see snow on the higher peaks in October. Turn left at 8 km where the pavement ends at the sign for Sani Pass. The road is dirt and often muddy but drivable with an ordinary car as far as the first border check (25 kms). Along the way look for the endangered Southern Bald Ibis in the higher pastures along the first stretch of road as well as at the summit. Stonechat and Wailing Cisticola occur in these pastures. A reliable site for Bush Blackcaps is found just past the old buildings between km stones 14-15. While playing a tape for this secretive species an African Goshawk may pass by. Malachite Sunbird and Gurney's Sugarbird feed in the large proteas between km stones 19-22. Only 4WD vehicles are allowed beyond the first border check where you must present your passport. Ground Woodpeckers are often seen sitting on the fence here. Be aware that both border crossings are only open between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm. Late - you sleep in your vehicle! There is a rough, precipitous climb with extreme switch backs from here to the Lesotho border (8 kms). As your vehicle rattles and jerks up to the higher reaches of this breathtaking mountain pass you will see Orange-breasted Rockjumpers hopping among the boulders. Once on top the road becomes extremely smooth-surfaced gravel. One wonders why this eight-kilometer stretch of road is not better maintained in a country with such an excellent road system? At Sani Pass you must present your passport once more to Lesotho Customs. Through the border you will immediately find Africa's highest pub at 9,498' which is reported to have good meals. Cape & Sentinel Rock Thrushes, Sickle-winged & Buff-streaked Chats, Cape Bunting and the cute Sloggert's Rat cavort around the buildings while Drakensberg Siskins perch on the waist-high stone partition encircling the pub. Predictably the weather here at the rim can be severe. Freezing temperatures with wind, fog, and at least some snow or rain is normal, while occasionally it can be sunny and hot. Drive another 8 kms looking for a culvert at a sharp-bend where Grey-winged Francolin, Ground Woodpecker, Red-capped & Thick-billed Larks, Fairy Flycatcher and Drakensberg Siskin should be found. (African) Rock & Mountain Pipits are found by flushing them as you walk across the rocky meadows.

(3.) Twenty-two kilometers from the pub (only one road) there is a dramatic cliff face, the nesting site of Bearded Vultures. Check the many whitewashes, the nest is about dead center. African Black Duck frequent the river below and (African) Rock Pipit can be taped from the surrounding rocky hillsides. Lanner Falcon, Spotted Prinia, Layard's Tit-Babbler and Streaky-headed Canary occur.

The following can be chartered for tours to Sani Pass:

Sani Pass Tours, Box 12, Himeville                                       tel: (033) 702-1615; after hours tel. (033) 701-1080

Sani Pass Chalet - Touring, Box 195, Himeville                 tel: (033) 702-1069

Mokhotlong Mountain Touring, Box 12, Himeville          tel: (033) 702-1615; their office is opposite the Himeville Arms Hotel

Four-wheel bus service

The cost of the above tours is unknown, but they are most likely expensive. Four-wheel drive mini vans visit Sani Pass from Underberg on a regular basis. Contact Underberg Travel tel: (033) 701-1466 who charge R45 one-way ($7.80 US); as they can often be fully-booked, be sure to contact them well-in-advance! Another bus is operated by Sani Pass Carriers tel: (033) 701-1017. 3oth of these buses most likely will pick you up in Himeville and travel only as far as the pub. Persuade the driver to take you the extra eight kilometers where you can find Mountain and (African) Rock Pipits; from there it is an easy eight-kilometer walk back 0 the pub. Perhaps arrangements can be made to drive the 22-kilometers to see both Bearded Vulture and (African) Rock Pipit, then quickly return to kilometer eight and walk back to the pub from there. As Bearded Vulture should be seen at Giant's Castle, and (African) Rock Pipit at other sites, travelling the 22 kilometers is not really a necessity.

Night at Himeville Arms Hotel, Himeville

Day 16

Himeville to Nottingham Road

Kamberg Reserve

(4.) Today you will drive to the Natal Midlands, a captivating holiday region for South Africans, a region that has many outstanding B&B's and delightful craft shops. After some birding at the Pholela wetlands return to the Himeville Arms for breakfast then slowly make your way towards Kamberg Reserve and the Nottingham Road area. The drive from Himeville to Kamberg Reserve will take you along forty-eight kms of unpaved road and a further 10 kms of pavement (see small insert map for directions). Along the well-maintained dirt road scan for Stanley's Bustards. When you stop to admire these large birds displaying and strolling in the rolling pastures, listen for the flight song of Ayres' Cisticola cruising high overhead, a pleasing, continuous soo, see-see-see-see. Cape Vulture, Jackal & Steppe Buzzards and Lanner Falcon circle over the ridges, while Secretarybirds and Blue & Southern Crowned-Cranes dot the pastures. Stonechats sit here and there along the fenceline. As the road winds its way through the foothills of the Drakensberg, one leg climbs to higher elevation and through small patches of proteas with Gurney's Sugarbird. After driving 37.5 kms you will make a left turn. (If you continue straight-ahead (right) the road leads to Mzumba). The road here (partially paved in sections) crosses a flat grassy plain that periodically displays State Forest signs. Scan both sides of the road as this area is a reliable site for Black-winged Plovers; Hadeda Ibis, Wattled Crane, Rufous-naped Lark and Orange-throated Longclaw occur. After driving this ten-kilometer stretch, turn left at the sign for Kamberg onto pavement and drive ten kms to Kamberg Reserve "the" site for Wattled Crane. Scan the rolling farmlands carefully en route! Turn left onto the paved road at the reserve sign with the crane pictures and proceed 1/2 km to a dirt road on the right, an access road to view the marsh. South African Shelduck, African Marsh Harrier, Levaillant's Cisticola and Red-shouldered Widow are common. If the cranes are not seen, retrace your route back to the main road, turning left. Proceed north 2 kms scanning the fields. The 15-plus cranes will be found with perseverance. This lovely area of mixed farmland, forest, woodland and marshes harbours Red-breasted Sparrowhawk, Swainson's Francolin, Wailing & Lazy Cisticolas, Red-winged Starling, Greater Double-collared Sunbird and Golden-breasted Bunting.

Giant’s Castle Game Reserve

(5.) If time permits you should visit Giant's Castle Game Reserve. Below the 10.000-foot-high Drakensberg escarpment Alpine & Black Swifts soar. Views up the valley are magnificent! Continue north from Kamberg Reserve along the paved road which is signed "Giant's Castle 24 kms" (again refer to small map for directions). Short-tailed Pipit occurs on grassy slopes to the left of the road leading to the camp. This secretive bird must be flushed to be seen. Swee Waxbill feed on the camp's lawn. Proteas in the vicinity harbour sunbirds and Gurney's Sugarbird. Set on the edge of a cliff near the camp is a comfortable stone building with one way glass windows - the "Vulture Hide" (bookings required at camp). Scattered offal and bones in early morning attract Lanner Falcon, Jackal Buzzard, Black Eagle, Cape Vulture, Black Crow, White-necked Raven, and the occasional Bearded Vulture. Buff-streaked Chat occur on the grassy slopes just above the camp along the trail that leads to the summit, while a hike to higher elevations will reveal Sentinel Rock Thrush, Sickle-winged Chat and (African) Rock Pipit in rocky habitat. Beyond the camp gate along the river path are Red-winged & Red-necked Francolins, Grassbird and Drakensberg Prinia in the long grasses.

(6.) From Giant's Castle retrace your route back through Kamberg Reserve to the corner signed "to Nottingham Road". Turn left and proceed 17 kms to the town of Nottingham Road. Once there, turn right onto paved Old Main Road (highway 103). If you wish to stay at the luxurious Rawdons Hotel it is situated on the right in two kilometers. If you did not visit Giant's Castle you should arrive at this fabulous accommodation at noon. A large trout pond along their entrance drive often has White-faced Luck, while Red-necked Francolin and Indian Myna occur on the property. The architecture of the hotel is that of all English-style country inn with thatched roofs and lead-paned windows. The twenty rooms in both the main house and the cottages are very popular which ensures that they are booked well-ahead, especially on weekends. After checking into your rooms pause for lunch and sample their excellent cuisine at the patio cafe before visiting the nearby mist forest patches. To reach the less-expensive Mulberry Hill Guest House proceed along highway 103 past Rawdons. Ten kms from Nottingham Road, turn left onto a dirt road. This road passes through a small but excellent patch of forest after 4-5 kms. Only a tiny portion of South Africa is covered by forest with these remnant patches of lowland and montane mist forests remaining here in KwaZulu Natal. The tall stinkwood and yellow-woods are a reliable site for both Blue-mantled Flycatcher and Chorister Robin. After driving 8 kms along the dirt road there is a junction with highway 3. Proceed over the overpass and after 1/2 km pavement resumes. Keep right to Curry's Post and continue an additional 4 kms (23 kms from Nottingham Road) to the signed entrance to the Mulberry Hill on your right. This delightful country guest house has excellent home-cooked meals, spacious rooms (the rooms without fireplaces are cool at night without heaters) and a beautiful garden that has nesting Cape & Spotted-backed Weavers, Red- throated Wryneck, Black-headed Oriole, Black Sunbird and Bronze Mannikin. Even Groundscraper Thrush has been seen on the lawns at dawn. Another forest patch can be found by retracing your route back to Curry's Post, turning left at the first dirt road after 2 or 3 kms. Park on the shoulder after driving an additional 1 km. A track leads east, or bird along the road itself. A visit to this cool, damp forest should produce Black & Little Sparrowhawks, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Rameron Pigeon, Knysna Lourie, Klaas's & Red-chested Cuckoos, Black Swift, Speckled Mousebird, Narina Trogon, Crowned Hornbill, Black-collared Barbet, Golden-rumped & Red-fronted Tinker Barbets, Olive Woodpecker, Black Saw-wing Swallow, Square-tailed Drongo, Southern Black Tit, Bush Blackcap, Terrestrial Bulbul, Cape Robin, Yellow-throated Warbler, Barratt's Warbler, Green-backed Bleating Warbler, Bar-throated & Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Dusky & (African) Paradise Flycatchers, Cape Batis, Southern Boubou, Puffback, Black-bellied Starling, Malachite, Olive, Collared & Lesser Double-collared Sunbirds, Swee Waxbill, and Yellow-eyed, Forest & Cape Canarys. The shy Olive Bush-Shrike is common here and responds to tapes. Chorister Robin and Blue-mantled Flycatcher occur. Tape for the robin at the shaded, right-angled bend in the road. Many of these species also can be found at the first patch

Night at Rawdons Hotel, Nottingham Road or the Mulberry Hill Guest House, Curry's Post

Day 17

Nottingham Road - Curry's Post to Saint Lucia

Curry's Post to Mtunzini

Bird the mist forest at dawn before leaving the cool uplands for the warm and humid Zululand coast. After breakfast at Rawdons or Mulberry Hill you will drive 330-kilometers northeast to the coastal town of Saint Lucia for a two-night stay. A direct drive would only take four hours, but you should stop en route to visit the Raffia Palm Monument and Richard's Bay. From the Mulberry Hill Guest House return through Curry's Post to the highway 3 overpass (Exit 125), cross over and turn right onto the southbound lanes. From Rawdons turn left one-km, then turn right along pavement for 8 kms to the highway 3 entrance. Turn left onto the lanes for Pietermaritzburg. The drive through Pietermaritzburg to Durban is 105 kms. Once in Durban exit left from highway 3 onto highway 2 north, a simple manoeuvre.

Eshowe - Dhlinza and Entumeni Forests

(A) For this supplementary site, exit highway 2 onto highway 66 and drive north to Eshowe (26 kms). Although not on the birding circuit these forests harbour Delegorgue's Pigeon, Yellow-streaked Bulbul and Spotted Ground Thrush. The Dhlinza Forest Nature Reserve (open 7:30 am to 5 pm) is situated at the end of Kangelia Street on the western outskirts of Eshowe.

Ngoye Forest

(B) The Ngoye Forest lies northwest of Empangeni for the adventurous seeking Green Barbet. From Empangeni drive north and west along highway 34. exiting left onto a paved road after 13 kms. Pavement ends after 6-8 kms and the unpaved road becomes a rough 4WD road near the forest (16 kms from highway 34). The Green Barbet is only found in the Ngoye Forest in South Africa (where it is common), but is not endemic, found farther north in Africa. The forest also harbours Delegorgue's Pigeon, Yellow-streaked Bulbul and Spotted Ground Thrush. Refer to African birding guides for precise directions

Mtunzini - Raffia Palm Monument

(7.) One-hundred and fourteen kms north of Durban, exit left off highway 2, then right over the overpass to Mtunzini. Turn right at the first residential street and scan the palms for Palmnut Vulture. Return to the main road into Mtunzini and proceed about one-km to the sharp curve to the left. Turn right here and wind through the village following the signs for the reserve. En route to a railway (1/2 km from the main road) you will make a right and left. Follow the dirt road left following the tracks past the railway station. Turn right again at the sign for the reserve to the parking lot (about 1 km from the main road). A short wooden boardwalk passes through a shady grove of palms where the Palmnut Vulture is found with perseverance. Great Egret, Woolly-necked Stork, African Fish Eagle, Black & Palm Swifts, White-eared Barbet, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Scaly-throated & Lesser Honeyguides. Blue-grey & Wattle-eyed Flycatchers and Forest Weaver occur. To scan the palms further, exit from the parking lot to the left and follow the dirt road back to the main road. Turn left onto pavement and follow the road around two bends back to highway 2, cross the overpass and right onto the northbound lanes.

Richard's Bay

(8.) From Mtunzini continue north along highway 2 for 36 kms and exit left at Empangeni. Turn right over the overpass and follow highway 34 (keeping left at the traffic lights after 5 kms) to the bustling commercial center of Richard's Bay. Bypass the first set of traffic lights with the confusing signs pointing in both directions to Richard's Bay and continue on highway 34 to the second set (about 15 kms from highway 2). The road to the left leads back to highway 2 via Arboretum which you will take after birding the area. Proceed a further 2-3 kms along highway 34 to the next set of lights. passing a huge log chip factory on your right. Turn right at the traffic lights onto Medway Street and proceed about 1.5 km until you see a large prison-like fence on the right at a sign for Richard's Bay Dockport. Turn right along the dirt road that follows the fence where you will soon see a large marsh on your right at the back of the log chip factory you passed earlier. Drive about 1 km to an access road down to the marsh edge. Black-necked Grebe. (African) Darter, Purple & Squacco Herons, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, White-faced & White-backed Ducks, Hottentot Teal, (African) Pygmy Goose, African Fish Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Purple Gallinule. Common Moorhen, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt, Grey-headed Gull, White-winged & Whiskered Terns, African & Lesser Jacanas, African Marsh Warbler, Yellow-throated Longclaw and Thick-billed & Southern Brown- throated Weavers occur. Tape near the dilapidated bird hide for Black-backed & Fan-tailed Cisticolas. From Richard's Bay it is a 13-km drive back to highway 2 and a further 37 kms to Mtubatuba. Proceed along highway 34, turning right through Arboretum to highway 2. Cross over the overpass and turn right onto the highway. Exit left at Mtubatuba and then right over the overpass onto highway 618. Proceed 25 kms following the signs to Saint Lucia. Check the telephone poles en route for Southern Banded Snake- & Long-crested Eagles.

(9.) There is a small lake to the east of highway 2 where reliable (African) Pygmy Geese and Lesser Jacanas are found. Turn around at Mtubatuba onto the southbound lanes of highway 2 and pull over when the lake comes into view (about 2 kms). Scan the lake from the road.

(10.) Just before crossing over the Saint Lucia River and into town there is a large expanse of reedbeds where Yellow & Southern Brown-throated Weavers are found. Red-breasted Swallows are often in the area. After crossing the bridge there is a guarded gate to pass through before entering town, a precaution against undesirables. Turn left onto McKenzie Street, then immediately right onto Beach Road. Continue two blocks turning right onto Kingfisher, then left to number seven Sandpiper Street. You should arrive at the cozy Lalapanzi Lodge at dusk. Although there are numerous accommodations to choose from in the tourist town of Saint Lucia, this Satour approved B&B is ideal with a forested park adjoining the property. Golden-rumped Tinker Barbet and Yellow Weavers frequent the garden where set breakfasts are served. 

Night at Lalapanzi Lodge, Saint Lucia


Day 18

Saint Lucia

(10.) Where Lake Saint Lucia enters the Indian Ocean there are dense coastal forests and estuaries and lakes that hold large numbers of waterbirds. The impenetrable, liana-choked dune forest in Saint Lucia's town park is home to 400 bird species (many shared with Mukuzi ). The town park is reached from the Lalapanzi Lodge by turning left from Beach Street onto Mc Kenzie Street and driving three blocks. [En route you will pass many excellent restaurants for your afternoon and evening meals].Turn left at the park sign and right onto Pelican Street into the park. Along the trails are Buff-spotted Flufftail, African Green Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, Livingstone's Lourie, Diederik & Klaas's Cuckoos, Green & Burchell's Coucals, Wood Owl, Palm Swift, Narina Trogon, Speckled Mousebird, Trumpeter & Crowned Hornbills, White-eared Barbet, Golden-rumped Tinker Barbet, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Lesser Striped & Black Saw-wing Swallows, Square-tailed Drongo, Southern Black Tit, Terrestrial, Sombre & Yellow-bellied Bulbuls, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Natal & Brown Robins, Yellow-throated & Willow Warblers, Green-backed Bleating Warbler, Rudd's & Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tawny-flanked Prinia, (African) Paradise, Blue-gray, Fan-tailed, Blue-mantled, Southern Black & Wattle eyed Flycatchers, Yellow White-eye, Woodward's Batis, Black-crowned Tchagra, Olive, Gorgeous & Orange-breasted Bush­Shrikes, Puffback, Black-bellied Starling, Indian Myna, Grey, Purple-banded, Olive, Scarlet-chested & Collared Sunbirds, Thick-billed, Forest & Spectacled Weavers, Common Waxbill, Bronze & Red-backed Mannikins and Yellow-eyed Canary. Secretive Green Twinspots and Grey Waxbills occur along forest edges. Sugarloaf Jetty lies within the park where the inlet meets the sea. Small numbers of Pink-backed Pelicans may be seen as well as Caspian & Swift Terns, Grey-headed Gull, Pied Kingfisher and African Pied Wagtail. The small stand of reeds here attracts Yellow, Spotted-backed, and occasionally Golden Weavers. Brown-hooded Kingfisher can be found along the forest edge here.

The Natal Parks Board offers two-hour cruises tip the narrows to the lake three times a day in a 80-passenger boat. Eastern White & Pink-backed Pelicans (False Bay has a breeding colony), Goliath & Purple Herons, Yellow-billed Stork, Greater Flamingo, African Spoonbill, White-backed Duck, (African) Pygmy Goose, African Fish Eagle, Lesser Jacana (among lily pads), Red-winged Pratincole, Pied Avocet, White-winged Tern and Giant & Malachite Kingfishers should be encountered. If very fortunate you could see Saddle-billed Stork and the elusive African Finfoot along the inland waterways. Ask the proprietors of the Lalapanzi where you can get tickets.

 Cape Vidal

(11.) From Beach Street turn right onto paved Mc Kenzie and drive 2 kms north to the Crocodile Centre and park gate. Several ~walking trails begin here. Just before reaching the centre a short road branches off on the right to a campground. On the left just before the guarded gate is a foot trail which leads out across a grassy field to the grass Air strip. Natal Nightjars frequent this area; play a tape here in the twilight hours - but beware of hippos and scan with your spotlight often! Pay the nominal fee at the gate where the road to Cape Vidal becomes well-maintained dirt. Stop after a few meters and check the grass Airport strip for Wattled Plover and possibly a courser. Five to seven kms from the gate the open grasslands have been planted with evergreen trees. About 0.7 kms before reaching the plantation a foot trail leads left into the grasslands where Fiery-necked Nightjars and an occasional Natal Nightjar will be found at dusk before the gates close. It is in this area that a reliable Brown Snake-Eagle holds territory. Woolly-necked and an occasional Yellow-billed Stork fly overhead. Along the 35 kms of road to Cape Vidal are a few depressions that hold small vegetated ponds. These damp grassy areas harbour (African) Darter, Squacco Heron, Great, Yellow-billed & Little Egrets, African Spoonbill, White-faced & White-backed Ducks, African Jacana, Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Black

Crake, Burchell's Coucal, Brown-throated Martin and Yellow-throated Longclaw. Lucky birders may tape out the rare Pink-throated Longclaw. Black-bellied Korhaan occur. Beware of hippos! Rattling Cisticola are common, sitting on the overhead wires, while stops will produce the less common Croaking Cisticola (the heavy, black bill is the best I.D. feature). Reedbeds en route harbour Fan-tailed, Levaillant's & Black-backed Cisticolas. Once at Cape Vidal stop to eat your packed lunch. The heat of midday will ensure that the birdlife in the forest is inactive. Check the beach for Lesser Crested Tern and shorebirds. Check for nightjars just before the gates close. A visit to the park after supper could produce Wood Owl.

Night at Lalapanzi Lodge, Saint Lucia

 Day 19

Saint Lucia to Mkuze


(13.) After a pre-dawn nightjar excursion and a mornings walk in the park's forest, begin your drive north to Mkuze for a two nights stay. From Saint Lucia return along highway 618, turning northbound onto highway 2. Exit the highway after driving 50 kms and turn right (east) towards the town of Hluhluwe (1/2 km). Turn right onto the dirt road running north / south through town. The roadside weeds between 2-5 kms from town will hold Lemon-breasted Canary if there are seeds, but many Yellow-eyed Canarys will be seen first. Woolly-necked Stork, White-backed Vulture, Martial Eagle and Red-billed Firefinch occur. Return to highway 2 northbound

(14.) From Hluhluwe drive north 48 kms along highway 2, exiting left to the town of Mkuze. At the 1-stop gas station turn right over the overpass, then left on the paved road signed to the Ghost Mountain Inn. This luxurious hotel is on the right 1.5 kms from the junction. This will soon become your favourite accommodation in South Africa. Lesser Masked Weavers and Yellow-eyed Canarys perch overhead as you consume your luncheon on the patio. Overhead are Wire-tailed Swallows, while in the beautiful garden are Striped Kingfisher, White-fronted Bee-eater, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Heuglin's Robin and Cape, Southern Masked & Spotted-backed Weavers. A tower overlooks a large reeded lake where Red-faced Cisticola breed. With 400 species recorded in Mkuze Game Park - stay a few days! You should arrive too early to check into your rooms so drive directly Mkuze Game Reserve until noon, returning for lunch during the heat of midday. Return to the park mid-afternoon, all day on the 20th and again on the morning of Day 21.

Night at Ghost Mountain Inn,Mkuze Town

 Day 20

Mkuze Game Reserve                                                                                MAP 9

 (15.) Mid-morning you drive to the bird-rich bushveld of Mkuzi Game Reserve, considered the best birding site in South Africa. With an avifaunal list of 400 species, this microcosm of real Africa protects an amazingly wide range of habitats within a comparatively small area. Along the park's excellent roads you can bird grasslands with scattered trees, palm savanna, specialized sand forest, seasonal pans, marshes, papyrus swamps and lily-covered lakes. Mkuze is a procreation of how most people visualize Africa. The unforgettable landscape is strewn with rhinoceros, giraffe and herds of Impala strolling freely through lovely acacia woodlands. From the Ghost Mountain Inn, turn left to the Mkuze town/highway 2 junction. Keep left where pavement soon ends. After driving 10 kms along the somewhat rough road, turn left at the signed corner to the park (6 kms). The rocky hillsides covered in stands of flowering aloes as you approach the park harbour Mocking Chat.

Pay the nominal fee at the entrance gate which is open from sunrise to sunset. Wood Owl, African White-throated Robin, Willow Warbler, Brubru and Jameson's Firefinch frequent the campsite here. There is gas for sale. Just before the gates close, watch for the eyes and listen for the calls of Fiery-necked & Mozambique Nightjars between the gate and the main camp, the Mozambique especially in the first 4 kms of road near the gate. Night drives by the parks people may produce these nightjars and Bronze-winged Courser. Ask at the camp office. Visitors may only leave the protection of their vehicles in the precinct of the rest camp, at the five game viewing hides, and the self-guided 3 km- long Fig forest walk, but there are 100 kms of well-maintained dirt roads to drive and the sparse vegetation in the reserve (except in the sand forest) makes viewing easy. It is possible to exit your vehicle and stay nearby. Picnic sites are available at Nsumo Pan, Nxwala game viewing hide, and next to the reception area in the main camp.

After driving 10 kms from the entrance gate you will reach the main camp (Mantuma Camp). At the camp office/shop there are basic food supplies, soft drinks, checklists of the park's birds, books etc. Birding here is excellent with Greater Scimitarbill, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Fan-tailed & Southern Black Flycatchers, Chinspot Batis, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Puffback, Yellow-throated Sparrow and Blue Waxbill. An early morning walk around the camp will find Eastern Bearded Robin, Purple-banded & Marico Sunbirds, and the difficult-to-observe Yellow-spotted Nicator. The main goal, however, is reaching the Tongaland Sand Forest as early as possible. Using the excellent map supplied at the gate arid following the signed roads from Mantuma Camp, turn right, then left after 1/2 km towards Kubube hide 3 km away. Park beside the washroom (flushing toilets) and walk 10 meters into the thick bush behind it. Play a tape for the elusive African Broadbill (Yellow-spotted Nicator and Eastern Bearded Robin occur here as well as ticks!). If unsuccessful, retrace your route back to Mantuma Camp turning right at the camp towards the Air strip. Drive 2.8 kms and tape again for the broadbill in this section of sand forest. Watch for the white flash as the broadbill leaps off its perch with each frog-like call.

Returning to Kubube hide search the area for the endemic Neergaard's Sunbird; Purple-banded & White-bellied Sunbirds also occur. Proceed a short distance to the Kumasinga hide which is still centered in sand forest. Playing a tape even in daylight at the parking lot will start the resident Barred Owl calling. Walk to the hide and with patience you will see the comical Crested Guineafowl, Red-eyed & Green-spotted Doves, Purple-crested Lourie and Kurrichane Thrush, among others, come to drink. The tall reeds at the rear of the hide contain nesting Thick-billed & Lesser Masked Weavers. Red-chested, Black, Diederik & Klaas's Cuckoos, Cardinal Woodpecker and Pink-throated Twinspot occur here.

Follow the signs 13.2 kms to Nsumo Pan. This large lake supports hippos and Nile Crocodiles as well as numerous waterbirds. From the viewing tower look for Goliath & Squacco Herons, Yellow-billed Egret. the occasional Black Egret, Yellow-billed & Open-billed Storks, African Spoonbill and Hamerkop which often feed below the platform. Others here include Spur-winged Goose, (African) Pygmy Goose, White-faced Duck, African Fish Eagle, Black-winged Stilt and Whiskered Tern. Water Dikkop rest on the muddy banks. In the scrub around the upper picnic area are Crested Francolin, Red-billed Woodhoopoe, White-browed Robin, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike and Pink-throated Twinspot. The Fig forest walk leads from the lakeside picnic area. This self-guided trail leads through a high canopy, riverine fig forest. Pel's Fishing-Owl is the main attraction, with African Green Pigeon, Green Coucal, Trumpeter Hornbill and White-eared Barbet.

A drive around the "Loop Road" through the savanna (open grassland with scattered thorn trees) should reveal White-backed, Lappet-faced & White-headed Vultures, and Wahlberg's, Lesser Spotted, Tawny & Martial Eagles, Bateleur, Steppe Buzzard and African Goshawk overhead, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Lizard Buzzard, Cuckoo Hawk, Black-bellied Korhaan, Brown-headed Parrot, Grey Lourie, Flappet Lark, Familiar Chat and Bushveld Pipit. Bushveld, a thick woodland of mixed broad-leafed and thorn trees covers much of the park where Brown Snake-Eagle, Purple-crested Lorie, Striped Kingfisher, Red-fronted Tinker Barbet, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Grey Penduline Tit, Three-streaked & Black-crowned Tchagras, Gorgeous & Grey-headed Bush-Shrikes and White Helmetshrike are found.


Kurrichane & Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Cuckoo, Burchell's Coucal, Black, White-rumped & Palm Swifts, Red-faced Mousebird, Brown-hooded & Pygmy Kingfishers, European, White-fronted & Little Bee-eaters, Lilac-breasted Roller, (African) Hoopoe, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Black-collared & Crested Barbets, Greater & Lesser Honeyguides, Bearded Woodpecker, Red-breasted, Lesser Striped & Black Saw-wing Swallows, Black & Grey Cuckoo-Shrikes, Fork-tailed Drongo, Southern Black Tit, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Heuglin's Robin, Stierling's Barred Warbler, Green-backed Bleating Warbler, Long-billed Crombec, Rattling Cisticola, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Mouse-coloured & Blue-grey Flycatchers, African Pied Wagtail, Glossy & Plum-coloured Starlings, Indian Myna, Red-billed Oxpecker, Grey, Olive & Collared Sunbirds, Spectacled & Yellow Weavers, White-winged Widow, Pin-tailed Whydah, Bronze Mannikin, Common Waxbill, Melba Finch and Golden-breasted Bunting will also be seen. 

Night at Ghost Mountain Inn, Mkuze Town

Day 21

Mkuze to Volksrust

(16.) Sadly you must leave the comforts of the Ghost Mountain Inn after a final morning of birding at Mkuze Game Park and drive up mice again into the chilly upland highveld. Driving north and west you climb up through farmlands and into the now-threatened high grasslands of the eastern Transvaal. Several uncommon and sought-after endemics are found on the rolling pasturelands or in the marshes north of the town of Wakkerstroom. Here you will bird rocky ridges, pristine grasslands, small lakes, marshy meadows and brushy gullies. From Mkuze drive northbound on highway 2 towards Piet Retief 167 kms away. En route check agricultural fields with weedy patches near Pongola for Orange-breasted Waxbill and Quail Finch. Others you might see especially around small reedy ponds are Grey-rumped Swallow, Red-billed Quelea, Red & Golden Bishops. Red-shouldered & White-winged Widows and Pin-tailed Whydah. From Piet Retief take paved highway 543 to Wakkerstroom and hence to Volksrust (112 kms) (279 from Mkuze). Ponds en route could produce Black Stork. At Volksrust highway 543 meets Laingsnek Street (highways 11 & 543) at a T" junction. Turn left and proceed to the town center. Turn right at the signs for highways 543 & 23 onto Joubert Street. Proceed through town passing the junction for highway 23 on your right. This is the road you will eventually take to Johannesburg. Proceed along highway 543 for 4 kms from the town center, turning right at the sign for the motel-like Stucky's Guesthouse. Black-shouldered Kite, Black Sparrowhawk, Wattled & Crowned Plovers, Spotted Dikkop, Swainson's Francolin, Red-throated Wryneck, Black Crow, Familiar Chat, Cape Robin, Indian Myna, Wattled Starling, Grey-headed Sparrow, Southern Masked Weaver and Common Waxbill occur on the property. Arriving at Stucky's mid-afternoon, check in~ your rooms, then quickly return to Wakkerstroom for a mid-afternoon of birding. Visit the marsh at dusk to observe the owls before returning for supper at Stucky's excellent restaurant. All of Day 22 will be spent around Wakkerstroom.

Night at Stucky's Guesthouse, Volksrust

Day 22


(17.) Retrace your route eastwards along highway 543 to Wakkerstroom (26 kms). Pass through the small town, turning left onto the paved road at the sign for Amersfoort and "Wetland Reserve" at its eastern perimeter. [For those interested in staying at the Weaver's Nest B & B it is on the right a further 1 km east along highway 5431. Drive for 2 kms and stop on the roadside and scope the marsh with (African) Darter, Purple & Grey Herons, Little & Yellow-billed Egrets, African Spoonbill, Hamerkop. White-faced & Fulvous Ducks, possibly Maccoa Duck, Hottentot & Red-billed Teals, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, African Rail, Three-banded Plover, Curlew, Wood & Marsh Sandpipers, Ruff, Ethiopian Snipe, Common Greenshank, South African Cliff & White-throated Swallows, African Sedge Warbler and Fan-tailed & Levaillant's Cisticolas. Proceed up the road a half-km turning left onto a paved road signed "Wakkerstroom Station" at the marshes edge. After driving another half-km turn left onto the dirt road and park. At twilight scan over the grassy wetland when reliable Marsh Owls and an occasional Grass Owl will appear. Those most fortunate could possibly see a White-winged or Red-chested Flufftail. Playing a tape may reveal one of the tiny, ultra-secretive rails. From the marsh the road to Amersfoort becomes well-maintained gravel (as with all of the birding routes in this area). All roads have kilometer stones, the Amersfoort Road starting at km 50 at highway 543. At the 43.5 km post (i.e. 6.5 kms from highway 543) a road branches left. Check the rolling short-grass pastures 2-4 kms along this road for both Rudd's & Botha's Larks. Return to the Amersfoort Road and resume your northward journey watching for Steppe Buzzard and Lanner Falcon en route.

(18.) At the km 40 post the rolling, rough pastures on the left with the short grasses are excellent for Rudd's Lark. At km 37 the wet depression harbours Pale-crowned Cisticola (use a tape). Southern Bald Ibis, Blue Korhaan, Secretarybird and Rufous-naped Lark occur. At 31-32 a road branches left signed to Volksrust.

(19.) Proceed along the Amersfoort Road to the km 17 post. [A road branches right around the 27 km post. After travelling along this road for ten kilometers, turn right for an additional nine kilometers onto the wind-swept ridge above 4,500 ft. Yellow-breasted Pipit occur on the pastures. It is possible that rock-strewn ridges in this area harbour (African) Rock Pipit. The ridges of the pastures on the left at km 17 are slightly stoney, ideal for both Botha's & Pink-billed Larks, but the Pink-billed is more common. Banded Martin skim low over the fields. Make a "U" turn and return back to the km 31-32 post, turning right at the sign to Volksrust. A km 30 post begins this road which leads to highway 543 in thirty kilometers. At this corner there is a grassy slope that harbours Red-winged Francolin.

(20.) Stop just beyond the railway crossing and the 18 km post. The slightly stony rolling pastures on the left are excellent for Botha's Lark. At the 17 km post there is a junction, the right-hand road signed to Vlakpoort and our road signed for Volksrust. From here you can continue through to highway 543, a further 13 kms. Once at highway 543, turn right into Volkrust (2.4 kms). An alternative is to drive to the 12 km post and turn left onto the road which rejoins the Amersfoort Road at the km 43.5 post -hence completing a circular route back to Wakkerstroom. The distance from the 12 km post to Amersfoort Road is 14 kms. Other birds seen along this circular route include Spike-heeled & Red-capped Larks, Southern Anteating Chat, Stonechat, Grassveld Pipit, Orange-throated Longclaw, Red-shouldered & Long-tailed Widows, Quail Finch and Streaky-headed Canary The more rank grasslands anywhere along the loop may hold the erratic and nomadic Melodious Lark. The highest ridges harbour Long-billed Lark, Mountain Chat, Cloud & Ayres' Cisticolas and Yellow-breasted Pipit.

(21.) From Wakkerstroom drive towards Volkrust along highway 543. On the western edge of town, turn left at the sign "Wakkerstroom Farm Lodge". Keep right after 1 km onto the gravel road. Check the grasslands anywhere along this road with longer dry grass for Red-winged Francolin, while Swainson's Francolin will be seen in plowed agricultural land. After driving 6-7 kms there is a junction. Turn right to continue to Volksrust. You will keep left, continuing straight-ahead for 2 kms towards the Zaaihoek Dam. Stop at the bridge over the river. The rocky slope here harbours Ground Woodpecker, Buff-streaked Chat, Malachite Sunbird, Cape Canary and Cape Bunting. African Black Duck frequents the river. Return to the junction turning left towards Volksrust birding en route. After driving about 20 kms you will join the road which leads to Vtrecht (if you are coming from Volksrust this corner is signed "Zaaihoek Dam"). Turn right and drive 3-4 kms to highway 543. [if you are coming from Volksrust this corner is signed for "Vtrecht"). Turn left for Volksrust which is 6 kms away.

Night at Stucky's Guesthouse, Volksrust

Day 23

Volksrust to Johannesburg International Airport

After some final birding in the Volksrust area you will drive to Johannesburg to connect with the overnight flight to London. Leave after lunch as this drive should only take 2 1/2 hours and the plane does not leave until 10 pm.. Follow highway 23 northwest (see Volksrust) through Standerton to the junction with highway 3 at Heidelberg (175 kms). Follow signs north along highway 3 to Johannesburg (35 kms). Then follow signs to airport along highways 17, 12 and 24 (20 kms) (230 kms from Volksrust).

Night onboard South African Airways flight

Day 24

After a brief layover in London, change planes in London and continue to your country of origin. After the eleven-hour flight to London you might consider staying overnight at the Ibis Heathrow and continue your flight home the next day.

Day onboard homebound flight or night at the Jbis Heathrow

Day 25

Alternative day onboard homebound flight.

 A  D  D  E  N  D  U  M


 Taxonomic Notes on South African Species



 Shy Albatross Diomedea cauta

Grey-headed or Salvin's Albatross D. salvini occurs and is occasionally considered a separate species.

 Yellow-nosed Albatross Diomedea chlororhynchos

Two forms occur the white-beaded D.c. bassi and grey-headed D.c. chlororhynchos.

 White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

The form of Great Cormorant in South Africa is occasionally split off as P. lucidus.

 Steppe Buzzard Buteo buteo vulpinus

This distinctive race of Buzzard or Common Buzzard is possibly a good species.

 Black-rumped Buttonquail Turnix hottentotta

Occasionally split off as T. nana using the same common name. T. hottentotta is then renamed Hottentot Buttonquail.

 Short-toed Rock Thrush Monticola brevipes

The South African form is occasionally split off as a separate species: Transvaal Rock Thrush M. pretoriae.

 Pale-crowned Cisticola Cisticola brunnescens

The South African form is occasionally split off as a separate species C. cinnamomeus using the name Pale-crowned Cisticola. C. brunnescens is then renamed Pectoral-patch Cisticola.

 Fiscal Shrike Lanius collaris

The southwestern form with the white supercilIary may be a separate species Latakoo Fiscal Shrike L. subcoronatus.

 Black-headed Canary Serinus alario

The white-headed and black-headed races could be looked at in the future as separate species


 Dabchick Tachybaptus ruficollis

Known in Eurasia as Little Grebe.

 Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis

Known in North America as Eared Grebe.

 Yellow-billed Egret Egretta intermedia

Usually known as Intermediate Egret.

 Great White Egret Egretta Alba

Usually known as Great Egret.

 Bearded Vulture Gypactus barbatus

Usually known as Lammergeier.

 Black Eagle Aquila verreauxii

Usually known as Verreaux's Eagle.

 Rock Kestrel

Known as Rock Kestrel in Africa

 Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio

Usually known as Purple Swamphen.

              TAXONOMIC NOTES

African Rail Rallus caerulescens

Usually known as African Water Rail or Kaffir Rail.

Red-winged Pratincole Glareola pratincola

Usually known as Collared Pratincole.

Swift Tern Sterna berg ii

Usually known as Crested Tern.

European Swallow Hirundo rustica

Usually known as Swallow in Europe or Barn Swallow in North America.

Fan-tailed Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

Also known as Zitting Cisticola.

Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis

Also known as Common Myna.



Black Swift Apus barbatus

Not the same as the North American species Cypseloides niger.

Thick-billed Lark Galerida magnirostris

Not the same as the North African species Rhamphocoris clothey.

(African) Rock Pipit Anthus crenatus

Not the same as the Palearctic species A. petrosus.

Southern Anteating Chat Myrmecocichla formicivora

Occasionally called Anteating Chat but there is a Northern Anteating Chat M. aethiops.

Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra australis

Usually known as Brown-headed Tchagra. Not the same as the East African species T. jamesi.

Yellow-throated Sparrow  Petronia superciliaris

Not the same as the Palearctic species P. xanthocollis.



African Darter Anhinga rufa

Occasionally lumped with Oriental Darter A. melanogaster using the name Darter for the enlarged species.

Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans

The resident form is occasionally split off as Yellow-billed Kite but most authorities consider the species one with Black Kite.

The name M. aegyptius and incorrect name M. parasitus are applied to the Yellow-billed form.

Black-breasted Snake-Eagle Circaetus pectoralis

Occasionally lumped with Short-toed Eagle C. gallicus.

Pale Chanting-Goshawk Melierax canorus

Eastern Chanting-Goshawk M. poliopterus of East Africa is occasionally lumped with this South African species.

 Knysna Lourie Tauraco corythaix

Occasionally lumped with Green Lourie T. persa

 Livingstone's Lourie  Tauraco livingstonii

This species (also known as T. reichenowi) is occasionally lumped with Knysna Lourie T. corythaix and Green Lourie T. persa.

 Burchell's Coucal Centropus burchelli

Occasionally lumped with White-browed Coucal C. superciliosus using the name Burchell's Coucal for the enlarged species.

 African Scops-OwI Otus senegalensis

Occasionally lumped with European Scops-OwI 0. scops using the name Common Scops-OwI for the enlarged species.

African Hoopoe Upupa africana

Occasionally lumped with Eurasian Hoopoe U. epopss using the name Hoopoe for the enlarged species.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill  Tockus leucomelas

Occasionally lumped with the northern form, Yellow-billed Hornbill T. flavirostris.

Black Saw-wing Swallow  Psalidoprocne holomelas

Occasionally lumped with Blue Saw-wing Swallow P. pristoptera using the name Black Saw-wing Swallow for the enlarged species.

Southern Grey Tit Parus afer

The Grey Tit (also known as Somali Tit, P. thruppi) of East Africa is occasionally lumped with this species.

Drakensberg Prinia Prinia hypoxantha

Occasionally lumped with Spotted Prinia P. maculosa.

Grassveld Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus

Occasionally lumped with Australasian Pipit A. novaeseelandiae using the name Richard's Pipit for the enlarged species.

 Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus

Occasionally lumped with Grey-headed Sparrow P. griseus.



Southern Crowned- Crane Balearica regulorum

Crowned Crane split into two species: Northern Crowned-Crane B. pavonina.

Northern Black Korhaan Eupodotis afraoides

Black Korhaan split into two species: Southern Black Korhaan E. afra.



 Long-tailed Pipit Anthus longicaudatus

Known only from the Kimberley region in the austral winter.

 Barlow's Lark Certhilauda spp.

Details unknown: Possibly split from the Namaqualand race of Karoo Lark Certhilauda albescens, occurring around Port Nolloth.


Notes on Identification Features of Difficult Species

 Bank Cormorant

The illustration in "Birds of Southern Africa" is not as accurate as that in Harrison's "Seabirds of the World". This dull brownish-black cormorant can be separated from the abundant dark-breasted immature Cape Cormorants in having an angular head shape and heavy bill similar to North American's Brandt's Cormorant P. penicillatus. Cape Cormorants have a rounded head and more needle­like bill.

 Crowned Cormorant

This cormorant is small and dumpy with a short tail. A "cute" cormorant showing a small frontal crest. The face can appear more orange on some individuals than illustrated in "Birds of Southern Africa".

 Karoo Lark

The south-west Cape race is illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa" with the bill shape and thickness correct. The fully-streaked breast, grayish coloration, white supercilium and throat and breast ground-colour are good identification features.

Barlow's Lark has recently been split, possibly from the Namaqualand race of this species.

Red Lark

The dune form is illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa" with the bill shape, thickness and coloration correct. The densely-streaked breast, virtually unmarred reddish coloration and white supercilium, throat and lower breast are good identification features. Its dune habitat and distinctive song are further clues in separating this large lark from the karoo form of Karoo Lark.


 Long-billed Lark

The north-eastern form is illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa" with the bill shape and thickness and curvature correct. A very large lark with the jizz of a North American Toxostoma thrasher (long decurved bill, stop-and-go actions and upright stance). This form has a rusty mantle and slight streaking on the upper breast.

Thick-billed Lark

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa" with the bill thickness correct. There is a slight curvature to the bill with an obvious pink-base to the lower mandible, this being one of the better features to use in identifying this species.

Sobota Lark

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa", however, the bill is larger than illustrated in the small-billed form. The first impression that the small-billed form gives is that of a North American sparrow with a hi-coloured bill (the lower mandible being paler). The very broad black streakings to the mantle create a dark-backed appearance. The crown is also heavily-streaked which gives a capped look which is further enhanced by a white supercilium that runs around the nape. The white throat contrasts sharply with this dark streaking and the warm, dark ochre wash on the breast. In the large-billed form the bill is "box" shaped, appearing very broad and long.

Fawn-coloured Lark

Illustrated fairly well in "Birds of Southern Africa", but the bill is thicker, appearing somewhat heavy and pale. This lark is quite variable but the rufous-coloured primaries are an excellent field-mark on resting birds. This a very pale "fawn" lark with a slightly-streaked, almost immaculate white breast. This species occasionally has a pale rusty-fawn cap which is not as distinctive as that on Red-capped Lark.

Rufous-naped Lark

The eastern form is illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa", however, I never had the opportunity to study it well enough to comment on the bill shape. This lark is unmistakable with its bushy crest. A large rusty-coloured lark with a dark rusty breast.

Red-capped Lark

Illustrated fairly well in "Birds of Southern Africa". An unmistakable lark with its obvious red-ochre cap and pectoral patch and very white underparts.

 Rudd's Lark

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa", but the upright stance is less obvious. The white supercilium and lures are obvious but the distinctive separation of these as illustrated is very difficult to discern. The dark cap with the buff stripe through the centre is notable. Observed from the back, the mantle has a dark appearance with obvious pale fringes to each feather and the pencil-thin tail is certainly unique.

 Botha's Lark

Illustrated fairly well in "Birds of Southern Africa", but the bill is thicker and it possess a more distinct facial pattern. Once you have seen the Pink-billed Lark it gives the impression of a "washed out" version of that species. Botha's has an obvious thin dark line running across the cheek from the gape. This "dumpy" lark is best found by flushing. The darker mantle (not as dark as illustrated) and white outer-tail feathers easily separating it from the more common Pink-billed Larks present in the same habitat.

Pink-billed Lark

Illustrated poorly in "Birds of Southern Africa". This species has strong streaking on the upper breast similar to that found on Botha's Lark. The ground-colour of the breast and mantle is correct as is the distinctive white throat and heavy pink bill. This species has a bold facial pattern with double moustachial lines. Centered between these are tiny white areas which contrast with the buff cheeks. As in Botha's, a dark line also runs from the gape across the cheek.

Sclater's Lark

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa" especially the head. The slight upturn to the bill is quite obvious as well as the facial "tear drop". The breast is less buffy more variable than illustrated. Watch for the white-edged tail as the lark is flushed from its habitat of barren plains scattered with small stones.

Stark's Lark

Illustrated poorly in "Birds of Southern Africa". A small and dumpy lark with a very short tail. The ground-coloration of the mantle is similar to that on the Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris and the head with the crest erected is Sky Lark-like Alauda arvensis. The sides of the breast are cool-grey and contrast strongly with the warm, very pale tones elsewhere on the breast and belly. The bill is more conical (more correctly illustrated in the pale form). This "cute" lark's habits are distinctive. It runs quickly, stops a short time, then runs again to resume this action over and over again.


 Spike-heeled Lark

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa". An unmistakable lark that gives the impression of having lost its tail. It has a very thin decurved bill and is rufous-coloured overall with a distinct white throat. Its upright stance is notable. In flight it gives a "tin-whistle" call with the tail displaying white spot-like tips.

 Pale-crowned Cisticola

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa". A very distinctive cisticola with a prominent rusty secondary-patch and pale unmarked head with dark lores. Its habitat is of damp areas lying within highland pastures.

 Ayres' & Cloud Cisticolas

Both of these small cisticolas were never seen well and both were identified by song.

 Wailing Cisticola

Illustrated very well in "Birds of Southern Africa". A small, fairly long tailed cisticola that is identified via the contrast between its cool-grey back and unstreaked buffy breast. The similarly sized Grey-backed Cisticola is dull throughout with a grey hack and is found in different habitat; the Wailing in rolling pastures. the Grey-backed in fynbos and karoo scrub. The song is a "vibrating" sound, a drawn-out wheee.

 Croaking Cisticola

Illustrated well in "Birds of Southern Africa" except that the most obvious character is the heavy "boxy" black bill (not bi-coloured as in illustration). Other notable identification features are the rufous secondary-patch, shortish tail with a black band on the underside, large size, crown stripes (less obvious than in illustration), dark centres to tertials and supercilium that is less obvious than illustrated. The mantle is in variable tones of grey. The call is distinctive and frog-like.

 Rattling Cisticola

Illustrated fairly well in "Birds of Southern Africa". A large nondiscript, fairly long-tailed cisticola with a heavy bill that is usually bi-coloured but occasionally dusky. The most obvious feature is the cold grey sides of the breast which contrast with the overall warm buff coloration. The head can appear quite rusty against the cool-grey mantle streaking. It sings a distinctive song that ends in a low pitched rattle.

 Mountain Pipit

Illustrated well in "Birds of Southern Africa" but the ground-colour of the breast and fringes of the feathers of the mantle are distinctly warmer and more deeply rich ochre in colour. The bill is thinner than illustrated. The call note heard was single and robust (noted to be similar to Grassveld's).

 Long-billed Pipit

Illustrated reasonably well in "Birds of Southern Africa"; see the illustration by Lars Jonsson in "Birds of Europe". This pipit appears more streaked than illustrated thus confusion with Mountain Pipit is possible. however, this species lacks the deeply rich ochre colour of that species, especially on the mantle-fringes. The lower mandible can be pink or yellow.

Buffy Pipit

Illustrated fairly well in "Birds of Southern Africa". The habit of stopping briefly with an occasional  tail-wag between walks will help to identify this nondiscript species. A very pale pipit with a fairly heavy bill that has a pink base to the lower mandible. The call heard was of three single identical notes which could have been a series of the sshik notes of this species.

 Long-tailed Pipit

There is no illustration in "Birds of Southern Africa" of this newly-described species found in green fields surrounding Kimberley.


(African) Rock Pipit

Illustrated very poorly in "Birds of Southern Africa". The breast is paler than illustrated with fine streaks, similar to the breast pattern and colour displayed on North America's Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus. The supercilium is paler. This species appears more like the breeding plumage of the Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta illustrated in "Birds of Europe" without the mantle streaking and the area of white below the auricular. The plain brownish back and skulking habits within its rocky habitat will help to identify this pipit.

Lark-like Bunting

Illustrated very poorly in "Birds of Southern Africa". Refer to "A Guide to the Sparrows and Buntings of North America and the World".


FLIGHTS                                                                                  (per person including taxes)

Vancouver-Johannesburg                                                                                                                                                                             $1,925.30

Vancouver-London                                                                                                                                                                                            $730.60

London-Johannesburg                                                                                                                                                                                   $1,194.70

Johannesburg-Kimberly                                                                                                                                                                                      $93.60

Cape Town-Durban: Free if you take SAA International flight                                                                                                                   $000.00

South African Airways London (0171) 312-5000; Toronto 1-800-387-4629 serves from London to Johannesburg

Flights leave Heathrow at 10:00 pm, arriving in Johannesburg at 9:20 am. Return flights leave Johannesburg at

9:35 pm, arriving at Heathrow at 6:30 am. South African Airways also serves domestic flights although these flights

are cheaper through Phoenix Airlines tel: 970-1511.


Note:  A day of rest at the Ibis Heathrow in London en route to Johannesburg and again returning is advised after the

eleven-hour flight. The early morning connection from Johannesburg to Kimberley, means you do not require a stay in

Johannesburg after your flight from London (i.e. arrival is 9:20 am at Johannesburg airport). After landing at Kimberley

you can go directly to the Diamond Protea Lodge to sleep that morning/early afternoon.

SHUTTLE to / from Heathrow airport to Ibis Hotel  $3.25 one- way each                                                                                                   $6.50


ACCOMMODATION                     per unit/double nightly including taxes; all have air-con where required)

 (all have restaurants except the Lalapanzi Lodge who only serve breakfast)

Ibis Heathrow, London Bath Rd. 3 km NE airport                                                     tel: (181) 759-4888                                                 $80.60

Diamond Protea Lodge, Kimberley:                                                                           tel (0531) 81 1281                                                   $50.70

holiday chalets, Augrabies Falls National Park                                                          tel: (012) 3 432-007                                                  $51.35

Pofadder Hotel, Poffader                                                                                              tel: (054) 933 0063                                                      $39.00

Belmont Hotel, Ceres (B & B) (ask for fax when phoning)                                       tel: (027) 233 21150                                                $52.15

Marine Protea Hotel, Lambert's Bay                                                                          tel: (027) 432 1126                                                 $61.75

City Lodge Pinelands, Cape Town (set breakfasts $5)                                              tel: (021) 685-7944                                                  $65.00

Oribi Gorge Hotel, Oribi Gorge (phone Paul or Karen Jefferys)                            tel: (039) 687 0253                                                  $50.70

Ingeli Forest Lodge, Harding/Kokstad                                                                        tel: (039) 553 0600                                                  $79.30

Himeville Arms Hotel, Himeville (B&B; beaters; restaurant)                                 tel: (033) 702 1305                                                 $49.40

Rawdons Hotel, Nottingham Road (B&B; restaurant, heaters)                                tel: (0333) 360 44                                                     130.00

Mulberry Guest House, Curry's Post                                                                           tel: (0332) 305 921                                                 $63.00

Lalapanzi Lodge, Saint Lucia (B&B; air-con?)                                                            tel: (083) 379 5247                                                 $63.20

Ghost Mountain Inn, Mkuze Town (all set meals are $10.40)                                   tel: (035) 573 1025                                                $91.00

Stucky's Guesthouse, Volksrust ($55, B&B $75                                                        tel: (1773) 52 808                                                   $48.75


Protea Hotels have Toll-free North American                                                              tel: 1-800-323-3210


Hout Bay; Bluefin Charters, $682.50 for 6 pers for 11 hrs                                         tel: (021) 783-1756

Simon's Town: Neptune Deep Sea Angling, 24ft boat day charter                              tel: (021) 782-3889                                            $181.50

Captour, whale-watching only                                                           tel: (021) 788-1898

Zest II. for large groups only


CAR RENTAL     ( about 7.000 km of driving expected; no mileage or drop off charges)

 Car rental lots in South Africa are conveniently located within walking distance of the terminals.

Avis & Budget have offices at Kimberley, Cape Town and Durban airports. These rentals cost $156.00 week,

plus $186.70 insurance.

 Budget USA & Canada                                                                                                   tel: 1-800-268-8900                                                $654.50

Avis: USA & Canada                                                                                                       tel: 1-800-879-2847

Avis: Cape Town                                                                                                              tel: (021) 934-0808

Avis: Kimberley                                                                                                               tel: (0531) 851-1082/3

Avis: Durban                                                                                                                     tel: (031) 408-1282

 SANI PASS     day tour with Sani Pass Tours (see Addresses for info) approximently $104.00                                                             $104.00

GAS           A litre of gas costs 1.50 Rand (7,000 km at 35 km to gallon = 800 litres @ $17.70 US)                                                      $213.20

TOLL ROADS             3.60 Rand for car per 10 km (300 km of toll-roads maximum)                                                                              $18.20

FOOD        Allow $20.80 each per day at 24 days                                                                                                                                       $1,091.50



Diamond Protea Lodge, 124 Du Toitspan Road, Kimberly, Northern Cape

Upington Protea Hotel, 24 Schroder Street, P.O. Box 13, Upington 8800, Northern Cape

Augrabies Falls National Park chalets, write: Reservations, National Park Board, Box 787, Pretoria 0001, Gauteng

Pofadder Hotel, Voortrekker Street, P.O.Box 3.8890, Poffader, Northern Cape

Belmont Hotel, Porters Street, Ceres 6835, Western Cape

Marine Protea Hotel, P.O. Box 1, Voortrekker Street, Lambert's Bay 8130, Western Cape

City Lodge Pinelands, FO Box 124 Howard Place 7450, Mowbray, Cape Town, Western Cape

Oribi Gorge Hotel, Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

Ingeli Forest Lodge, Private Bag X502, Kokstad 4700 KwaZulu-Natal

Himeville Arms Hotel, Arbuckle Street, P.O. Box 105, Himeville 4585, KwaZulu-Natal

Rawdons Hotel, Old Main Road (R103) P.O. Box 7, Nottingham Road 3280, KwaZulu-Natal

Mulberry Guest House, P.O. Box 118, Howick 3290, Kwa-Zulu-Natal

Lalapanzi Lodge, PO Box 331, Saint Lucia 3936, Kwa-Zulu-Natal

Ghost Mountain Inn, Old Man Road, RO Box 18. Mkuze 3965, KwaZulu-NataI

Stucky's Guesthouse, RO. Box 181, Volksrust 2470, Mpumalanga




Horseshoe Motel, RO. Box 635, Kimberley 8300, Northern Cape                                                                                 tel: (0531) 3 1751


Oasis Protea Lodge, 26 Schroder Street, P.O. Box 13, Upington 8800, Northern Cape                                              tel: 1-800-323-3210


Holiday Inn Garden Court, Johannesburg - Airport 6 Hulley Road, Isando, Gauteng                                                   tel: 392-1062

Holiday Inn Garden Court Sandon, corner of Katherine & Rivonia Roads, Gauteng                                                    tel: 884-5660

Veldriff, Lambert's Bay & Saldanha

Raston Guest House, Lambert's Bay, Western Cape                                                                                                       tel: (027) 432-2431

Langebaan Lodge, RO. Box 25, Langebaan 7357, Western Cape                                                                                  tel: (02287) 2144

Janes Guest House, 8 Beach Road, RO. Box 635, Saldanha 7395, Western Cape                                                      tel: (02281) 4 3605

Saldanha Bay Protea Hotel, 51 B Main Street, P.O. Box 70, Saldanha Bay 7395, Western Cape                              tel: (02281) 4 1264

Cape Town

Holiday hen Garden Court, Mill St., Gardens PO Box 2793, Cape Town 8000, Western Cape                                  tel: (021) 45 1311

Cape Swiss Hotel, CNR Kloof & Camp Sts.,Gardens PO Box 21516, Cape Town 8000, Western Cape                 tel: (021) 23 8190

Holiday Inn Garden Court, Main Rd., Newlands, Cape Town 7700, Western Cape                                                     tel: (021) 61 1105


Kagga Kamma   Box 7143, Ceres, Northern Paarl 7623                                                                                                 tel: (02211) 638-334


Weaver's Nest Guest House, Plot 62, PO Box 329, Wakkerstroom 2480, Mpumalanga                                             tel: (017730) 0115

Nottingham Road - Giant's Castle Game Reserve

Two luxury lodges. Reservations KwaZulu-Natal Parks Board, Private Bag X9024, Pietermaritzburg 3200            tel: (0331) 94 6696

Sani Pass

Sani Pass Hotel & Leisure Resort, Sani Pass Road, P.O. Box 44, Himeville 3256, KwaZuIu-Natal                           tel: (033) 702-0220

Ramsgate / South Broom

Country Lodge (along coast south of Durban)                                                                                                                    tel: (03931) 78 380


Sani Pass Tours, Box 12, Himeville after hours tel: (033) 701-1080                                                                              tel: (033) 702-1615

Sani Pass Chalet - Touring Box 195, Himeville,                                                                                                                 tel: (033) 702-1069

Mokhotlong Mountain Touring, Box 12, Himeville office opposite Himeville Arms Hotel                                          tel: (033) 702-1615

Heathrow Airport, London

                                   Per room double      location      Distance from airport                 Per room double       location        Distance from airport

Sheraton Skyline Hotel         75£              Bath Rd         2 NE             Ramada Heathrow                85£               Bath Rd                             5E

Crowne Plaza Heathrow        169£           Stockly R      3N               Sheraton Heathrow               75£               Colnbrook      3               3NW

Quality Hotel Heathrow        52£             London Rd     8NW           Marriot Heathrow               114£            Slough UK                        10NW

Ibis Heathrow                     54£                 Bath Rd         3NE             Jarvis International               119£             Bath Rd                             3NE

Novotel London                  95£               Cherry Lane    3N              Edwardian Int Plaza             145£             140 Bath Rd                       2N

Excelsior Hotel                   75£               Bath Rd           2N              Posthouse Heathrow             65£              Bath Rd                             3NE

Heathrow Park Hotel            89£             Bath Rd         3NW             Shepperton Moat                 39£               Felix                                  10S

Heathrow Hilton                  99£            Terminal Four     2SW         Fortecrest Heathrow             69£              Sipson Rd W                     3N