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Cape Rockjumper

An extravaganza of flowers, singing birds and displaying whales make springtime in the Western Cape an exhilarating destination.


An extravaganza of flowers, singing birds and displaying whales makes early summer in the Western Cape an exhilarating destination. Stunning proteas drip with sunbirds and sugarbirds in the shadow of Table Mountain while, further along the coast Southern Right Whales congregate, sending massive blows into the sky and breaching to the delight of gathered onlookers on the shore. Elegant Black Harriers float low over coastal scrub while Blue Cranes dance in farm fields. From humble beginnings in 1982, there is now a large, thriving and extraordinarily confiding colony of African Penguins which pose for all to enjoy. On top of this, the forests, mountains, fynbos and wetlands of the region offer other ornithological riches including endemics such as Cape Rockjumper, Knysna Warbler and Cape Siskin.  Our two-week tour will take a circular route around the Western Cape, stopping at strategic points in hand-picked quality accommodation where we take time to enjoy the many local offerings.

Contact The Ultimate Travel Company 0207 386 4682 to make a reservation.

27October - 11 November
16 days (15 nights)
2 places

Economy class flights, accommodation with private facilities, full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner), ground transport, tips and services of Wild Insights leaders.

Travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry and phone calls.

The 2018 tour follows an anti-clockwise route.


Day 1:        
Depart London Heathrow p.m

Day 2 – 4:    
Arrive Cape Town a.m., check in and enjoy the hospitality of our perfectly placed four-star guesthouse where we will be based for the next three nights. This will give us time to explore, at leisure, various sites in the Cape Peninsula region including the stunning botanical gardens at Kirstenbosch. Spectacular floral displays merge into a wilder forested habitat, leading up towards Table Mountain providing some of the finest opportunities to view, at close quarters, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Francolin. Other local highlights include Spotted Eagle Owl, Cape Batis, African Olive Pigeon, Swee Waxbill and African Paradise Flycatcher. The wealth of small birds also attracts raptors such as Rufous-breasted and Black Sparrowhawks which can suddenly appear anywhere. During our time in the region we will also visit the Cape of Good Hope (an excellent site for seabirds and the endemic Cape Siskin), Rondevlei for wetland birds, forested habitats of the Constantia greenbelt, and the slopes of Black Hill and Silvermine where the flowering fynbos rings with the song of Cape Grassbirds, Neddickies and Cape Rock Thrushes. Weather permitting, we will also take the cablecar up to the top of Table Mountain. Overnights Sacred Mountain Lodge, Noordhoek. www.sacredmountain.co.za

Days 5 – 7:        
Today we will head north to the west coastline of the Cape where our beautiful traditional hotel, overlooking the lagoon at Langebaan, will be our base for the next three nights. The next two complete days will be spent exploring the West Coast National Park where the 16 km long Langebaan Lagoon attracts a plethora of waders and wildfowl plus Black and African Marsh Harriers, Black shouldered Kite, Grey-winged Francolin, White-throated Canary, Karoo Lark, Cardinal Woodpecker and Levaillant’s Cisticola to name a few.  On one day we will also travel a little further north to estuary at Veldriff which is a haven for waders and terns, and we will also explore some of the farm roads in the area for a variety of larks including Cape Long-billed plus Sickle-winged Chat. Overnights at the Farmhouse Hotel, Langebaan. www.thefarmhousehotel.com.

Day 8 - 10      
Today we depart from Langebaan to Swellendam where we spend the next three nights. En route we will stop off at Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve which is good for grassland species such as Cape Longclaw and the extraordinary but diminutive Cloud Cisticola. From Swellendam we visit the beautiful Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve which has some of the most mature forest of the region. It will also will give us our best chances to find a number of species on the west of their range such as Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Greater Double-collared Sunbird and the very elusive Narina Trogon. This is also one of the few places where Forest Buzzard occurs and even the massive Crowned Eagle has been reported from time to time. Overnights at the truly fabulous Gaikou Lodge, surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, just outside the attractive and peaceful traditional town of Swellendam. www.gaikoulodge.co.za.

Day 11 – 12:       
Our journey today takes us a short distance to Arniston where we spend the next two nights. En route we will visit De Hoop Nature Reserve where 36,000 hectares of lowland fynbos supports a wide range of species including Knysna Woodpecker, Denham’s Bustard, Clapper Lark, Ostrich, Southern Black Korhaan and Black Harrier. The unmistakable song of Bokmakierie is heard everywhere and this is also a good spot for a number of hirundine species including White-throated and Greater Striped Swallows. During the full day at Arniston we will also explore farmland surprisingly rich in birds including Black Harrier, Denham’s Bustard, Agulhas Long-billed Lark. It is here we will also have our best chances to view elegant Blue Cranes feeding in the fields. The nearby De Mond Reserve also provides further opportunities for Black Harriers, a wealth of waders, Damara Tern and Southern Tchagra. Overnight at the delightful Arniston Hotel, all rooms with a sea view. www.arnistonhotel.com.

Day 13 – 14:      
Our tour now takes us across the Overberg west towards Hermanus where we spend our final two nights. On the way we will visit the Brede River at the tranquil town of Stanford which is one of the top birdwatching towns in the area. This is an excellent spot for enjoying the manic activities of Red Bishops and seeing both Amethyst and Malachite Sunbirds. Klaas’s Cuckoo can often be heard, giving its unmistakeable two-syllable call and Pin-tailed Whydahs - males complete with unfeasibly long tails - dance to attract the attention of females. Hermanus strategically juts into the southern Atlantic and is not only good for a wide range of sea-birds but has the added unforgettable spectacle of colossal Southern Right Whales gathering and breaching. From here we will also visit other excellent birdwatching sites - Fernkloof and the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, both of which offer further chances for typical fynbos species plus Swee Waxbill, Victorin’s Warbler, Jackal Buzzard and Verreaux’s Eagle. Nearby, Stoney Point is one of the best places to see African Penguins which pose perfectly. Overnights at the perfectly positioned and very nicely appointed Auberge Burgundy Guesthouse at Hermanus. www.auberge.co.za

Day 15:     
This morning we will travel back to Cape Town where our international flight departs late p.m. arriving in London Heathrow early a.m. the next day (11th November). We will have plenty of time to stop at certain favoured spots where we will check for other endemic species including Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Rockjumper and the rather bizarre Ground Woodpecker. This area is also good for both Short-toed and Sentinal Rock Thrushes and regularly patrolled by Jackal Buzzards and magnificent Verreaux’s Eagle.

Wild Insights overseas tours are part of a wider programme of Ultimate Travel Company holidays worldwide, and their terms and conditions apply. The Ultimate Travel Company  is fully licensed and bonded with ABTA and IATA and all their overseas tours are fully protected by their Civil Aviation Authority  ATOL Licence, number 5111.

Louisa Thompson 0207 3864682