Birding Tours

Genet Nature & Birding Tours would love to introduce you to the unique experience of bird- watching in the Western Cape. Our tours are tailor-made to suit your individual interests and requirements, whether you are a keen birder who would like to see as many of the local species as possible, or simply a nature lover, venturing out there to enjoy the birds, plant life or fascinating ecology of the area. We go bird-watching on foot through the fynbos (indigenous vegetation of the area), forests and mountains and we also visit the more arid areas for larks, chats and other dry land species.

Please contact us for more information on nature walks and tours to national parks in other parts of the country. Not all our tours are walking tours, and we cater for everybody...

We are based in Cape Town, so offer a variety of full day, half day and overland trips in the region. The climate in the Western Cape is Mediterranean, and therefore unpredictable. Generally we experience mild to hot dry summers with wind at times, and moderate to cold winters with rain and occasionally snow on the mountain peaks. We will advise you on the correct clothing to bring, depending on the time of year and type of tour we are doing. The vegetation, well known as fynbos (meaning fine-leaved plants) has evolved to thrive in forever changing climatic conditions and has resulted in an extremely diverse array of plant species, unequalled anywhere else in the world.

fynbos - please click to enlarge
Fynbos in the Cape

BIRDLIFE, on the other hand, is more habitat specific and less diverse, and yet the birds that do occur and are endemic to the region, have adapted in a unique and fascinating way to life in fynbos. There are several endemic species, six to fynbos, and many that you are unlikely to encounter elsewhere. Hopefully Genet Nature & Birding Tours can take you out there
and show you some of these special birds...

click here for the scientific names... click again to close

African Darter (Anhinga rufa)
African Goshawk (Accipiter tachiro)
African Marsh Harrier (Circus ranivorus)
African Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)
African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)
African White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)
Bokmakierie (Telophorus zeylonus)
Cape Batis (Batis capensis)
Cape Francolin (Pternistis capensis)
Cape Rock-jumper (Chaetops frenatus)
Cape Siskin (Crithagra totta)
Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus)
Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer)
Cape Weaver (Ploceus capensis)
Cape White-eye (Zosterops virens)
Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Grey-backed Cisticola (Cisticola subruficapilla)
Ground Woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus)
Hottentot Teal (Anus hottentota)
Karoo Prinia (Prinia maculosa)
Karoo Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas coryphoeus)
Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)
Large-billed Lark (Galerida magnirostris)
Maccoa Duck (Oxyura maccoa)
Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata)
Orange-breasted Sunbird (Anthobaphes violacea)
Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
Penduline Tit (Anthoscopus minutus)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Rock Kestrel (Falco rupicolus)
Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk (Accipiter rufiventris)
Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)
Sombre Greenbul (Andropadus importunus)
Southern Double-collared Sunbird (Anthobaphes cinnyris chalybeus)
Southern-Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus)
Verreauxs’ Eagle (Aquila verreauxii)
Victorin’s Warbler (Cryptillas victorini)
White-backed Mousebird (Colius colius)
Yellow Bishop (Euplectes capensis)

 

 

Some ideas for bird tours in our area...

KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS is situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.
It can be visited as a half day tour or combined with a full day bird-watching, which could include a visit to Strandfontein Sewage Works or Rondevlei Nature Reserve, or even a cableway ride
up Table Mountain to enjoy views of the city or the mountain chain
that makes up the Table Mountain National Park.

Kirstenbosch is best visited in the early morning for a walk through the gardens to see a variety of indigenous plants, including proteas, ericas and restios (main plant families typical of fynbos) or a stroll in the forest where birds such as Cape Batis, Cape White-eye and Sombre Greenbul are found.
Raptors like African Goshawk and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk are also sometimes seen in the early mornings. Orange-breasted Sunbirds and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds are common in erica patches in the garden and Cape Sugarbird, a fynbos endemic, is readily attracted to proteas in bloom.

RONDEVLEI NATURE RESERVE is a delightful wetland reserve with several hides and access to a host of waterbirds including Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, African Darter and many more, and affords the opportunity to observe both Cape and Southern-Masked Weavers breeding, Common Waxbills, warblers and sometimes Malachite Kingfisher.
It is an important breeding site for many waterbirds such as herons and egrets.
Hippo has been reintroduced here, but is seldom seen on day excursions.

Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher

PAARL BIRD SANCTUARY (approximately one hour from Cape Town) is situated around the water treatment works and also has several hides with access to a variety of wetland and bush birds.
This trip can be combined with a visit to Stellenbosch, second oldest town in South Africa,
and well known for its historical buildings and wine farms.

STRANDFONTEIN SEWAGE WORKS is an important wetland habitat and conservation area for many waterbirds and an outing to this popular birding destination can result in a good list of species. Greater Flamingo is often found here in impressive numbers, as well as grebes and ducks including Hottentot Teal and Maccoa Duck, herons, coots and crakes. African Marsh Harrier is often seen soaring overhead. African White Pelican is usually present, as well as Egyptian Goose, Kelp Gull and other more common species.
Flowers abound here in spring and Small Grey Mongoose
and Cape Cobra are also sometimes seen.

We also visit CAPE OF GOOD HOPE NATURE RESERVE, which allows time to take in the views from Cape Point or enjoy one of the many walking trails in the reserve.  Birdlife here is not as plentiful as in other areas, but Cape Sugarbird and Orange-breasted Sunbird are relatively common and Rock Kestrel and sometimes Peregrine Falcon grace the skies.
This is typical fynbos habitat and attracts Karoo Prinia, Grey-backed Cisticola and Yellow Bishop, the latter in startling black and yellow breeding plumage.
A fascinating assortment of bulbs and other fynbos specials appear here during the spring months of August and September.

THE WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK is yet another popular bird-watching destination
in spring and early summer when plants are in flower.
The Postberg section of the reserve is open during spring for flowers and attracts a variety of birds including Bokmakierie, Large-billed Lark and Cape Sparrow.
Bat-eared Foxes
provide stunning photographic opportunities as they prance through the daisies in search of termites, and there are also other larger mammal species in the reserve.
The main part of the reserve, which is situated around the Langebaan Lagoon, internationally recognised as a hotspot for migrant waders, is a delight to visit when bush birds such as White-backed Mousebird, Penduline Tit and Karoo Scrub-robin are active here. Ostriches are common and lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of the endemic Cape Grysbok or Caracal on an early morning drive.

West Coast National Park can be visited on a day trip from Cape Town, or as an overnight tour to allow more time for bird and flower-watching.

For those keen on looking for endemics, a trip to ROOI-ELS is recommended
for Cape Rock-jumper. Other fynbos specials like Cape Siskin and Ground Woodpecker are sometimes seen and Verreauxs’ Eagle breeds in the vicinity.
This day trip can be combined with a visit to Hermanus to see Southern Right Whales (see whale info) in the season. Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus is great for hiking and flowers, and HAROLD PORTER BOTANICAL GARDENS in Betty’s Bay is ideal for proteas, day hikes and birds including the elusive Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Francolin and African Paradise-Flycatcher.
Chacma baboons sometimes frolic on the lawns,
while the shy Cape Leopard is confined to the higher slopes.

These are but some of the birding destinations in the Cape Town area. We also do trips to the TANQUA KAROO, usually best as an overnight destination, CEDERBERG,
GARDEN ROUTE
and several national parks,
including the KAROO NATIONAL PARK,
ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK in the Eastern Cape and the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK in Mpumalanga.

Contact us at Genet Nature & Birding Tours
so that we can suggest an itinerary or day tour to fit in with your visit to Cape Town.

We will organize accommodation for overnight destinations.

We specialise in small groups (two to four people)
but are happy to assist with larger groups as well.

Kim in Kruger Yellow-billed Hornbill
Kim and Yellow-billed Hornbill in the Kruger National Park

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Kim also works as a freelance wild life illustrator