Trip report: South Africa, Fairest Cape to Kruger (Jan 2013) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Scott Watson.

A January tour in South Africa means lush vegetation, breeding plumages, and spectacular migrants. This tour hits all of the major habitats South Africa has to offer. Starting in the endemic rich Fynbos around Cape Town, we move through the rich coastal forests of the southern coast. Then north to the dry, yet lush Karoo, east to the Highveld grasslands of Wakkerstroom. Moving further north to the famous, ultra-diverse, Bushveld of Kruger NP, then south to the mangroves and coastline around St. Lucia, into the forests of Eshowe, and finally to the high elevation of the Drakensbergs and into the mountain top country of Lesotho. All of these habitat changes are designed so that we not only get the endemics of South Africa but also a good cross-section of the birdlife this country has to offer. On top of that, mammals seemed to be particularity friendly on this tour from the wide array of antelope to the incredible big cats. With about 490 birds in the bag and close to 60 species of mammals we didn’t leave much behind (although the Pelagic trip did not run this tour). From African Penguins near Simon’s Town, to bright green Knysna Turacos inches away in Wilderness, from watching a hunting Leopard in Kruger, to having a toast amongst Lammergiers at the highest pub in Africa in Lesotho, this tour is all about diversity. A truly memorable trip which will last a lifetime.

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