28 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi All

 

this is my and my Mum's trip itinerary to South Africa in Mid Sept. Please help us to plan our stay, especially the first few days where we are doing more of the touristy things. We are looking for suggestions on, how to structure our first few days to see as much as possible and any inside knowledge on the best places to cover to see birds and mammals. are there any bat roosts, roosting owls, good spots for small mammals etc. good places to hike to see special mammals and birds? We will have a guide but he'll probably want us to have a fair idea of what we want to cover.

 

15 Sept- arrive 2120 overnight at Road Lodge Cape Town International Airport


16-18 The Cape Peninsula.  

 

Simonstad Seadeville BB (Simonstown)

http://www.seadevilla.co.za/simonstown-activities.php

 

Pick up  on Saturday 16 Morning 0830 from Road Lodge...
Visiting some of the main botanical and natural history destinations such as Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Point and the south-western tip of the African Continent, Betty’s Bay, Stony Point, Boulder’s Beach and others. possibly Table Mountain, depending on weather.  Staying in Simon’s Town.

 

This is the section we need most advice on. does anyone have good recommendations for how to structure our 3 night stay? Mum is keen to see flowers so we have to include Kirstenbosch. I've been to Betty's bay, and Cape Point. has anyone got any up to date info on where to find cape rockjumper?

19 and 20 Swellendam and the Agulhas Plain.

 

Swellendam BB Aan de Oewer BB

http://www.aandeoever.com


Moving on from the Peninsula our next port-of-call is Swellendam, the third oldest town in the country, which will provide a base from which to explore Bontebok National Park (named after the endemic ‘Pied Buck’) and De Hoop Nature Reserve, another gem of a wildlife destination, and a good place to see Whales.- as well as whales we hope to have a chance to see zorilla and possibly caracal here.

 

Has anyone got any tips on visiting either of these parks?


21 Karoo National Park.

 

Karoo NP chalet https://www.sanparks.org/parks/karoo/tourism/accommodation.php

 

Has anyone got any tips on visiting either of these parks?


From Swellendam we’ll begin our long northward journey, with a stopover at Karoo National Park, which can provide some great mammal watching and birding.

 

Has anyone got any tips on visiting this park?


22-24 Dunedin Farm (double room on this farm)

Moving on, our next stop will be at Dunedin Farm, where we’ll spend three nights in total, with the extremely rare Riverine Rabbit at the top of our want list here. we also hope to pick up a lot of the smaller mammals here, sengis etc and bat eared foxes with nightly spotlighting excursions.

 

I have some good notes for this site so should be okay.


25-27 Marrick safari camp

 

After Dunedin we’ll have a long drive to Kimberley,  We will have two night drives at Marrick (booked, possibility of a 3rd on night of arrival), where we hope to find species such as Black-footed Cat, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Southern African Hedgehog, Springhare and others . On one  of our full days here we will have a day visit to Mokala National Park, where we may get lucky with mammals such as Black and White Rhinos, Sable and Roan Antelope, and perhaps a Sengi or two.  Having read a report from Royle Safaris we should also look to cover Benfontein Game farm from this base to increase chances of black footed cat. Should we spend the second full day at Mokala as well or are there other options? Do you know whether the flamingos at Kamfers dam will be present in September?

 

We'll have guided night drives here but any tips on where to go during the daytime would be good.


28 – 29 Augrabies Falls National Park.

From Kimberley we’ll drive through to Upington and then Augrabies Falls National Park, our base for the next two nights. look out for birds such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Bradfield’s Swift and Short-toed Rock-Thrush, while drives in the park will give us a chance to see species such as Namaqua Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird and Sociable Weaver, among others. Mammals to be seen include the Springbok, South Africa’s national antelope, as well as Klipspringer in the rocky areas, Southern Giraffe, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Cape Clawless Otter and others, while a night drive may produce a Leopard with some luck.

 

Has anyone got any tips on visiting this park?

 

30 Sept - 5 Oct The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
 

After Augrabies we’ll stop off in Upington to pick up supplies before heading on to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The exact camps we use will depend on availability,

 

30 Kalahari  trails (morning walk with meerkats) .
 

KTP

 

Our routine will include morning and afternoon drives, and no doubt we’ll get to know the Kalahari very well indeed during our time spent here. Mammals to be seen include an exciting array of predators such as Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Cat, Honey Badger, Spotted and Brown Hyenas. Raptors can be prolific as well, and there plenty of general game along the Auob and Nossob Riverbeds to keep you occupied between predator sightings. Booked:

1 Oct Twee Riv

2 Oct Mata Mata riverfront lux chalet- Pieter to provide spotlight.
3 Oct Kalahari tented camp unfenced 3 km from Mata Mata

4 Oct TBC  Hopefully Nossob

5  Oct  tbc

6 Oct  Jo & Mum depart on the 17:10 flight from Upington to Johannesburg SA8770 to connect
with the 2315 from Johannesburg KLM 592.

 

Any good spots for dens, roosts etc would be welcome, I'm interested in seeing all mammals and birds we can find!

 

Any advice on places to stop off en route to break up the longer journeys that are good for flowers, birds and mammals, or maybe even a nice vineyard or two, would be nice.

 

Thanks,

 

Jo

Edited by kittykat23uk

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@kittykat23uk I am visiting Cape Point and Swellendam area with Lawsons next August-September (2018). We have 3 days to explore Cape Point area based in the village of Noordhoek. You might like to check out Strandfontein - I think there is a TR here somewhere for this place, possibly from Peter Connan. The first few days of the detailed itinerary may have some ideas for you and is available online.

 

Trevor at Marrick Farm has a local guy who does very reasonably priced day tours to Kamfers Dam for flamingos and into Mokala NP. I've heard that otter sightings at Warrenton are possible but don't have anything definite on this. If you are stuck for acommodation in KTP, the Kalahari Farmstall about 5-10 minutes drive from Mata Mata in Namibia is a comfortable and well-priced option, however it does put you in the western part of the park. It might be worthwhile spending an hour or so around the Orange River in Upington, having travelled through the drylands this lush oasis and very green town came as quite a surprise to me. 

 

I think you have a fabulous itinerary and your Mum should see a fantastic selection of wildlife - is there a place for eles in this trip?  

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Posted (edited)

@Treepol thanks! This is  very helpful. I will ask the tour company about Kalahari Farmstall. Pieter, of Kalahari safaris  is still hopefully that Nossob will open up for us but apparently there have been delays to the refurbishment of the riverfront chalets so we will see. 

 

As for elephants- nothing planned as mum had an unnerving close encounter with them in India so is not especially fussed to see them. Do you know of anywhere en route where they might be seen? If it's just a case of taking a short detour we could be up for it but we're not too fussed either way. :)

 

P.S. Yeah I am aware of strandfontein. I wanted to go there in my other trip to the Cape but my dad flatly refused to go round a sewage works on our holiday! :) I might see if we can fit that in this time. 

Edited by kittykat23uk

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@kittykat23uk no, sorry I don't know of anywhere for eles on your itinerary. I was just wondering if they were going to be important for your Mum to see.

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Ah, no she's not fussed

 She's excited at the prospect of seeing the rabbit! :)

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@kittykat23uk I thought that they had already released the riverfront chalets at nossob for bookings....are you checking on a daily basis?

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Supposedly our tour company is!

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@kittykat23uk

 

Aandeoever is lovely.

 

Bontebok National Park can be enjoyed in morning or one afternoon.  I would recommend spending more time in DeHoop if you can.  At both Bontebok and DeHoop, you will see loads of bontebok, so no worries there.  But at Bontebok, you can see the rarely seen grey rhebok in the hills.  They are worth looking for.  Also, in between Bontebok and DeHoop, keep an eye out for the beautiful blue cranes.

 

Is it too late to change your stay to inside DeHoop?  There are excellent accommodations.

 

Below is my very short write-up on Bontebok National Park and DeHoop Nature Reserve:

http://safaritalk.net/topic/6556-pula-safari-central-kalahari-okavango-delta-savuti-march-2011/?page=2#comment-48864

 

 

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This is September of 2017?! Because to my knowledge Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park gets solidly booked almost when the Sanpark release/open the bookings!!

We have stayed at Kalahari Farmstall and it has nice, large and clean rooms, and great food. On the Twee Rivieren side of the park there is a new lodge even closer to the gate: Kgalagadi Lodge .

 

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Thanks yes we had booked months ago but even then there was no availability for Nossob. :(

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Ahhh, I see. Then it is 4th and 5th you are not sure yet. Good news is, back in 2016 Nossob did have last minute openings; so it is worth asking each day if any last second opening is available. 

 

Looking forward to your trip report, as in January 2018 Zvezda and me will follow your steps till Karoo NP :).

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Hello @kittykat23uk the recommendation we would have  for near Bettys Bay is the Harold Porter gardens which we think are lovely, especially if your mum likes flowers. apologies if it has been mentioned already.We did go to Strandfontein but we would never have found it without a guide-but we loved the flamingos .I have not seen it mentioned before and again your guide will know I am sure but the last time we were in the KTG the rep at Lawsons who we booked through urged us to look in the trees by the sid eof the Auob river-so the KTC side-for wild cats as they roosted in them-if that's the right word- during the day time.It is probably the best single piece of advice we have ever been given

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1 hour ago, Towlersonsafari said:

Hello @kittykat23uk the recommendation we would have  for near Bettys Bay is the Harold Porter gardens which we think are lovely, especially if your mum likes flowers. apologies if it has been mentioned already.We did go to Strandfontein but we would never have found it without a guide-but we loved the flamingos .I have not seen it mentioned before and again your guide will know I am sure but the last time we were in the KTG the rep at Lawsons who we booked through urged us to look in the trees by the sid eof the Auob river-so the KTC side-for wild cats as they roosted in them-if that's the right word- during the day time.It is probably the best single piece of advice we have ever been given

Thanks! Can I just check what the acronyms stand for please? I'm assuming KTC is Kalahari tented camp but KTG? 

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1 hour ago, xelas said:

Ahhh, I see. Then it is 4th and 5th you are not sure yet. Good news is, back in 2016 Nossob did have last minute openings; so it is worth asking each day if any last second opening is available. 

 

Looking forward to your trip report, as in January 2018 Zvezda and me will follow your steps till Karoo NP :).

 

Yes that's right, just two nights. Pieter is still hopeful that we will get something. He assures me that his team are checking several times a day. I have also been looking on occasion and haven't  seen anything  come up yet but here's hoping!  We may well be down to the wire on this one but at least it's only 2 nights. 

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In worst case scenario do stay at Kalahari Farmstall. It is only a few minutes from the Mata Mata gate, and camp, so there will not be that much time wasted in comparison to staying at Mata Mata camp. I wish you good luck, Pieter will find you those 2 nights at Nossob! BTW are the new riverside chalets already finished??

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Sorry KTG is a new park for people who cant spell it should be KTP @kittykat23uk

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1 hour ago, xelas said:

In worst case scenario do stay at Kalahari Farmstall. It is only a few minutes from the Mata Mata gate, and camp, so there will not be that much time wasted in comparison to staying at Mata Mata camp. I wish you good luck, Pieter will find you those 2 nights at Nossob! BTW are the new riverside chalets already finished??

Apparently they are due to open on 1 sept but they have missed deadlines before! :/  

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6 hours ago, xelas said:

BTW are the new riverside chalets already finished??

 

My mistake, they are open for bookings, but from 1 December onwards, so this does not help ☹️

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@kittykat23uk - A few thoughts for your consideration:

 

1. Cape Town - I replied to your question re. Cape Point in my TR so I won't repeat myself. The other two bird watching options that I would highlight in CT are Intaka Island and Rondevlei. Intaka Island is a very simple and easy walk around a natural marsh and would allow to tick-off a few of the "easys" and get an excellent view of malachite / pied kingfisher. It's not the most natural setting though and it's North East of where you are staying so I would only strongly recommend it if you're after good photos. Rondevlei is a bigger natural reserve which can be a bit hit and miss but it's a viable alternative to Strandfontein. Both Rondevlei and Strandfontein get rare migrants to its worth checking SA Rare Bird News's Google Group to check if anything exciting is about.

 

2. Cape Rockjumper - I've never seen the Cape variant but my understanding is Rooi-Els is your best shot    

 

3. Vineyards - On the way to Swellendam you will pass Paul Cluver , this is a good vineyard, not far off the N2, with a good range of types and a tasting room, open daily excluding Sunday. In Cape Town I would recommend considering Steenberg (the wine is fine but the setting is excellent) and Cape Point (one of SA's best white wine vineyards and not far from where you're staying).

 

4. Mokala / Kamfers - my understanding is that the Flamingos are there year round but I didn't visit so can not confirm. Mokala can be done in a full day and I recommend entering at the main / Mosu gate and leaving via Lilydale. Mosu / Matopi area has the Rhino & Buffalo and Lilydale the Sable & Roan.

 

5. Marrick - I can only go on my experiences but we saw Black-footed cats on both drives so you may not need to go on a drive at Benfontein as well. We didn't visit Benfontein but I spoke to a couple that had and they said the birding was excellent for grassland birds (Larks, Pipits, Francolin, Falcons etc.).

 

6. KTP - My experience was that:

a. There are ~9 cheetah in two groups between Montrose and Mata Mata. 

b. The best spot to see AWC in the day is the trees between the Sitsas and the Dalkeith waterholes

c.  The night / pre-dawn drives are only possible from Twee Riverien and are good for AWC, Bat-eared Fox and Cape Fox

d.  There is a roosting Barn Owl in a weaver nest on the right hand side of the road (when heading to Nossob) between the Leeuwdril and Rooiputs waterholes - if you go on the game ranger drive they will show you it - assuming it's still there in summer 

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@lmSA84 thank you! This is just the sort of useful information I was after. We were going to try for cape rockjumper last time but on arrival at Rooi Els we were warneed about a large  puff adder on the path ahead so we turned back. 

 

Has anyone any experience of  using Dyer Island cruises for whale watching tours?  http://www.whalewatchsa.com/whale-tour-company/dream-catcher/

 

Last time we got a tour out of hermanus. Just wondering if it's worth trying this company as it's a bit closer to Cape Town.  Mum is a bit nervous about small boats . This one doesn't look that small.

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Hello again @kittykat23uk we also saw Cape Rockjumper at Took Els and can also heartily recommend Dyer Island cruises we thought they were committed to conservation friendly and the boat was fine. A southern right whale swam under the boat! They also go to an island full of seals and a nearby channel called I think Shark Alley We also had splendid views of whales close in from Walkers Bay nature reserve a cape nature reserve.So many choices

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Another vote for Rooi-Els for the Cape Rockjumper, that's where we saw it and it is definitely still being seen there, as I often get photos and reports from various birding companies. It is easy to combine that day with Betty's Bay for Penguins--we found this area better for Penguins than Boulder's Beach

 

Don't dismiss Kirstenbosch as just for flowers, we had fantastic bird sightings there and best opportunities for photographing some such as the Cape Sugarbird, Malachite Sunbird, etc.

 

We also were in Augrabies...if you are serious about birding, there is a spot before Augurabies (Koa Dunes) for Red Lark (an endemic). But it may not be in the direction you are coming from...we were coming from the south via Okiep.

 

I don't think I can upload it here, but it may be of interest to you to see our trip report from that trip (I didn't write it so its not for me to upload.) I can email it to you though.

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Thanks both. I did go to Kirstenbosch  before and Betty’s Bay.  I missed malachite sunbird but got the other two on some nice proteas :). 

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@kittykat23uk Just remembered, there used to be roost for a pair of spotted eagle owls in Kirstenbosch - not sure if they are still there. It seemed to be a well known location so the people o the gate or in the gift shop may be able to direct you.

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Thanks all, 

 

I have been advised that "here was a catastrophic fire at the Rooi Els site last summer, so no rockjumpers there (but lots of klipspringers). Try Sir Lowry’s Pass"

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