12th & 13th April 2023 - South Africa (flying visit!)

Back in 2019 I booked an awesome trip which centred around taking a ship from St Helena to Ascension Island to Cape Verde and I had planned for a good amount of time before the ship in South Africa, including Cape Town and a safari up near Johannesburg.  This trip got postponed for covid reasons and now that it was finally able to go ahead, I sadly had other commitments that meant I only had 3 days in South Africa.  I split that into two days in Cape Town (wine tasting and birding) and a day in Johannesburg (birding).

First off on the Cape Town birding day I met with guide Mark Hawthorne at my hotel and we headed to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which is incredibly beautiful. I am incredibly envious of anyone who has that as their local patch!   The great thing about birding in a new area is that nearly every single bird I saw was brand new for me.  There were lots of Olive Thrush around, with Cape White-eye hopping through the trees and a Jackal Buzzard soaring off in the distance.  A few beautiful White-backed Mousebird were seen as we wandered along and the star of the show were the incredibly tailed Cape Sugarbird.

Cape Sugarbird

Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Sadly we couldn't stay at Kirstenbosch all day and it was onwards to the peaceful Rondevlei reserve where we added some waterbirds to the list, along with Fork-tailed Drongo and a few stunning Black-shouldered Kite.  Round to Strandfontein and to the list we managed to add ducks in the form of Yellow-billed Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck and Cape Teal, as well as Black-headed Heron.  A really cool snake was headed along the road too but I can't remember the name of it.  

Black-shouldered Kite


Black-necked Heron

Greater Flamingo
Popped in briefly to Boulders Beach to see the tiny penguins which are LOUD and then finished the day off down at the Cape of Good Hope, adding Cape Bunting, Cape Cormorant and Cape Starling amongst others.  A great day to start off my trip!

African Penguin
I got a flight the next morning up to Johannesburg and Safari Wian picked me up to head out to Rietvlei Nature Reserve for the afternoon.  We started with African Wattled Lapwing and Crowned Lapwing, then added a tonne of Common Fiscal and Stonechat along the drive around.  I rather liked the personality of the Arrow-marked Babbler and we rounded off the day with a grumpy Spotted Thick-knee.  

Spotted Thick-knee



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