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BEST OF SOUTH AFRICA

Thursday 21st September - Wednesday 4th October 2017

Simon Mitchell

Drakensburg Rockjumper (Simon Mitchell)

Drakensburg Rockjumper (Simon Mitchell)

Although South Africa often conjures typical savannah images of mammals and Kruger National Park, it also has a fantastic variety of birds to offer, many of them endemic. Our tour took us from the spectacular fynbos-clad mountains of the Western Cape extending where snow-tipped peaks drop precipitously all the way down to rocky beaches home to nesting penguins and cormorants. We visited to the extreme dry of the Karoo desert where a wonderful selection of often tricky and nomadic lark species performed well. The spectacular forested mist-belts and gorges around the cape provided a range of endemics. High altitude passes into Lesotho contrasted with flat high-altitude plateaus and marshes around Wakkerstroom and with each location new birds abounded.

The 2016 Birdquest to South Africa continued our long run of successful trips to this classic birding destination. We saw a whole host of fantastic birds, including Southern Bald Ibis, Lammergeier, Black Harrier, Grey-winged Francolin, Blue and Wattled Cranes, six species of bustard, Cape Parrot, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Turaco and no less than 18 species of lark, including all four possible species of Long-billed Lark, Blue Swallow, three endemic tits, Bush Blackcap, Orange Ground Thrushes a plethora of chats, both Rockjumpers, Namaqua Warbler, Barratt’s, Knysna Victorin’s and even Cinnamon-breasted Warblers, Karoo Eremomela, Yellow- tufted and Yellow-breasted Pipits, Olive Bush-shrike, Southern Tchagra, both sugarbirds, Cape and Drakensburg Siskins, Black-headed and Protea Canaries. On the mammal front highlights included excellent views of Eland and Grey Rhebok.

African Penguin (Simon Mitchell)

African Penguin (Simon Mitchell)