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ULTIMATE SOUTH AFRICA

Friday 9th November - Monday 3rd December 2018

Martin Benadie

Cape Rockjumper (Martin Benadie)

Cape Rockjumper (Martin Benadie)

The 2018 Birdquest Ultimate South Africa tour was simply phenomenal! The southern tip of Africa is an oustanding birding destination and this tour delivered, with an amazingly high proportion of the targets (the hoped for endemics, regional endemics and specialities) being not only found, but also seen remarkably well. An incredible 529 bird species were seen on this trip (with a few more heard only) – a remarkable feat considering the Cape pelagic did not run owing adverse weather. The mammals also put in a good showing with 54 species observed, many of these also only rarely seen.

Top birds included the fantastic Pink-throated Twinspot, confiding Victorin’s and Barratt’s Warblers, magical Blue Swallows, the stunning Drakensberg Rockjumper, which along with its close relative the Cape Rockjumper, and the two sugarbirds (Cape and Gurney’s Sugarbirds), are all truly iconic species. Other memorable specials included the graceful Black Harrier, Green Barbet, the trio of wonderful cranes, Bokmakierie, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Karoo Eremomela and seven superb species of bustard. Colour was added by showy Rosy-faced Lovebird, vivid Gorgeous Bushshrike, Ground Woodpecker and three species of splendid turacos, elegance by Buff-streaked Chat, comedy by African Penguin and rarity by Rudd’s Lark and Taita Falcon. South Africa is well represented with the Alaudidae family as we saw 18 species of lark in what has to be the lark capital of the world. The great thing was that we saw them all well enough for all to appreciate their subtle differences. This of course just highlights a fraction of the wonderful and varied bird life encountered overall. But it wasn’t just the birds. We also notched up an impressive mammal list, including rarities such as Aardvark, Southern African Hedgehog and Aardwolf, enjoyed varied and wonderful scenery throughout, and all this whilst making the most of the excellent roads, accommodation and restaurants. South Africa is certainly a world-class birding destination with a quiet, rural atmosphere over much of the country.

Aardvaark (Martin Benadie)

Aardvaark (Martin Benadie)