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South Africa and Botswana - part III
October-November 2022

   
Itinerary:
South Africa
Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town
Table Mountain, Cape Town
Cape Penninsula, Cape Point
Boulders Beach, Western Cape
Botswana
Bakwena Lodge, Kasane
Chobe Riverfront, Chobe National Park
Moremi Game Reserve and Mboma Lagoon, Okavango Delta
Khwai Community Reserve, Okavango Delta
South Africa
Bot River Lagoon, Fisherhaven, Western Cape
Ebb & Flow Camp, Wilderness NP
Diepwalle Forest, Garden Route NP
De Hoop Nature Reserve


Synopsis

Fisherhaven, Bot River Lagoon
Our first stop along the coast was at the Bot River Lagoon. Chosen because it was only 90 minutes from Cape Town and on a lagoon that looked to have some promising wildlife. I had reserved an airbnb in what turned out to be a gated community. Although the house smelled of wet dog, it had a washer and dryer, which I had a good feeling we could use after being in the desert. Hand washing clothes only went so far. Indeed when we washed our clothes, we could see the red Kalahari sands swirl down the drain (the washer drained into the shower) with each water change. Despite the strong urge to explore the lagoon immediately, especially since there were new birds, including a displaying Pin-tailed Whydah, we were in need of food on the late Sunday evening. There weren’t many options closeby, so we tried a pub that wasn’t far from the house. We were lucky that they were still open and even luckier that they seemed agreeable enough to provide food for us. I had some doubts when we walked upstairs into a cloud of smoke with a few locals drinking beer and playing pool. The bartender was drinking with another local. They did a good job of not looking too put off when we ordered a couple of burgers or when I ordered juice. But the food was good in the sense of having a meal where there could have been nothing. We returned to the house in the dark. A pair of Spotted Thickknees stood in the middle of the road. I was eager to explore the area in the morning.
The morning was windy and overcast. We walked down to the beach and scoped out the lagoon. White-fronted, Common Ringed, and Kittiliz’s Plovers ran over the mudflats, Cape Teal and Red-billed Ducks rested on the beach, and a pair of Blue Cranes called from the far shore. Helmeted Guineafowl and Cape Spurfowl picked along the sandy beach, while a Southern Double-banded Sunbird gleaned among the flowers. Cape Canaries, Common Waxbills, and Cape Bulbuls foraged in the bushes. We spotted the wild horses that the community protected on the far side of the lagoon (if they were zebras it would have been so much better). A Malachite Sunbird displayed its impressive curved bill and metallic green feathers from high above, while Little and White-rumped Swifts hawked insects from the sky. There was no shortage of new and exciting birds in the area. But we had to pack up by mid-morning to get provisions in town and to drive to our next destination.

Wilderness National Park
From Bot River Lagoon, we drove to Hermanus for groceries and breakfast at a place ironically called Seattle Coffee Company. We made a brief stop along the Whale trail to check out the coast. Despite being completely surrounded by the town, the natural flora was amazing. Icicle plants (which were notoriously invasive in California, but native here), calla lilies, protea, strawflowers, and many unfamiliar plants grew in the narrow cracks in the granite. The wind was whipping in the morning, creating large white caps in the water and making it difficult to scan the waters for any whales, which should be present this time of year.
We continued our long drive to Wilderness (Garden Route) National Park, where we had rented a cabin for the night. The long drive on the 2-lane highway was made longer by the monotonous scenery of wheat, grain, and hay fields. However, we did see the occasional Wattled Starlings, Ostrich, and Blue Cranes in the fields.
We arrived at the Ebb & Flow campground by the afternoon. After checking in at the gate, we stopped at the visitor center to pick up our cabin key. The cabin was a cute round hut, which by the nature of being round had an awkward floor plan. The bed was pretty much in the center of the room, with the bathroom and kitchen shoved against the sides. At least we had warmth and running water. The campground with tent sites and cabins was edged by the Touw River and a short rocky cliff. To the north was a lush valley of green. A few private houses could be seen overlooking the valley. To the south was more housing, a water treatment plant, the highway, and the ocean.
We still had some daylight left and decided to hike the nearby Half-collared Kingfisher trail, which followed the Touw River through the forested valley. Along the forested trail, birds called from the tops of the yellowwood trees and grape vine tangles. In an opening of the forest, a Black Sawwing cut through the sky and a Forest Canary warbled from the dense brush. An Olive Thrush and a Chorister Robin-Chat scolded us in the dim forest understory. An African Dusky Flycatcher tended to its partner that was sitting in a tree cavity. Above the valley, Hadada Ibises flew while screaming their raucous namesake calls. Two Fork-tailed Drongos flew into a tree shortly followed by a pair of Black-bellied Starlings, which were followed by a pair of Knysna Turacos. We managed to find a good angle to view the turacos in the quickly dimming light. Though the photos weren’t great, we at least got great views of them and listened to their calls. We hiked back as dusk set in. African Wood-owls began calling within the dense forest. As we approached our hut, a bulbul chased a Spotted Eagle-owl over the Touw River. It was a good way to end the day. Thankful for the shelter and warmth from the cool windy night, we tucked into our little round cabin.
The next morning started off cooler than expected. The wind and river really cooled down the night air. While eating breakfast on the front steps of our cabin, I was startled by a Fork-tailed Drongo that tried to assess my food by hovering a foot in front of my face. This particular bird gave new light to the ones I had been seeing in the wilds of Botswana!
After bundling up, we set out for the Half-collared Kingfisher trail. We didn’t make it far before spotting a pair of turacos feeding in the bushes near the campground. Despite the growing light of the morning, the birds seemed to stay perfectly hidden in the shade of the dense brush. Greater Double-collared Sunbirds, African Dusky Flycatcher, and Cape White-eyes also flitted around the flowers and fruit of the scrub. After about 30 minutes of aiming the binoculars and cameras at every angle into the same bush, we crossed the bridge over the Touw River to the trailhead.
Along the Half-collared Kingfisher trail, bird song was noticeably more abundant in the morning. Sombre Greenbuls belted out their most piercing calls and songs. Turacos croaked deeply from the treetops, and occasionally we heard the Narnia Trogons in the distant ravine forest. We never caught sight of any, but we’re happy to hear them join the morning chorus. Of course there were many other songs that I couldn’t identify, so I was reliant on catching glimpses of Southern Boubous, Terrestrial Brownbul, Lemon Doves, and African Fairy Flycatchers.
We crossed the Touw River by the pontoon that we pulled over the brown calm water. And continued up the trail that followed the river, stopping often to watch Olive Woodpeckers, Speckled Doves, and more Knysna Turacos.
Having to check out of our cabin by 10:00 AM, we turned around on the trail before making it to the waterfall at the end of the trail. But the journey was worth much more than a waterfall. I was happy to have a productive morning birding along the beautiful Touw River in some beautiful forest.
After returning the cabin keys, we drove to other parts of Wilderness National Park. Much of the park was spread out in pockets along a chain of lakes. Most of the neighboring land was private housing and ranches. At the Malachite blind, we didn’t see much other than Red-knobbed Coots. The wind had started to blow pretty hard by mid-morning, and there were white caps on the lake. In the attempt to get to the Mole-rat trailhead via local roads, we spent close to an hour turning in circles before realizing road construction blocked the way and no detour was put into place. We were still learning that signage was lacking in South Africa. There weren’t any signs to the national parks, so GPS and Google Maps were essential for getting around (unless you had a guide). This is also not to say the road infrastructure along the coast was lacking. The roads were perfectly good (paved, lined, clean, and surprisingly no potholes - I’d say better than the roads in my town!), but the lack of signs for tourists was a little frustrating.
After finally reaching the Mole-rat trailhead, we went to the blind that overlooked Ronde Vlei but the wind was still blowing pretty hard. There were large groups of coots along the reeds and a large raft of Eared Grebes in the middle of the lake. Some of the grebes were in breeding plumage.
We calculated that we only had an hour to walk the Mole-rat trail, since we didn’t know when we needed to check into our next campground. Plus, we needed to stop in town for more groceries and find a blanket. According to our reservations, linens weren’t provided for the tented platform in the Diepwalle Forest. All we had packed were our sleeping bag liners (due to luggage space and weight constraints) and nights so far were much cooler than expected.
The Mole-rat trail took us through habitat we hadn’t yet explored - coastal scrub filled with sedges, tall grasses, and soft sand. The trail was pocked with sandy mole hills that were hazards when a tunnel wall collapsed under foot. The heat of the day and the sun made travel slightly more treacherous, but we were rewarded with sights of Rock Martins gliding overhead, Yellow Bishops in the tall reeds, and Swee Waxbills flitting along the trail. A small plague of locus moved in the grass and a large leopard tortoise crawled out of the grass right when we had to turn back to go to our next destination.

Diepwalle Forest, Garden Route National Park
After finding our supplies in town, we missed the road to the forest because, again, there were no signs pointing to the national parks. Also we weren’t expecting the road to be surrounded by hovels on either side. After driving past the makeshift homes of corrugated tin, plywood and shipping containers (interestingly satellite dishes and electricity were common on the small houses), we entered a plantation thick with pine and eucalyptus. Were we on the right road? This wasn’t what I expected. But soon the eucalyptus gave way to yellowwoods and native scrub. The trees grew taller and more diverse.
We finally saw a sign for the Diepwalle Forest and drove up to the office where absolutely no one was around. We circled the parking area for any signs or people, then decided to go to the tent platforms. One other couple was at their site, and we asked if they knew anything about checking in. Turned out they had been in the same boat, but managed to find someone to point them to their site. The camp staff told the couple that another group (us) was coming later in the day, and that if the couple saw us to tell us which was our site and that the keys were inside the door. What luck! We pulled into the site. Instead of a nylon tent on a platform that I was expecting, there was a small cabin made of wood and canvas. The twin beds inside had sheets, comforters, and pillows. There was even electricity inside. I was so dubious that this was our site that we looked at the other sites to see if they had cabins as well, which they did. Within the past couple of years, the park must have upgraded the platform tents to more permanent structures. I wasn’t complaining!
After getting settled, we walked the grounds to check out the elephant trailheads. The bottlebrush trees were hopping with sunbirds - Greater and Southern Double-collared and Amethyst were feeding on the fuzzy red flowers. We hiked down to the King Edwards VII tree - named after him because the local British people held a picnic for him there during a visit. Even in the dimming light, it was an impressive yellowwood. Its knobby flaky tree trunk stood at 6 meters in circumference.
We returned to our cabin as the night continued to cool (even more thankful for the recent accommodation upgrades), and fireflies blinked around our cabin. A group of German students had taken up residence across the grounds on the group platform. The distance between us did little to dampen their whooping and laughter though. Still I managed to drift to sleep with the chirps of crickets and an African Wood-owl calling close by.
In the morning, more sunbirds were feeding on the bottlebrush flowers. Around the field station, pairs of Hooded Orioles and Gray Cuckooshrikes flew into the tree canopy. A pair of African Wagtails picked along the lawn. After shaking a local dog from following us, we hiked down the Black Elephant Trail into the tall forest. There’s a level of inherent difficulty when birding under tall trees as most birds prefer the canopy where the fruit, bugs, and flowers were. However, we saw a lot of wildlife in the understory - a small stinkhorn growing in the moss, bright orange fungus covering rotting logs, black millipedes and orange-rimmed cockroaches traversing the leaf litter, and a Knysna dwarf chameleon clinging to a twig. We also spotted some birds in the understory - Yellow-throated Wood-Wablers, (the ever present) Cape White-eyes, Black-backed Puffbirds, Cape Batis, and Olive Thrush. We even saw the common Green-backed Camaroptera displaying with a cocked up tail and fanned out wings in the brush. In the canopy, we saw Green Wood-hoopoes, Olive Woodpeckers, and Kynasa Turacos. Most exciting were the pair of Narina Trogons. We heard trogons calling throughout the day, but we were fortunate that we came closer to the elusive birds and were able to spot them before they flew deeper into the forest.
Near the road, a troop of velvet monkeys jumped from limb to limb, stopping to browse on a few ripe fruits. They watched us warily as they passed within 20 feet of us. An African Paradise Flycatcher danced around us as we ate our lunch on the picnic benches next to the road.
At a lilypad-covered pond beside the road, we flushed a Forest Buzzard. Cape River Frogs hid in the dense vegetative cover of the pond. Back at camp, we spent the afternoon watching the sunbird and white-eyes feed in the bottlebrush tree. Gray stream frogs gathered at a water collection basin, ready to hop away upon approaching. The tea house was open, and we treated ourselves to a slice of milk tart and rooibos tea. The German students were still around. Their reason for being there was still unclear. They only seemed to talk loudly and roam from one part of the grounds to another with the chaperones only vaguely keeping an eye on them.
Sunset was a blaze of pink and orange, finally adding color to the heavily overcast day. A single firefly blink around the lawn, and a small bat fluttered overhead. At night, a large guttural toad hopped around the entrance of the bathroom.
Next morning brought a shroud of thick mist that blew in waves. We watched the birds in the bottlebrush tree. Unperturbed by the mist, the sunbirds and white-eyes were busy feeding on the nectar and chasing each other. Once the office opened, we checked out and headed down the mountain and through the shanty town toward our last stay for the trip: De Hoop Nature Reserve.

De Hoop Nature Reserve
We retraced our path and returned west back through the sea of golden farmland. After passing a lot of trucks and farm equipment on the road, we turned onto the dirt road toward the ocean and the reserve. Although the previous two National Park campgrounds and the De Hoop Nature Reserve were all owned by the South African government, the reserve was run separately and differently from the national parks. The reserve seemed more commercial with better advertising - more package deals, tours, a wider range of accommodations - and a separate website system (which was much better than the SANI, National Parks website).
On the farm roads into the reserve, flocks of Red Bishop, Yellow Canaries, African Pied Starlings, and Capped Wheatears flew upon our car’s approach. Pairs of Blue Crane grazed the harvested fields. Common Buzzards and a Jackal Buzzards scanned the fields from the fence posts. A single steenbok climbed up the hill of a wheat field. We arrived at De Hoop Nature Reserve gate house in the early afternoon. As we neared the De Hoop Collection (the name for the collection of cabins, bungalow, cottages, office, dining hall, and campground), we spotted Bontebok resting next to the road. As with most wildlife that we’ve soon far, the bontebok were completely unfazed by traffic. Upon turning onto the road into the Collection, we saw even more Bontebok. As we were watching the Bontebok grazing, a disturbance brought our attention to a Gray Cape Mongoose being harassed by two Crowned Lapwings. The lapwings mobbed the running mongoose as it dove for cover in a line of bushes. Closer to the Collection, Cape Mountain Zebra and Eland grazed the shone green fields dotted with the occasional starling or lapwing, mats of icicle plants, and ungulate poops.
The afternoon was overcast and very drizzly. We picnicked in the campground under the trees with a wet Southern Fiscal who coughed up a pellet, then snatched a piece of fallen bread from my sandwich. The Eurasian Hoopoes looked bedraggled with their rain soaked crests. The Bontebok continued to graze nearby. Looking into the Vlei, cormorants and Cape Teal flew over the water.
We checked into our accommodation, which was a fully furnished cottage with a kitchen, dining area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. It was more than we needed, but was the least expensive housing available at the time.
After settling into our room and tea to warm up. We walked the lakeside trail from the Collection. Speckled Mousebirds ate the leaves on the brush. A Rock Kestrel cruised low over the fynbos. The conspicuous Karoo Pirinia chattered, and a Pied Barbet hid in the dense brush. Greater Striped and Barn Swallows glided over the lake. A slightly damp, yet still flashy male Bokmakierie sang atop a bush. When a large flock of flamingos flew south over the lake, we decided to drive to the end of the De Hoop Vlei to see if they landed down there. Even in the dampened weather, the drive through the low growing fynbos was enjoyable with the environment being both novel and beautiful. Closer to the end of the lake, a large white sand dune covered in vegetation at the edges spread out toward the ocean and to the east.
At the end of the lake, we found the large group of Greater Flamingos feeding on the far side of the water. Though they were a good distance away, we could see them well enough through the spotting scope. More flamingos flew in and gathered in the shallows. Scoping out the rest of the lake, we spotted Great Crested Grebes in breeding plumage, South African Shelducks, a single Pied Avocet, and many Red-knobbed coots.
We returned to the Collection in the evening for dinner at their Fig Tree Restaurant. Where we had salmon roulade, pork chops, and volcano cake. The food was pretty good, minus the many, many kids that seemed to surround our table. After dinner, we returned to our cabin to pack and prepare for our trip home the following night.
Our last day in South Africa, we awoke to drizzle and a dark gray sky. We packed up and drove out to the coast, stopping to admire the bontebok, eland, Yellow Canary, and Common Ostriches all in various degrees of being rain-soaked. The drizzle turned to rain and back to drizzle without signs of letting up.
At Koppie Allen, we hiked over the wet white sand trying to keep our optics dry while taking the time to absorb the flora of the fynbos and white sand dunes. African giant snails slide along the damp sand. Black Oystercatchers and Cape Cormorants feed among the rocky tide pools. A few bluebottles peppered the sandy beaches. A heavy mist hung over the ocean limiting visibility. We wouldn’t be seeing any whales from here. After a brief walk along the white sand dunes, we returned to the car as the drizzle finally started to let up. Despite the desire to stay longer and enjoy everything, we had a timeline for the day as our flight out of the Cape Town airport was that night
After checking out of our cabin, we drove out of the reserve and stopped along the road for a troop of Chacma baboons and to walk among blooming proteas and other fynbos plants.
We went to Potsberg, a part of the reserve that has the only endangered Cape Griffon (Vulture) roost. We climbed the Klipspringer trail up the hillside of fynbos mixed with a few recognizable invasives (eucalyptus, black wattle). I was blown away by the plant diversity and the number of blooms. We had come in late spring, past the peak flower season. However, there were so many beautiful flowers - many of which I had no idea what they were.
As we climbed the steep little hill, we looked up to see a stream of Cape Griffons glide effortlessly overhead. In the distance down over the trail, we could see a kettle of them circling presumably above their roost. Near the top of the hill, we stopped to watch a pair of vultures who had landed on the exposed rocks cross the gully. A White-necked Raven took offense to their presence and chased them off one by one. With the higher elevation, a few of the vultures were now low enough for decent pictures. After a few good opportunities for shots and not getting far on the trail, we turned back down the hill to the car..
After lunch at the Potsberg visitor center, we began to make our way back to Cape Town through the surrounding agricultural land. Occasionally we’d stop to look at the common and beautiful Red Bishops, Blue Cranes, and a pair of Karoo Bustards.
We stopped in Hermanus again. The popular touristy town was known for whale viewing opportunities and probably the best opportunity to pick up tchotchkes to remember the trip. After getting our fill of trinkets from the open air souvenir market along the waterfront, we made an effort to look for whales. We walked along a waterfront path, while scanning the ocean. But we weren’t at the best angle to view directly into the ocean with its somewhat low visibility. We did, however, come across a colony of Rock Hyrax. They were practically on the park lawn that ran along the beachfront. They were also among the rocky outcrops above the ocean in a more natural setting. It was fun seeing them again and felt like coming full circle having seen them at the beginning of this trip.
After a final organization of our bags for the flight home and stopping for a decent dinner at an Indian restaurant, we finally returned to Cape Town airport for our long flights home (though thankfully not as long as the ones to South Africa).
I was happy with how our trip went. Reflecting on how long it had taken to happen and all the stress and anticipation behind it, I am thankful we were able to capture so many great memories. We saw so much in a relatively short amount of time. Our time on the safari and on our road trip was spent rushing around to the next and new thing. I’d like to take everything in at a slower pace on a return trip. For many people, safaris are a once in a lifetime trip. In my life, I hope it won’t be my only one.


Here are a few things I would have liked to have known or was glad to have done in preparation for the trip:

My safari tips:
Be mentally and physically ready to sit all day long. This was difficult for me as I’m used to propelling myself forward. My tooshie didn’t appreciate the inactivity, the inability to move around often, or the bumps and bouncing it endured. Long haul truckers have aftermarket cushions that they use. If you have a delicate bottom, consider bringing your own cushion. I tried using a neck pillow, which wasn’t the right shape.

Related to sitting all day, I recommend compression socks especially if you have circulation problems. But it is a good precaution for anyone. Sitting for long periods of time can cause health issues.

Bring your binoculars. While I like taking pictures, I also like studying the animals in real time. There are also times when something is just too far away for a good picture so you might as well enjoy looking at it with both eyes.

If you want to take pictures, get a good camera and know how to use it. If you are fortunate, there might be a place in your hometown where you can rent a camera instead of shelling out the $$$$ to buy one for yourself. This might be an attractive option if you don’t do photography often. But you have to know how to use the camera. So whether you decide to own or rent, know how to use it before you go. Nothing is worse than spending time frustrated at your camera or trying to figure out how to use your camera instead of taking pictures of the lion that’s right in front of you. Also the cameras in phones are great, but they don’t have an optical zoom. While animals can be close to the car, they will still be at a distance where, through an iPhone, a lion or leopard will look like a house cat.

Hire a good guide. Self-drives may seem adventurous and you will see stuff, but not nearly as much when there’s a guide to track animals and know their behavior. Plus you don’t have to worry as much about getting yourself into a bad situation. Also hire a private guide if you can afford one. The cars with 9-12 people in the back who don’t know each other look uncomfortable. And how sucky is it to be stuck in the middle with someone else's head in your shot or in your view?

Mobile tent camping is awesome. You’re literally in the middle of the action and accommodations that the mobile tent camp guides provide are great.

I really liked our guide, Chris. He was very knowledgeable and had great guiding chops. But I would have loved to have a female, native Botswananian guide. I saw a few of the latter guides that we crossed paths with. But a female guide is a rare thing. Why? - it’s not because they are a “lesser” sex that don’t possess the abilities to guide. It’s because like so many other industries in the entire world, it’s male-dominated and very machismo. The only way to break it, is to seek and support female guides. Also supporting the locals is important to show the local community the value of wildlife.

For many people (Americans especially, because it’s a greater distance than from Europe), safaris are once in a lifetime experiences. So don’t skimp. Get a good guide. Get a good mobile tent camping operation. Spend more than a week on safari. Four nights in the bush will seem like nothing.

My tips for driving and traveling in South Africa (at least the coastal area):
For the 2-lane roads, there was an etiquette for allowing cars behind you to pass. (For Americans, I know this is a tough thing because following the road etiquette means we have to pay attention and be courteous to other drivers.) If a car approached from behind (meaning they were traveling faster than you were), keep driving but pull into the shoulder to allow them to pass. Generally the 2-lane roads had shoulders wide enough to easily fit a car (most cars in South Africa were reasonably sized, not gargantuan American). The shoulders and roads were clean in South Africa, so you didn’t have to worry about running over something sharp. If there’s only a small shoulder, you should still pull into the shoulder (again keeping your original speed), to allow the car to pass safely. Conversely, if you approached a car traveling slower than you, if they weren’t a tourist, they would likely pull into the shoulder to allow you to pass. Pass them and as acknowledgement of thanks, hit the hazard button for a couple of blinks. All of this I learned, while traveling the few days on the road. It was an efficient and safe way of traveling the 2-lane roads without causing road rage, which Americans are known for.

It was common for locals to stand at intersections either with their thumbs up or holding out a rand bill. They were looking for a ride in that direction. Just something to keep in mind if you were driving on the shoulder to let someone pass - don’t do it near the town intersections because someone could be standing in it!

Plan on using your phone for directions. I know pretty much everyone nowadays uses their phone to navigate everywhere, even when going to or from familiar places. But we found the signage for the natural areas and national parks were completely absent. We had to rely on Google Maps. We rented a GPS unit from the rental car company, but it was old and out of date (also those units were never as quick and simple compared to the constantly updated phone apps). Conversely Google wasn’t always right, especially in the small communities where the road names weren’t widely recognized.

Don’t be surprised if the car rental place charges you for gas even if you filled it right before you return it. I was charged for a liter of gas even though I filled it at the gas station closest to the airport car rental return. It was a common complaint I saw for all of the car rental companies at the Cape Town airport. So either the gas station wasn’t filling all the tanks to the top (to get a cut of profits from the car rentals?), or the rental companies know how to make a few extra bucks from international tourists. It was a despicable practice either way.

There could be random police checkpoints along the road to check for the driver’s license. I guess it’s a problem there that people drive without a license.

Try the jerky. They were different than the stuff in the States - both in texture, meat type, and flavor. We had kudu/gemsbok/springbok jerky, ostrich jerky and sticks, and fatty beef. All were unique and quite tasty.

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Pictures (click on thumbnail to view)












































































































A brief overview of the Wildlife of the Western Cape, South Africa
A brief glimpse of the wildlife seen along the Western Cape of South Africa. Places included: Diepwalle Forest, Wilderness National Park, De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Knysna Turaco calling and eating
On the Half-collared Kingfisher trail in Garden Route (Wilderness) National Park of South Africa, a Knysna Turaco feeds on leaves in the tree top. The calls of 2 other turacos can be heard in the background.
Greater Flamingos in the De Hoop Nature Reserve
A flock of Greater Flamingos flies over the De Hoop Vlei in the Western Cape of South Africa.

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Bird List
 
Common Ostrich CP,MG,DH
White-faced Whistling-Duck CR,MG,KH
Knob-billed Duck CR
Egyptian Goose CP,CR,MG,KH,BR,V,EF,EF,DH
South African Shelduck DH
Spur-winged Goose BL,CR,MG,MB,KH,BR,DH
African Pygmy-Goose MG
Blue-billed Teal MG
Cape Shoveler BR,DH
Yellow-billed Duck MG,BR
Cape Teal BR,DH
Red-billed Duck CR,MG,BR,DH
Southern Pochard DH
Maccoa Duck V
Helmeted Guineafowl TM,CP,CR,MG,KH,BR,DH
Crested Francolin CR,MG,KH
Gray-winged Francolin DH
Red-billed Spurfowl CR,MG,KH
Cape Spurfowl BR,DH
Swainson's Spurfowl MG,KH
Greater Flamingo DH
Little Grebe V,DH
Great Crested Grebe DH
Eared Grebe (Black-necked) MR,DH
Rock Pigeon Drive to Maun
Speckled Pigeon TM,CB
Rameron Pigeon (African Olive) EF
Lemon Dove EF,DF
Red-eyed Dove CB,MG,KH,EF,DF,DH
Ring-necked Dove CR,MG,KH,BR,EF,DH
Laughing Dove BL,MG
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove BL,CR,MG,KH
Namaqua Dove MG,KH,BR
African Green-Pigeon MB
Double-banded Sandgrouse MG,KH
Burchell's Sandgrouse Drive to Maun
Kori Bustard MG,KH
Karoo Bustard West Cape Roadside
Red-crested Bustard MG,KH
Knysna Turaco EF,EF,MR,DF
Gray Go-away-bird CR,MG,MB,KH
Senegal Coucal CR,MG,KH
Coppery-tailed Coucal MG,MB,KH
White-browed Coucal BL
Black Coucal MG
Pied Cuckoo (Jacobin) KH
African Cuckoo Drive to Maun
Fiery-necked Nightjar KH (heard only)
Alpine Swift TM,EF
African Swift TM
Little Swift BR
White-rumped Swift TM,BR,DH
African Palm Swift BL,MG,MB
Eurasian Moorhen MG
Red-knobbed Coot BR,MR,DH
Black Crake CR,MG,MB,KH
Gray Crowned-Crane CR
Blue Crane BR
Wattled Crane MG
Water Thick-knee CR,MG,KH,DH
Spotted Thick-knee KH,BR
Black-winged Stilt CR,MG,KH,BR,DH
Pied Avocet DH
African Oystercatcher CB,CB,CP,DH
Long-toed Lapwing MG,KH
Blacksmith Lapwing CR,MG,KH,BR,DH
White-headed Lapwing (White-crowned) CR
Crowned Lapwing MG,DH
Kittlitz's Plover MG,BR
Common Ringed Plover BR,DH
Three-banded Plover MG,BR
White-fronted Plover BR,DH
Greater Painted-Snipe CR
African Jacana CR,MG,MB,KH
Ruff CR,MG
Little Stint MG,BR,DH
African Snipe CR,MG
Common Sandpiper CR,MG,KH,DH
Common Greenshank CR,MG,DH
Marsh Sandpiper MG
Wood Sandpiper CR,MG
Common Redshank MG
Collared Pratincole CR,MG,KH
Gray-hooded Gull (Gray-headed) CR
Hartlaub's Gull CB,BR
Kelp Gull CB,CP,BR,MR,DH,DH
Caspian Tern DH
Whiskered Tern CR,MG,MB,DH
Great Crested Tern CB
Sandwich Tern CB
African Skimmer CR,MG
African Penguin BB
African Openbill CR,MG,MB,KH
Saddle-billed Stork MG,KH
Marabou Stork CR,MG,MB,KH
Yellow-billed Stork CR,MG,MB,KH
African Darter CR,MG,MB,KH,MR,DH
Long-tailed Cormorant (Reed) BL,CR,MB,BR,V,EF,MR,DH
Crowned Cormorant CB
Cape Cormorant CB,CB,CP
Great Cormorant (White-breasted) CB,CR,MG,V,EF,MR,DH
Great White Pelican MG
Pink-backed Pelican MG
Hamerkop MG,MB,KH
Little Bittern MB
Gray Heron CR,MG,MB,KH,BR,V,EF,DH
Black-headed Heron CP
Goliath Heron CR,MG,MB,KH
Purple Heron CR,MB
Great Egret BL,CR,MG,MB,KH,DH
Intermediate Egret (Yellow-billed) CR,MG,KH,DH
Little Egret CR,MG,KH,MR
Slaty Egret MG
Black Heron CR,MG,KH
Cattle Egret CR,MG,KH,DH
Squacco Heron CR,MG,MB,KH
Rufous-bellied Heron KH
Striated Heron (Green-backed) CR,MG,MB,KH
Black-crowned Night-Heron CR,MB
Glossy Ibis CR,MG,MB,BR
African Sacred Ibis CP,CR,MG,MB,KH,BR,DH
Hadada Ibis CB,CP,MG,MB,KH,EF,EF,DF,DH
African Spoonbill CR,MG,MB,DH
Osprey MR
Black-winged Kite MB
White-headed Vulture MG
Lappet-faced Vulture MG
Hooded Vulture CR,MG
White-backed Vulture MG,KH
Cape Griffon DH
Bateleur MG,KH
Brown Snake-Eagle MG,KH
Lesser Spotted Eagle KH
Wahlberg's Eagle KH
Ayres's Hawk-Eagle KH
Tawny Eagle MG,KH
Steppe Eagle MG
African Hawk-Eagle MG,KH
African Marsh-Harrier CR,MB,MR
Black Harrier DH
Black Kite (Yellow-billed) CR,MG,KH, DF
African Fish-Eagle CR,MG,MB,KH,EF
Common Buzzard CB,CP
Jackal Buzzard West Cape Roadside
Forest Buzzard DF
Barn Owl MB
African Scops-Owl MG (heard only)
Southern White-faced Owl KH (heard only)
Spotted Eagle-Owl EF
Verreaux's Eagle-Owl MG,KH
Pearl-spotted Owlet CR,MG,KH
African Barred Owlet MG,KH
African Wood-Owl EF,DF
Speckled Mousebird EF,MR,DH
Red-faced Mousebird BB
Narina Trogon EF,DF
Eurasian Hoopoe CR,MG,MR,DH
Green Woodhoopoe MG,KH,DF
Common Scimitarbill MG
Southern Ground-Hornbill MG
Bradfield's Hornbill MG,KH
African Gray Hornbill CR,MG,KH
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill MG,KH
Southern Red-billed Hornbill CR,MG,KH
Malachite Kingfisher BL,CR,MB,KH
Woodland Kingfisher MG
Brown-hooded Kingfisher MG
Pied Kingfisher CR,MG,MB,KH,BR,DH
White-fronted Bee-eater MG,MB
Little Bee-eater CR,MG,KH
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater CR,MG,KH
European Bee-eater CR,MG
Southern Carmine Bee-eater CR,MG,MB
Lilac-breasted Roller CR,MG,KH
Racket-tailed Roller CR
Broad-billed Roller MG,KH
Crested Barbet CR,MG
Pied Barbet DH
Black-collared Barbet MG
Greater Honeyguide Drive to Maun
Cardinal Woodpecker DH
Bearded Woodpecker MG,KH
Olive Woodpecker EF
Bennett's Woodpecker KH
Golden-tailed Woodpecker KH
Rock Kestrel CP,DH
Dickerson's Kestrel MG
Meyer's Parrot MG,MB,KH
Gray Cuckooshrike DF
African Black-headed Oriole DF
Cape Batis EF,DF
Chinspot Batis CR,MG
White Helmetshrike (Yellow-eyed) MG
Black-backed Puffback BL,MG,KH
Black-crowned Tchagra MG
Brown-crowned Tchagra MG
Southern Tchagra DH
Gabon Boubou BL,CR,MB
Southern Boubou EF,DF,DH
Crimson-breasted Gonolek (Shrike) West Coast Roadside
Bokmakierie DH
Fork-tailed Drongo BL,CR,MG,KH,EF,MR,DH
African Crested-Flycatcher EF
African Paradise-Flycatcher BL,MG
Magpie Shrike CR,MG,KH
Southern Fiscal TM,DH
White-crowned Shrike Drive to Maun
Pied Crow CP
Cape Crow West Coast Roadside
White-necked Raven DH
Southern Black-Tit MG
Fawn-colored Lark KH
Red-capped Lark DH
lark sp. MG
Cape Crombec CR
Cape Grassbird DH
Green-backed Camaroptera (Green-backed)
 (Gray-backed)
CR,DF
BL,MG
Bar-throated Apalis EF,DH
Tawny-flanked Prinia BL,MG
Karoo Prinia CP,BR,DH
Red-faced Cisticola BL
Rattling Cisticola MG,KH
Red-headed Cisticola (Gray-backed) DH
Luapula Cisticola CR
Chirping Cisticola MB
Piping Cisticola (Neddicky) TM
Plain Martin (Brown-throated) MG,DH
Rock Martin MR,DH
Barn Swallow MG,MB,KH,BR,DH
White-throated Swallow CR,DH
Wire-tailed Swallow CR
Lesser Striped Swallow BL,KH
Greater Striped Swallow DH
Rufous-chested Swallow (Red-breasted) CR
Black Sawwing EF,MR
Gray-rumped Swallow MG
Sombre Greenbul EF,EF,MR,DF,DH
Yellow-bellied Greenbul BL
Terrestrial Brownbul EF
Common Bulbul (Dark-capped) BL,MG,MB,KH
Cape Bulbul CB,CP,BR,V,MR,DH,DH,BB
Black-fronted Bulbul (African Red-eyed) MG,MB
Willow Warbler MG
Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler DF
Cape White-eye TM,CB,CP,EF,EF,DF
Southern Yellow White-eye BL
Arrow-marked Babbler CR,MG,KH
Southern Pied-Babbler MG,KH
Hartlaub's Babbler BL,MG
Red-billed Oxpecker CR,MG,KH
Yellow-billed Oxpecker KH
European Starling CB,BR,DH
Wattled Starling MG
Common Myna Drive to Maun
Violet-backed Starling MG
Red-winged Starling TM,CB,CB,CP,EF,DH,DH
Black-bellied Starling EF
Burchell's Starling MG,KH
Meves's Starling MG,KH
African Pied Starling DH
Greater Blue-eared Starling CR,MG
Olive Thrush EF,EF,DF,DH
African Dusky Flycatcher EF,EF
Mariqua Flycatcher BL
Fiscal Flycatcher BR,DH
Southern Black-Flycatcher CR
Bearded Scrub-Robin CR
Red-backed Scrub-Robin (White-browed) CR
Cape Robin-Chat TM,CB,CP,EF,DH
White-browed Robin-Chat BL
Chorister Robin-Chat EF,EF
African Stonechat MG,MB,KH
Arnot's Chat MG
Capped Wheatear DH
Familiar Chat TM,CP
Cape Sugarbird TM,DF
Collared Sunbird BL,EF,DF
Orange-breasted Sunbird TM
Mouse-colored Sunbird (Gray) EF
Amethyst Sunbird CR,EF,DF
Scarlet-chested Sunbird MG
Malachite Sunbird BR
Southern Double-collared Sunbird TM,BR,EF,DF,DH
Greater Double-collared Sunbird EF,DF
White-breasted Sunbird CR,MG
Copper Sunbird BL
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver MG,KH
Scaly Weaver MG
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver MG
Red-headed Weaver CR,MG,KH
Cape Weaver DH
Holub's Golden-Weaver BL
Southern Brown-throated Weaver BL
Southern Masked-Weaver MG
Village Weaver BL
Red-billed Quelea CR,MG,MB,KH
Southern Red Bishop Cape Town, Roadside
Yellow Bishop MR
Fan-tailed Widowbird MB
Swee Waxbill MR
Common Waxbill BR,MR
Southern Cordonbleu BL,MG,KH
Green-winged Pytilia CR
Red-billed Firefinch KH
Jameson's Firefinch MG
Brown Firefinch BL
Eastern Paradise-Whydah CR,KH
Pin-tailed Whydah BR
Village Indigobird MG
House Sparrow CP,DH
Cape Sparrow BR,EF
Southern Gray-headed Sparrow MG,KH
Cape Wagtail CB,CR,MG,MB,KH,BR,DF,DH
Western Yellow Wagtail MG
African Pied Wagtail CR,KH
African Pipit CR,MG,KH
Nicholson's Pipit BR,DH
Plain-backed Pipit MG
Forest Canary EF
Yellow Canary DH
Cape Canary BR
Golden-breasted Bunting CR,MG
Cape Bunting CP,DH
Critters:
Mascarene ridge frog KH
Muller's Xenopus KH
Cape River Frog DF
Gray Stream Frog DF
Leopard Tortoise MG, MR
Variable Skink BL, CR
Walhberg's striped skink CR
Tropical House Gecko Camps Bay, BL
Common Dwarf Gecko BL, DF
Fishcer's Thick-toed Gecko MG
Guttural Toad BL
Raucous toad DF
Spiny Gridle Lizard Table Mountain, Cape Peninsula
Southern Rock Agama Table Mountain
Kynsna Dwarf Chameleon DF
Flap-neck Chameleon BL, DF
Nile Monitor CR, MG, KH
Nile Crocodile CR, MG, KH
Four-striped grass mouse DH
Peter's Epualetted Fruit Bat BL
bat sp. DF
South African Fur Seal Cape Peninsula
Long-beaked Common Dolphin Cape Peninsula
Scrub hare DH
Cape Gray Mongoose DH
Common Slender Mongoose CR, MG, KH
Dwarf Mongoose MG, KH
Banded Mongoose MG, KH
Tree Squirrel (Smith's bush) CR, MG, KH
Cape hyrax CB,EF, Hermanus
Southern small-spotted Genet BL (game camera)
Cape Genet EF (game camera)
Honey badger (Ratel) MG, KH
Chacma baboon CR, MG, KH, DH
Velvet Monkey MG, KH, DF
Black-striped Jackal CR, MG, KH
Side-striped Jackal KH (heard only)
African Painted Dog MG
Spotted Hyena MG
Common Warthog CR, MG, KH
Bushbuck BL
Steenbok MG, Drive to Maun
Steenbok (Albany) West Coast roadside
Impala CR, MG, KH
Lechwe CR, MG, KH
Southern Reedbuck MG
Waterbuck CR, MG, KH
Sitatunga MB
Roan Antelope Drive to Khwai
Sable Antelope Drive to Khwai
Common Eland CP,DH
Bontenbok CP,DH
Plains Zebra (Chapman's) CR, MG, KH
Cape Moutain Zebra DH
Greater Kudu CR, MG, KH
South African Giraffe CR, MG, KH
Blue Wildebeest CR, MG, KH
African buffalo CR, MG, KH
Hippopotamus CR, MG, KH
African Bush Elephant CR, MG, KH
Lion CR, MG, KH
African leopard CR (1), KH (2)

South Africa
Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town (CB)
Table Mountain, Cape Town (TM)
Cape Penninsula, Cape Point (CP)
Boulders Beach (BB)
Bot River Lagoon, Fisherhaven (BR)
Vermont Salt Pan, Vermont (V)
Half-collared Kingfisher trail, Ebb & Flow Camp, Wilderness NP (EF)
Rondevlei Bird Hide, Molerat Trail, Wilderness NP (MR)
Diepwalle Forest, Garden Route NP (DF)
De Hoop Nature Reserve (DH)

Botswana
Bakwena Lodge, Kasane Botswana (BL)
Chobe Riverfront, Chobe National Park (CR)
Moremi Game Reserve (MG)
Mboma boat tour (MB)
Khwai Community Reserve (KH)

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page updated: 12/21/22