South Africa: The Southwestern Cape & Kruger Park : Aug 18—Sep 02, 2017

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Price: $9,495
Internal flights included
Departs: Cape Town
Ends: Johannesburg
Tour Limit: 12
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (1.4 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Patrick Cardwell

Patrick Cardwell has been passionate about birding since his boyhood days in rural surroundi...


David Wolf

David Wolf is a senior member of the VENT staff and one of our most experienced tour leaders...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Cape Rockjumper

Cape Rockjumper— Photo: Clayton Burne/shutterstock


A country of contrasts, from the spectacular southwestern Cape to the temperate grasslands of the interior to the subtropical game country of the east. Our tour focuses on these three very different areas, each offering special birds, many of them endemic to southern Africa. Plus, the world-renowned Cape flora should be in full bloom at this season, while the Greater Kruger Conservancy is famous as one of the best game reserves in Africa, home to a full complement of mammals.

South Africa is so diverse that it has been called “a world in one country.” From the rugged coastline of the Cape through the temperate grasslands to the subtropical woodlands of Kruger, the terrain and wildlife are remarkably varied, making it a paradise for the visiting naturalist.

Our first week will be spent in the spectacular southwestern Cape, with its near-perfect Mediterranean climate and world-renowned flora. Endemism is the key word here, and because of its complex geography and long isolation, this region is home to an amazing number of birds, plants, and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. Habitats that we will visit include the twisted and folded mountains that plunge to the sea, protected patches of native prairie and coastal “fynbos” scrub, and the interior semi-deserts of the Karoo. In them we will seek a host of special birds ranging from penguins, cormorants, and bustards through a plethora of larks, flycatchers, and warblers to oddities like the elusive Cape Rockjumper.

An added bonus is a pelagic trip offshore into the rich Benguela Current, its waters literally teeming with tubenoses and other ocean birds. Our visit is timed for the southern spring, the best time of year to catch the famed Cape flora in full bloom. Many consider this to be the most spectacular wildflower display in the world.

Cape Buffalo, Kruger National Park

Cape Buffalo, Kruger National Park— Photo: EcoPrint/shutterstock


From the Cape we will fly to the opposite side of the country, to the Sabi Sands sector of the Greater Kruger Conservancy. This huge area has long been famous as one of the great game parks of the world and offers a very complete safari experience. It is home to all of “The Big Five,” plus a long list of other mammals including African Wild Dog, Cheetah, and Nyala. Birds are abundant in the subtropical woodlands and savannas and include many classic African species such as Ostrich, raptors, hornbills, and Lilac-breasted Roller, plus a wide variety of smaller ones. Based at the exclusive and well-appointed Notten’s Bush Camp, away from the crowds, our game drives here are sure to be action-packed and incredibly productive! 

An added bonus to a visit to South Africa is the great infrastructure for tourism. This agricultural and industrial giant is the only truly modern country on the continent, and the accommodations, food, and other facilities are excellent, while health problems are almost non-existent. Expert local leadership, an extensive system of parks and reserves, and a wealth of printed materials on the birds and other aspects of natural history add to the pleasure of visiting this unique part of the continent.

An optional extension will visit the tiny community of Wakkerstroom and the temperate grasslands of the interior plateau, where we will seek special endemic birds such as Southern Bald Ibis, Blue Bustard, Ground Woodpecker, and several larks, plus such African classics as Hamerkop and Secretary-bird.

Excellent accommodations; excellent food; moderately paced with easy walking; comfortable vehicles (including specially-designed safari vehicles for the game drives in Kruger); temperatures pleasantly cool to warm; possibly cold in Wakkerstroom.