Our bird ringing / bird banding expeditions also provide fabulous opportunities for further travel within South Africa. We highlight just a few recommendations below. Each recommendation could be done in a week if you want to do justice to the option and allow for a relaxed travel schedule. Some options are better in certain seasons – feel free to consult with us about your timing.
Cape Town is considered the premiere destination in South Africa. The city has many historic, cultural, culinary, and scenic attractions. A trip could include Table Mountain, Cape Point, Robben Island, beaches, whale watching in Hermanus, shark cage diving in Gansbaai, the Namaqualand wildflowers, hikes in the Cedarberg Mountains, wine tasting, and numerous culinary delights.
A tour or a self-drive trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth via the Garden Route is also a wonderful option. The drive can be done in 10 hours, but you will want to tarry along the way as you pass through spectacular scenery. Stops should include the Storms River Mouth, the Lake District (from Wilderness to Knysna), the towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
From Johannesburg, or our Bushveld bird ringing / bird banding site, the Kruger National Park (KNP) is a five-hour drive away. For many, KNP eclipses Cape Town as a destination. A self-drive in a hired car or a tour are both viable options. The northern part of the park is best for birding, but has lower densities of big game. The southern part is best for viewing the Big Five, but that also means it is a little busier.
From either Johannesburg, or Durban, you can easily get to the Drakensberg – South Africa’s highest mountain range (and a World Heritage Site). This area is perfect for short walks, overnight hikes, and mountaineering expeditions. This area also has unique suite of bird species that are high altitude, rock face, or grassland specialists. The nearby Midlands Meander is also well worth a visit.
For big game viewing as fine as can be found in Kruger National Park, and arguably the best birding in the country, the coast north of Durban is known as Zululand and it has several excellent parks and protected areas, including iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Hluluwe-iMfolozi, Mkhuze, and Ndumo.