Overview

This 8 day voyage out of Cape Town will sail through the Indian Ocean towards The Prince Edward Islands group, comprising two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean. The islands are a declared Special Nature Reserves under the South African Environmental Management and activities on the islands are restricted to research and conservation management.

The wildlife on Marion is particularly vulnerable to introduced species and has suffered terribly with introduced mice and cats. While cats are now believed to have been eradicated, mice are still a major problem. A portion of the fees paid for this trip will be donated to the Mouse Free Marion Project.

We expect to see a host of seabirds with highlights including Kerguelan, Blue and Grey Petrels; Grey-headed, Sooty, Light-mantled and Wandering Albatrosses; King, Gentoo, Macaroni and Southern Rockhopper Penguins; Fairy and Salvin’s Prions and Kerguelan Tern. Should we obtain permission to venture into the marine protected area around Marion, we should also find Crozet Shag and Black-faced Sheathbill. A number of marine mammals are also anticipated, with Southern Elephant and Subantarctic Fur Seals; Fin, Sperm, Humpback and Killer Whales, as well as Dusky Dolphin being amongst the most likely.

More than 40 bird tour leaders and guides will be onboard for the cruise, including many who are very good at their cetacean identification too. Peter Harrison MBE, author of Seabirds: An Identification Guide – considered the bible of seabird identification will also be onboard, during which time he will not only be guiding, but also release his new seabird identification guide.

The tour is dynamically priced, and will become more expensive over time.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Good chances - Black-faced Sheathbill*, Grey-headed, Hartlaub's and Kelp Gulls; Greater Crested, Sandwich and Kerguelen Terns; Brown Skua; King Penguin; Wilson's and Black-bellied Storm Petrels; Wandering, Sooty, Black-browed, Shy, Grey-headed and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; Southern Giant, Northern Giant, Great-winged, Soft-plumaged, Grey, White-chinned and Blue Petrels; Salvin's and Fairy Prions; Cory's, Sooty and Great Shearwaters; Common Diving Petrels; Cape Gannet; Cape Cormorant; Crozet Shag*. Moderate chances - Sabine's Gull; Common and Antarctic Terns; Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers; Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper, Macaroni and African Penguins; Light-mantled and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; European Storm Petrel; Cape, Kerguelen and White-headed Petrels; Antarctic Prion; Subantarctic Shearwater. Low chances - Lesser Crested and Arctic Terns; Long-tailed Jaeger; Grey-backed and White-bellied Storm Petrels; Southern Royal and Northern Royal Albatrosses; Leach's Storm Petrel; Southern Fulmar; Slender-billed Prion; Barau's, South Georgia Diving and Spectacled Petrels; Manx and Little Shearwaters; Crowned, Bank and White-breasted Cormorants. Very Low chances - White-faced Storm Petrel, Amsterdam and Tristan Albatrosses, Broad-billed Prion, Atlantic Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater. *At present, Birdlife has not obtained the necessary permission to enter the marine protected areas of Marion Island. These species would not be expected unless permission is gained.
Top Mammals
Good chances - Subantarctic Fur and Southern Elephant Seals; Humpback Whale. Moderate chances - Antarctic Fur Seal; Sperm, Killer, Fin and Long-finned Pilot Whales; Dusky Dolphin. Low chances - Heaviside's, Short-beaked Common, Hourglass and Bottlenose Dolphins; Southern Right, Common Minke, Sei and Bryde's Whales. Very Low chances - Southern Right Whale Dolphin; Blue Whale.
Habitats Covered
pelagic
Expected Climate
cold and windy
Max Group Size
2300+ with 40 leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
easy
Accommodation
comfortable ship
Ease of Birding
mostly easy
Number of Species Expected
55+
Other Attractions
remote and rarely visited island, vast Indian Ocean
Photographic Opportunities
good to excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

I thought Doug McCulloch was a wonderful guide. He was extremely dedicated and persistent in getting the key targets. It was clear he was personally frustrated by some of the misses, even though that was well out of his control (much of it was due to weather). And he even did a little extra homework to help me get a couple of targets that I went after by myself after the tour ended. He didn't have to do that, and I just want to thank him again for that.

I would like to add my thanks to you, Crystal, and all the other people associated with Rockjumper for making this the best birding tour in which I have participated. David's leadership was superb as our trip bird count shows. I would be happy to go with Rockjumper on future trips. Thanks again for your assistance during the Mega South Africa trip.

"I know that RBT has run this tour multiple times for many years, and it shows - the itinerary is flawlessly geared to include a wide range of ecosystems to maximize the number of bird and animal species possible, the accommodations are lovely to luxurious, and the office communications are unfailingly courteous, friendly, and responsive. I have traveled with Rockjumper before, but not with Doug McCulloch. I was very impressed with his birding skills, his determination and persistence in making sure everyone saw all of the important endemics and all of the most-hoped-for species, and his knowledge of the history, the politics, and the ecology of South Africa. He managed the usual trip hiccups (tire puncture, adverse weather, unexpected road closures) with an unflappable grace and good humor, and keep us all on track throughout the trip. In short, it was great fun, we saw an enormous number of amazingly beautiful and scarce birds and animals, and I am truly glad my first trip to South Africa was with Doug as trip leader.

"Daniel was a fantastic guide. Great at handling everything and anything. Superb with all and great at talking to everyone - just a young man beyond his years. And his spotting and guiding skills were amazing. Will book another trio when he is guiding as soon as possible. "

Riaan-WOW, WOW, WOW! Yes, all caps because Riaan was not only a good guide, showing us the birds, working his tail off to get them to come in, but he took care of me when I arrived at the airport only to discover that I had no flight from Cape Town to London as I thought that I had. In spite of his own need to get his boarding pass, Riaan stayed with me for almost two hours and straightened the matter out. I am eternally grateful to him because I was frustrated and at a loss. He stepped up bigtime!

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES

South Africa - Flock to Marion 2022 - 24 Jan 2022 - 31 Jan 2022 (8 days)

ZAR15,595

2 Spaces Available
Tour Leader:
André Bernon
Tour Leader:
Daniel Danckwerts
Tour Leader:
David Hoddinott
Tour Leader:
Gregory de Klerk
Tour Leader:
Harriet Faithfull
Tour Leader:
Heinz Ortmann
Tour Leader:
Keith Valentine
Tour Leader:
Mark Beevers
Tour Leader:
Peter Kaestner
Tour Leader:
Forrest Rowland
Tour Leader:
Adam Riley
Tour Leader:
Julian Parsons
Tour Leader:
Riaan Botha
Tour Leader:
Glen Valentine

Tour price (Per person): ZAR15,595 * USD973 * EUR859 * GBP732 * AUD1,368

Single Supplement: ZAR12,475 * USD779 * EUR687 * GBP585 * AUD1,094

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