Overview

This tour package combines the best of the Western Cape with the 8 day Flock to Marion Cruise.

Southern Africa’s dry west is a unique and fascinating, yet under-visited land. A hotbed of faunal and floral diversity, this area harbours two botanical regions found nowhere else on earth; the Cape Floristic Region and the Succulent Karoo. Our tour showcases these areas and the range of special birds endemic to them; you can expect not only great birds, but some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa! Tour highlights include the stunning fynbos-clad slopes of the Western Cape, home to the stunning Cape Rockjumper and numerous other endemics; and the arid and semi-arid areas of the Karoo, which provide another great backdrop for a variety of bustards, larks and other endemics before we head back to Cape Town.

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
Flock to Marion Cruise 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. Land - Cape Rockjumper, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Siskin, Cape Bulbul, Protea and Black-headed Canaries, Orange-breasted and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, African Penguin, African Oystercatcher, Crowned, Bank and Cape Cormorants, Hartlaub’s Gull, Southern Black and Karoo Korhaans, Ludwig’s Bustard, Cape Spurfowl, Victorin’s, Namaqua, Cinnamon-breasted, Layard’s and Rufous-eared Warblers, Fairy and Fiscal Flycatchers, Karoo Eremomela, Red, Sclater’s and Cape Long-billed Larks, Cape Penduline Tit, White-backed Mousebird, Karoo and Tractrac Chats, Karoo Scrub Robin, Cape Grassbird, Karoo Prinia, Southern Boubou, Cape Batis, Verreaux's and Booted Eagles, South African Shelduck, Karoo Thrush, Forest and Cape Canaries.
Top Mammals
Cruise - 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. Land - Common Eland, Blesbok (Bontebok), Hartebeest, Cape Grey Mongoose, Cape Grysbok, Springbok, Klipspringer, Grey Rhebok, Chacma Baboon and Meerkat
Habitats Covered
Cruise - Pelagic Land - mountains, semi-desert, fynbos, coastal, wetlands
Expected Climate
Cruise - cold and windy, Land - temperate to very warm
Max Group Size
Land - 12 with 1 Rockjumper Leader / Flock - 2300+ with 40 leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
Cruise - easy Land - moderate pace with undemanding walks, some long drives
Accommodation
comfortable ship, and comfortable guesthouses & lodges
Ease of Birding
mosty easy
Number of Species Expected
190+
Other Attractions
Remote and rarely visited island, Indian Ocean, Tanqua-Karoo, Table Mountain, Cape Peninsula, great food & wine
Photographic Opportunities
good to excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Rainer established what each of the participants expected from the tour [Cape to Wiindhoek, South Africa] and then managed to excel expectations without seeming to try to do this. We saw all our favourite birds and animals and even plants. Yes, we even enjoyed the wildflowers too! His birding skills, including recognition of calls, were exceptional. His effortless ability to manage logistics and his energy for making it happen, made this tour easy and stress-free; something I'm exceptionally grateful for. His enthusiasm for new finds (not just birds!) was totally contagious and added to the enjoyment. His broad knowledge met all my needs for information about this new continent - and that made this tour particularly satisfying for me.

Doug (Douglas McCulloch) is a gentleman and a scholar, and my husband and I very much appreciated his guiding. His knowledge of the birds, other animals, and plants encountered on the trip is tremendous. His ability to get us “onto the bird” was much appreciated – I can still hear him say, “just above the dot.” His communication skills are excellent, and his patience with each of us was un-ending. In addition, his knowledge of the natural history of the area was extensive and very helpful. He was also able to provide some information about the social, political and economic climate of Southern Africa without opinion or agenda. He made an effort to get to know each member of the tour and to be responsive to their particular interests with regard to the tour. His energy was unending – even including an evening walk to look for honey badgers when we had already had a long day and an excellent evening meal. Obviously, I cannot say enough good about him. We would definitely welcome an opportunity to tour with him in the future, should our economic situation provide for another Rockjumper adventure in Africa.

Jeremy was fabulous - great general natural history knowledge and laid-back attitude.

As an experienced world traveller and birder, I must say that the Eastern South Africa and Cape Extension III tours went beyond my already high expectations. All in all, we saw nearly 540 bird species, plus many mammals, including the "Big Five". Our guide, Andre Bernon, really made an effort for us all to see each and every species, and was also very knowledgeable about reptiles, mammals, South African history etc. An excellent guide!

Greg de Klerk worked hard to get us the sightings, to ensure everyone got a "good look" and to keep us as safe and as comfortable as possible. I especially appreciated his additional information about field marks, behaviour, the habitat/area, history and culture.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
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