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.
Our eastern South Africa birding and wildlife tours combine the great birds and mammals of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, the teeming Zululand game reserves, the endemic-rich mist-belt forests and grasslands of the Natal Midlands and the lofty peaks of the magnificent Drakensberg. Target species include Kori Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, Bateleur, Southern Bald Ibis, Bearded Vulture, Blue and Wattled Cranes, Blue Korhaan, Ground Woodpecker, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Rudd’s and Botha’s Larks, Spotted and Orange Ground Thrushes, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Gurney’s Sugarbird, the splendid Pink-throated Twinspot, Neergaard’s Sunbird, Narina Trogon, Woodward’s Batis, Gorgeous and Olive Bushshrikes, Chorister Robin-Chat, Brown and Bearded Scrub Robins, Knysna and Livingstone’s Turacos, Bush Blackcap and Rudd’s Apalis. Our chances of achieving the classic ‘Big Five’ (Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, African Buffalo and both Black & White Rhinoceroses) are excellent, while less common mammals include African Wild Dog, Cheetah and the endemic Black Wildebeest. Please note: these prices are subject to foreign exchange fluctuations.
Blue, Wattled and Grey-crowned Cranes, Denham’s Bustard, Blue Korhaan, Southern Bald Ibis, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Bush Blackcap, Ground, Bennett’s and Olive Woodpeckers, Rudd’s and Botha’s Larks, Knysna, Purple-crested and Livingstone’s Turacos, Chorister Robin-Chat, Drakensberg and Karoo Prinias, Grey Tit, Karoo and Olive Thrushes, Fairy Flycatcher, Layard’s and Chestnut-vented Warblers, Cape Parrot, Narina Trogon, Gorgeous and Olive Bushshrikes, Spotted and Orange Ground Thrushes, Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrushes, Rudd’s Apalis, Woodward’s and Cape Batises, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Southern Pied Babbler, Violet-eared, Grey and Black-faced Waxbills, Brown and Bearded Scrub Robins, Buff-streaked and Sickle-winged Chats, Pink-throated Twinspot, Neergaard’s, Scarlet-chested and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Green Malkoha, Half-collared and Giant Kingfishers, Little and White-fronted Bee-eaters, Southern Boubou, Cape and Forest Canaries, Cape, Spectacled and Southern Brown-throated Weavers, Yellow-breasted Pipit.
The ‘Big 5’(Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, African Buffalo and both Black & White Rhinoceroses), Meerkat, African Wild Dog, Black Wildebeest, Nyala, Cheetah, Giraffe, Greater Kudu, Plains Zebra, Warthog, Common Eland and Sloggett’s Vlei Rat, Hippopotamus.
dune and mist-belt forest, acacia savanna, high elevation and coastal grasslands, mountains, wetlands
subtropical with chances for occasional rain, warm to hot in Kruger and Zululand, cooler in highlands, can be cold in winter
moderate pace with undemanding walks, some long drives
Kruger National Park, Sani Pass and Drakensberg Mountains, dramatic scenery, Zulu culture, Indian Ocean, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Day 1: Arrival in Johannesburg
After arriving at O.R. Tambo International Airport near the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, you will transfer to our conveniently located guest lodge. As today is set aside as an arrival day, you are free to arrive at any time you wish. This evening we will then all get together over a delicious dinner to discuss our forthcoming South Africa bird holiday
Day 2: Day trip to Rust-De-Winter area
We will depart northwards early this morning for a day trip to the Rust-De-Winter area. For the remainder of the day we will explore the rich bushveld on the well-known Zaagkuildrift road. Included in the bounty of bushveld specials are a host of delightful species typical of the dry west, most of which we are unlikely to encounter elsewhere.
Possible highlights along this fabulous road include the outrageous Crimson-breasted Shrike, Violet-eared and Black-faced Waxbills, Scaly-feathered Weaver and Red-headed Finch, as well as more widespread species including Abdim’s Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Purple and European Rollers, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Kalahari Scrub Robin, Marico Flycatcher, Common Whitethroat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Southern Pied and Arrow-marked Babblers, Groundscraper and Karoo Thrushes, Ashy Tit, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Cut-throat Finch, Great Sparrow, beautiful Green-winged Pytilia, Blue Waxbill, Red-billed Firefinch, White-winged Widowbird, gorgeous Shaft-tailed Whydah and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting. Eventually we will reach the small village of Kgomo-Kgomo where the main road crosses an extensive floodplain. During wet seasons, when conditions are right, this can be an excellent area to locate specials such as Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Western Yellow Wagtail and Quailfinch. The surrounding grasslands and fields are often heavily grazed and this provides perfect habitat for Temminck’s Courser, Greater Kestrel and Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark. After a wonderful introduction to South African birding we then return to Johannesburg to our now familiar accommodations.
Day 3: Johannesburg to Kruger National Park
This morning on our South Africa bird holiday we say goodbye to ‘Joburg” and continue our journey towards the incredible Kruger National Park. En route to our destination in the park we will make a stop to try our luck at finding the rare Taita Falcon. A rugged cliff face in this area used to hold a breeding pair of Taita Falcon, however these birds have recently become far more erratic with sightings being less predictable as was the case in previous seasons. This is still an extremely scenic site nevertheless and, while looking for the falcons, we may also obtain views of Cape Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle, White-necked Raven, Mocking Cliff Chat and Striped Pipit, while a small forest stream nearby is a good place to look for the smart Mountain Wagtail. Thereafter we will transfer to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, where we will be based for the next three nights.
Days 4 & 5: Kruger National Park
The Greater Kruger conservation area includes vast areas of adjacent Mozambique and is one of Africa’s most famous parks. During our South Africa bird holiday, we will explore the superb road system in an attempt to locate big game, including the legendary “Big 5” – Lion, African Elephant, Leopard, African Buffalo and Rhinoceros. Kruger will be our best opportunity to watch these spectacular animals in their natural habitat and some of them we may encounter in very large numbers and at very close quarters. Other great African animals we have a chance of finding are Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Hippopotamus and a myriad of antelope and other mammals including Giraffe, Plains Zebra, Common Wildebeest, Greater Kudu, Impala, Klipspringer, Bushbuck, Warthog, Chacma Baboon, Vervet and Dwarf Mongoose.
The rich bushveld of the Kruger National Park will provide us with some of the most exciting and rewarding birding of the trip. Of special note here are species requiring vast areas of wilderness, namely Common Ostrich, Secretarybird, Kori Bustard – the world’s heaviest flying bird, the incomparable Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, Marabou and Saddle-billed Storks, and up to five species of vulture. The park is particularly well known for its large variety of raptors, including those over-wintering from the Palaearctic, and we hope to find Lesser Spotted, Tawny and Wahlberg’s Eagles, Dark Chanting and Gabar Goshawks, Shikra and Lizard Buzzard.
The bushveld biome is famous for its diversity of birdlife and included in this suite of fantastic species are Crested Francolin, Swainson’s and Natal Spurfowls, Brown-headed Parrot, exquisite Lilac-breasted Roller, Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bushshrikes, Violet-backed Starling, rare African Finfoot, Red-crested Korhaan, Black-bellied Bustard, White-crowned Lapwing, Southern Red-billed, Southern Yellow-billed and African Grey Hornbills, Southern White-crowned and Magpie Shrikes and Red-billed Oxpecker.
Other great birds we will look for include the bizarre Hamerkop, African Green Pigeon, Giant Kingfisher, stunning Southern Carmine and European Bee-eaters, Great Spotted, Jacobin, Red-chested and African Cuckoos, Red-faced Mousebird, African Hoopoe, Bennett’s, Bearded and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers, Black-collared and Crested Barbets, Brown-crowned and Black-crowned Tchagras, African Paradise Flycatcher, Spotted and Ashy Flycatchers, Southern Black Tit, Sabota Lark, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Wire-tailed, Red-breasted and Mosque Swallows, Greater Blue-eared and Burchell’s Starlings, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver and Spectacled Weaver, among many others!
An optional night drive through the park may encounter some of the rarer nocturnal mammals such as African Civet, Common and Central African Large-spotted Genets, Side-striped Jackal, the beautiful Serval, White-tailed Mongoose and Wild Cat, along with several species of owl and nightjar. These include Spotted and Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls, African Scops and Southern White-faced Owls, and Square-tailed and Fiery-necked Nightjars.
Day 6: Kruger National Park to Wakkerstroom
Today on our South Africa bird holiday, we spend the morning birding around our camp before bidding farewell to the splendours of Kruger. We then move inland to the highveld once again to the country village of Wakkerstroom for a two-night stay. This quaint village is surrounded by pristine upland grasslands rich in endemic birds, many of which are currently threatened by the ongoing destruction of their grassland habitat.
We will arrive in time to spend the afternoon birding the highly productive Wakkerstroom marsh at the edge of town. This is a haven for waterbirds and offers the chance of a number of uncommon or localised species. Purple Heron, Little Bittern, South African Shelduck, Cape Shoveler, African Marsh Harrier, African Swamphen, South African Cliff Swallow, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Lesser Swamp and African Yellow Warblers, and Cape Weaver are all regular and, with a bit of luck, we may find African Snipe and African Rail. Rarely recorded species seen here on our previous trips include the elusive Baillon’s Crake, Western Marsh Harrier and Red-chested Flufftail.
Day 7: Wakkerstroom area
Driving along the network of dirt roads radiating out from Wakkerstroom, we will explore the grasslands, rocky outcrops and gorges of this unique area in search of numerous specials and endemics such as Southern Bald Ibis, Blue Crane, Blue Korhaan and White-bellied Bustard (the latter is sometimes treated as a separate specie – Barrow’s Korhaan), Ground Woodpecker, vocal Bokmakierie, the rare and localised Botha’s and Rudd’s Larks (the latter considered one of the world’s most endangered larks), Pink-billed, Eastern Long-billed and Eastern Clapper Larks, Mountain Wheatear, Sentinel Rock Thrush, African Rock and Yellow-breasted Pipits, Pied Starling, Long-tailed and Fan-tailed Widowbirds, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Quailfinch and Cape Canary. Both Red-winged and Grey-winged Francolins occur in the moist grasslands and we may find coveys feeding at the roadside or sunning themselves at dawn, while we also stand further chances for the stately Secretarybird.
Some of the farms in the area around Wakkerstroom support populations of the peculiar Black Wildebeest (also known by its less-used English name of White-tailed Gnu) and Blesbok, whilst smaller mammals occurring in the grasslands include Yellow Mongoose and the rare Cape Fox. One of the interesting denizens of these grasslands is the curious Suricate, or Meerkat, immortalised in Walt Disney’s ‘Lion King’. We have a good chance of finding family groups of these unusual animals.
Wakkerstroom is justly famous as one of the best places in the world to see Amur Falcon on their wintering grounds. Having safely navigated their way from eastern Russia and northern China, the majority of the world’s population ends up in south-eastern Africa. We can expect hundreds, if not thousands of these small falcons hawking over fields throughout the high altitude grassland area. It is at dusk though, that the few tall trees in and around Wakkerstroom come alive, with up to 10 000 Amur Falcons and roughly 1000 Lesser Kestrels heading in to roost for the night.
Day 8: Wakkerstroom to Mkuze
After some final early morning birding in Wakkerstroom we will drive south to Mkuze, an area in northern KwaZulu-Natal that is home to a host of exciting specials and a handful of endemics. We will arrive in the mid to late afternoon for a two-night stay.
The Mkuze area is one of the most productive birding hotspots in southern Africa and with its wide variety of savanna, forest and wetland habitats, we can expect an excellent diversity of bird and mammal species in our days here. While we will obviously take time to appreciate the overwhelming number of birds, we will concentrate particularly on finding the localised specials, including Eastern Nicator, Bearded Scrub Robin, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Lemon-breasted Canary and the stunning Pink-throated Twinspot. More widespread but none-the-less spectacular species we will look for are Black-bellied Bustard, with its strange, “cork-popping” display, the nomadic Senegal Lapwing, Broad-billed Roller, beautiful Narina Trogon, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, stunning Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Golden-breasted Bunting.
Day 9: Mkuze area
We will spend the whole day exploring the wonders of this area, searching the great diversity of habitats for its numerous species. One of the more exciting habitats for us here is sand forest, a rare and localized dry forest biome severely threatened by development. This habitat is home to Neergaard’s Sunbird, Rudd’s Apalis, funky Crested Guineafowl and the strange African Broadbill.
The ephemeral wetlands in the area can be very productive after good rains; depending on the local conditions we may opt for some time at one of these ‘pans’, where we will search for Black Heron, Lesser Jacana, African Pygmy Goose and White-backed Duck, among many other commoner species.
While in Mkuze we will be sure to enjoy some ‘bushveld’ birding – an excellent habitat for raptors and ‘flock’ birding. Here we will be ever-vigilant for the huge Crowned and Martial Eagles, Little Sparrowhawk, Striped Kingfisher, Grey Penduline Tit, Bushveld Pipit, White-fronted and Little Bee-eaters, Black Cuckooshrike, White-crested Helmetshrike, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bushshrikes, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Black-bellied Starling, Purple-banded and Marico Sunbirds and Green-winged Pytilia. If conditions permit, we will do a nightwalk or short drive this evening to look for owls, nightjars and small mammals. Thick-tailed Greater Galago and White-tailed Mongoose are often seen.
Day 10: Mkuze to St Lucia
After a final early morning’s birding in the Mkuze area, we will make our way back to the main coastal road and down to the village of St. Lucia, nestled on the shores of an estuary of the same name and part of South Africa’s first world heritage site and the largest estuarine system in Africa. En route we may pop in to False Bay Park to search for any species we have missed in the Mkuze area. The verdant sand forest here affords us additional opportunities for Narina Trogon, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Neergaard’s Sunbird, Rudd’s Apalis and Pink-throated Twinspot, with other possibilities including Tambourine Dove, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, African Yellow White-eye and Grey Sunbird.
If time allows, upon arrival in St Lucia we will take a drive to the nearby river mouth where we can obtain great views of Hippopotamus and Nile Crocodile lazing on the exposed sandbanks. We may also encounter several species of tern and waders here such as Caspian and Greater Crested Terns, Common Ringed and White-fronted Plovers, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Water Thick-knee. The surrounding reedbeds often harbour reasonable numbers of nesting weavers that could include Southern Brown-throated, Eastern Golden, Lesser Masked and Thick-billed Weavers.
Day 11: St Lucia and Isimangaliso Wetland Park
This morning on our South Africa bird holiday, we make our way into the dune forest on the edge of St.Lucia town – the dunes here are the world’s second highest vegetated dunes! This rich forest supports an exciting variety of endemics and specials, including the beautiful (but tricky) Livingstone’s Turaco, Green Malkoha, Woodward’s Batis, Brown Scrub Robin, Dark-backed Weaver, Green Twinspot, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Red-backed Mannikin and shy Lemon Dove. Blue Monkey, Natal Red Duiker, Banded Mongoose and Red Bush Squirrel are possible mammal species that we may encounter. Other more widespread birds to keep our eyes peeled for are Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, White-eared Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide and Collared and Olive Sunbirds.
We will also take some time to drive the road through the Eastern Shores section of Isimangaliso Wetland Park to Cape Vidal. The habitats we traverse include moist coastal grassland, wetlands and coastal forest, and this translates to a large number of potential new species! Some of the top birds we will search for in the grassland and forest mosaic include the scarce Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Crowned Eagle, African Cuckoo-Hawk, Collared Pratincole, Rufous-winged and Croaking Cisticolas and Yellow-throated Longclaw, while in the tall coastal forest at Cape Vidal itself we will look for Green Twinspot, Woodward’s Batis, Brown Scrub Robin, Livingstone’s Turaco and Grey Waxbill. The grasslands en route support populations of African Buffalo, White and Black Rhinoceroses, Southern Reedbuck, Warthog, Greater Kudu and Plains Zebra, while forested areas hold Natal Red Duiker and Blue Monkey. After our day exploring the park we will make our way back to St Lucia.
This evening we will head out on an exciting night drive, traversing the rarely driven tracks deep into the Eastern Shores section of Isimangaliso Wetland Park. An array of birds, mammals and reptiles await us, with previous tours finding the elusive Leopard, Serval, African Buffalo, secretive Bushpig, Spotted Hyena, Cape Porcupine, Side-striped Jackal, Thick-tailed Greater Greater Galago, endemic Setaro’s Dwarf and Flap-necked Chameleon, Peter’s Epaulleted Fruit Bat and Hippopotamus. Nocturnal birding can be excellent, with very good chances of seeing the scarce Swamp Nightjar as well as Fiery-necked and Square-tailed while both Spotted Eagle-Owl and African Wood Owl are readily found.
Day 12: St Lucia to Hilton via Dlinza Forest and Mtunzini
Today on our South Africa bird holiday, we depart early for Dlinza Forest near Eshowe. The beautiful forest reserve of Dlinza supports an avifauna combining both coastal and mistbelt bird species, and here we will search for African Goshawk, the rare Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Purple-crested Turaco, Crowned and noisy Trumpeter Hornbills, Square-tailed Drongo, Chorister Robin-Chat, Grey Cuckooshrike and the highly endangered Spotted Ground Thrush. We are likely to also be entertained by the diminutive and at times surprisingly confiding Blue Duiker, a tiny antelope species that feeds almost exclusively on fallen leaves. In addition, South Africa’s only forest canopy walkway is situated here and we will spend most of our morning birding from this superb viewpoint.
If time allows we will make a quick stop in at the coastal town of Mtunzini where we hope to find Palm-nut Vulture and Black-throated Wattle-eye. Journeying south and then inland we will arrive in the small town of Hilton in the late afternoon.
Day 13: Hilton to Himeville
We commence our birding this morning in the Karkloof, a range of forested hills near Howick that is home to a number of uncommon and local birds restricted to Afro-montane forests. We will be searching for southern African endemics such as Forest Buzzard, Knysna Turaco, the highly endangered Cape Parrot, elusive Bush Blackcap, Barratt’s Warbler, Olive Bushshrike, Swee Waxbill and Forest Canary, as well as many more widespread yet no less desirable birds including Long-crested Eagle, African Olive Pigeon, Olive Woodpecker, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black-headed Oriole, the uncommon Orange Ground Thrush, Cape Batis, White-starred Robin, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Red-backed Mannikin, Red-collared Widowbird and Brimstone Canary.
Further up the Karkloof range, we visit a pristine area of upland grassland where breeding Grey Crowned and Blue Cranes and, if we are lucky, Wattled Crane can sometimes be found. Black-winged Lapwing, Fan-tailed Grassbird and Cape Longclaw also occur here, but the star bird is undoubtedly the striking Buff-streaked Chat, an endemic wheatear that is striking both in appearance and song. Mammal possibilities include Mountain Reedbuck and the sleek Oribi antelope.
Next on our South Africa bird holiday, we head for the Richmond area where we will attempt to track down the stunning Blue Swallow, undoubtedly our most elegant and severely threatened swallow. The birds regularly breed here in the summer months and our chances of finding this rare species are very good.
Continuing on we will pass through the dramatic Umkomaas River valley before arriving at a wonderfully lush patch of Mistbelt forest in the late afternoon. Here we will listen for the high pitched screech of the similarly rare Cape Parrot and attempt to locate flocks as they make their way into the forest to roost. Other species to keep a look-out for include Black Saw-wing and Southern Double-collared Sunbird, with further chances for Knysna Turaco, Grey Cuckooshrike, White-starred Robin, Swee Waxbill and Forest Canary. We will then wind our way along a scenic country road to the small town of Himeville at the base of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains.
Day 14: Day trip up Sani Pass, Lesotho
Today on our South Africa bird holiday, we travel up into the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho in search of a handful of highly localised, highland endemics. In order to do this, we will transfer to 4 x 4 vehicles and make our way up the rugged and spectacular Sani Pass, birding en route. The grassy slopes and rocky outcrops on the ascent are home to family groups of the bizarre Ground Woodpecker, Drakensberg Prinia, African Yellow Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Cape Rock Thrush and Yellow Bishop, whilst stands of protea bushes support the impressive Gurney’s Sugarbird (belonging to a family endemic to southern Africa) and dazzling Malachite and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds. As we approach the crest of the escarpment we will be scanning the rocky scree at the roadside for the stunning Drakensberg Rockjumper, African Rock Pipit, Sentinel Rock Thrush and Drakensberg Siskin.
Atop the plateau, the steep slopes and rugged cliffs are replaced by gently undulating terrain and endless vistas of distant, blue mountains. Black Stork, African Black Duck and Southern Bald Ibis may be found alongside the mountain streams, whilst Grey-winged Francolin, Red-capped Lark, Sickle-winged Chat, African Rock and Mountain Pipits, Yellow Canary and Cape Bunting prefer adjacent meadows. A number of birds more typical of the Karoo, such as Grey Tit, Layard’s Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Large-billed Lark and Karoo Prinia reach the eastern limits of their range here in the Lesotho highlands. We will also keep a careful watch skywards as the endangered Cape Vulture, magnificent Bearded Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, Lanner Falcon and White-necked Raven are regularly seen overhead, along with fast-flying flocks of African Black and Alpine Swifts. Other animals of particular interest atop the “Roof of Africa” are the approachable Sloggett’s Vlei Rat, endemic Drakensberg Crag Lizard and the colourful Southern Rock Agama.
Day 15: Himeville to Durban and onward flight
Today we depart early for Durban to connect with our onward flights, or else to Cape Town if you choose to do the Cape Extension.
What our clients say about tours to South Africa
- CG, South Africa
The tour was great. I got along well with the other participants and I greatly appreciated Greg de Klerk. I quickly realised he knew what he was doing and could relax. He was careful to make sure we all got to see all the birds. I will definitely use Rockjumper again… Can’t go wrong!DL, South Africa
During Oct 19 to Nov. 6, 2010 I participated in the Eastern South Africa and Western Cape Extension tour. It is the ultimate tour if you are birding for the first time in the African continent. The diversity of birds is over-whelming and unlike birding in the tropical Americas, the birds are easy to see! I personally added 419 lifers! The pace of the tour was ideal. Accommodations were top-notch and the meals wonderful. Keith Valentine is an unsurpassed tour leader. Extremely knowledgeable yet very laid back, approachable and quick to laugh. I have been on many organized bird tours but none come close to the standards set by Rockjumper on this tour. The bar has been raised!TB, Eastern South Africa 2010
Our guide, Greg de Klerk, was absolutely fabulous. Not only great birding skills and knowledge throughout our tour, but his enthusiasm and amazing knowledge of Kruger and all its wildlife made for an unforgettable experience (it was my first trip to Africa). He was especially good at helping everyone in our party see each bird or animal which I greatly appreciated. Greg handled all aspects of the tour flawlessly. I would definitely recommend Greg highly for whatever tour he is leading.PF, Best of South Africa: Cape & Kruger I 2016
The trip was excellent. It exceeded my expectations. All the travel went perfectly. Thank you so much for arranging it.EL, South Africa
The faster pace of the tour (South Africa Mega) was just what I wanted, and maximized chances for as many endemics as possible without adding more days. Markus was on top of things throughout, his timing and logistics were flawless, and his spotting skills are excellent. His precision served the group well and the group size (6) was ideal. He also was great with the many mammals, positioning the vehicle for the best viewing and photography, and sharing information about life histories. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and just wish I could do it all over again!RB, SA Mega
Heinz was incredible. His knowledge and personality were wonderful. What a wonderful young man! We had an incredible time.JH, Cape & Kruger II 2015
Gareth was an excellent guide. He was always on hand to give help and advice when needed and didn’t favour one guest over another. His enthusiasm could not be faulted and local and birding knowledge faultless.SM, South Africa 2016
David was a fantastic guide whose love for his homeland, and passion for its wildlife, shone brightly. I couldn’t have wished for a better guide to show me the wonders of South Africa.MW, South African Mega 2015
Gareth was very considerate of all tour member and kept everything on schedule. He went out of his way to find bird species of particular interest to those on the tour and very enthusiastic about birding.South Africa 2015
My wife and I were part of a six person tour of South Africa that was led by David Hoddinott. Our trip was excellent and seamless. David was the perfect guide for our group and, as I’m sure you’re aware, is an extraordinary birder and bird finder…. Thank you to Rockjumper, and David especially, for taking the time to create such a wonderful trip for our group.
As always, I’m sure that it’s a challenge to accommodate numerous personalities within a group and David was great at it. We all liked him from day one and he was always positive and up for anything. He was an absolute joy to be with.
We’d previously been to Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Botswana and South Africa was a totally different experience. We really enjoyed the people that we got to meet and the sheer beauty of the country is breathtaking. David’s enthusiasm and pride of his homeland was inspiring and infectious. We can’t thank him enough for making it come alive for us.
And thanks to all who had a part in setting it all up. We’d happily recommend Rockjumper to anyone thinking about a trip led by you.EB, South Africa 2014
Our guide, Gareth Robbins was excellent. His knowledge of the area covered was exceptional, sometimes down to the rock the bird might land on. His repertoire of the bird calls and songs was impressive. He was adamant about getting each of us on the bird, and his delight when we saw it was transparent.AE, Eastern South Africa VIII 2015
Greg was brilliant (the best guide I’ve ever had). He found most of the birds we were trying for, and always did his utmost to get us all onto them.PW, South Africa
Since our trip left right after Easter, and the office was supposed to be closed, I REALLY appreciated Lorna responding to my questions in such a timely fashion. She was right there with answers. Accommodations were very very nice, esp Whale View Manor (within walking distance of penguins). The food was fabulous. Greg de Klerk is the best guide I’ve ever travelled with. He is very knowledgeable, kind, and has a great sense of humour. He did his best to make sure everyone saw as many birds as possible, and that we knew what we were seeing. He continually checked in with us, to make sure everyone was having a good time. He made a good trip into a great trip.KB, Best of South Africa: Cape & Kruger I 2016
A first rate, very satisfying…tour that met all expectations. We missed two species we were especially interested in but our guide made an extra effort to find them and we were very pleased with him. A first rate birder. He is a great addition to the Rockjumer Team.IT, Private South Africa
Pre-tour the office staff were superb in sorting out my problems and the personal touches added to our email communications really made a big difference to how I felt about the trip.
The guide, Andre Bernon, was excellent. He was able to quickly and effectively locate and identify birds and get the group onto them. His knowledge of locations and ability to manage things on the ground showed real expertise and experience. His people skills and ability to ensure group dynamics were as smooth as possible was exceptional.PB, South Africa 2017
Greg handled all personalities with poise, humor and attentiveness and constantly checked to see if everyone was happy. If someone had a problem, he immediately worked on a solution. It is obvious he loves his job, and he went out of his way to find birds for us, even in the most difficult weather conditions. His knowledge of the area was superior. He took excellent care of us and made us feel very welcome!CB, South Africa 2017
The lynchpin for our entire experience was the guide – and Greg de Klerk was simply brilliant. He was extremely skilled in knowing where the birds might be, and finding them once we got there. He carefully made sure that we all saw the bird. He was very knowledgeable about bird and mammal behaviour, and shared a lot of information with the tour members. He smoothly handled logistics, is a good driver, and patient with non-nationals who are unfamiliar with South African customs. He has a wonderful sense of humour; and a very warm and outgoing personality, which stimulated good relations between tour members. We would be very excited to go on another Rockjumper trip with him!WB & BB, South Africa
Greg was a fantastic guide, and I hope that I can take another tour/bird with him again in the future. I greatly enjoyed birding and spending time with him, he was very personable and I’m glad that we were able to become friends. Greg knew where to search for the birds and was extremely knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife and natural history. I also greatly appreciated how Greg dealt with issues that arose with other guests, and how quickly he tried to step in and prevent problems from escalating further. Guiding can be a difficult job, and Greg did a terrific job.KK, Eastern South Africa X 2016