Tour was FANTASTIC and Wayne was a big reason for our enjoyment.
The focus of our South Africa Mega Birding tour is to see as many of South Africa’s endemic and near-endemic bird species as possible. South Africa has the highest number of endemic and near-endemic birds of any country on the African continent and almost all 143 species falling into this category are targeted. Furthermore, we will seek out many other sought-after African species and we expect to rack up a very impressive bird list in terms of numbers, rarities and great sightings in general, including mammals, reptiles and other wildlife as well.
Our adventure commences shortly after leaving the bustling city of Johannesburg when we should find our first near-endemic, Cape Sparrow, followed by the localised Melodious and Short-clawed Lark. Continuing to the wonderful forests of Magoebaskloof, we will look for the seldom-sighted Bat Hawk, Forest Buzzard, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Grey Cuckooshrike, Green Twinspot, Swee Waxbill, Barratt’s Warbler and Forest Canary. Our next destination is the highly productive Wakkerstroom marsh area, a haven for waterbirds and several uncommon and range-restricted species. These include South African Shelduck, South African Cliff Swallow, African Rail, Southern Bald Ibis, Blue Korhaan, Botha’s and Rudd’s Larks (the latter one of the world’s most endangered larks), Ground Woodpecker, Buff-streaked Chat, Sentinel Rock Thrush, and African Rock and Yellow-breasted Pipits. We should also encounter family groups of the curious Suricate, or Meerkat, immortalised in Disney’s ‘Lion King’. Thereafter we drive to the Mkuze area in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the most productive birding hotspots in southern Africa. Here we will concentrate on finding the region’s more localised specials, including Eastern Nicator, African Broadbill, Bearded Scrub Robin, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, beautiful Gorgeous Bushshrike, stunning Narina Trogon and the following endemics: Pink-throated Twinspot, Neergaard’s Sunbird, Rudd’s Apalis and if we are very lucky we might catch a glimpse of the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl. We then make our way to the coastal village of St. Lucia on the shores of Lake St. Lucia. Here our focus will be Livingstone’s Turaco, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Woodward’s Batis, African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey Waxbill, Red-fronted Tinkerbird and the endemic Brown Scrub Robin. Next on the agenda is Ngoye forest, one of only two places in the world to find the woodwardi subspecies of Green Barbet. From here we journey back to the coast, stopping in at the small town of Mtunzini for Palm-nut Vulture, the shy and rarely seen African Finfoot and Black-throated Wattle-eye. Thereafter we explore the verdant Dlinza Forest where targets include Spotted Ground Thrush, Lemon Dove, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon. Continuing towards the fabled Drakensberg Mountains, we stop en route to search for the rare Blue Swallow. In the Drakensberg itself, we travel up into the tiny mountain Kingdom of Lesotho to look for a handful of highly localised, highland endemics. These include Cape Vulture, Gurney’s Sugarbird (belonging to a family endemic to southern Africa), stunning Drakensberg Rockjumper (also belonging to a family endemic to southern Africa), Drakensberg Siskin, Grey-winged Francolin, Mountain Pipit, Large-billed Lark and delightful Fairy Flycatcher. Next, we head to the Karkloof, a range of forested hills home to a number of uncommon Afro-montane species. Here we search for Knysna Turaco, the highly endangered Cape Parrot, Bush Blackcap, Orange Ground Thrush, Chorister Robin-Chat, Southern Boubou, and Southern Tchagra. We also visit an area of pristine upland grassland to look for Grey Crowned Crane and, if we are lucky, the vulnerable Wattled Crane. The next leg of our journey takes us to Cape Town and the endemic-rich Cape Floristic Region. Star birds we will look for include South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Spurfowl, Knysna Woodpecker, Cape Clapper Lark, Victorin’s and Knysna Warbler, Cape Siskin, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Rockjumper and Cape Sugarbird. We also embark on a boat excursion in search of the region’s fantastic seabirds, including Shy and Indian and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, Cape and White-chinned Petrels, Sooty, Great, Manx and Cory’s Shearwaters, Wilson’s and European Storm Petrels, Cape Gannet and Parasitic Jaeger. We also visit an African Penguin colony where we will be treated to exceptionally close views of these endearing creatures, while African Oystercatcher, Cape, Crowned and Bank Cormorant and Hartlaub’s Gull are found nearby. Heading to the West Coast National Park, we look for Cape Bulbul, Karoo Lark, Grey Tit, Cape Penduline Tit, Fiscal Flycatcher and the magnificent Black Harrier, to name but a few. We then spend several days in the stark yet fabulous Karoo searching for a whole host of dry country specials. These include Pale Chanting Goshawk, Ludwig’s Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Burchell’s Courser, Namaqua Sandgrouse, White-backed Mousebird, Bokmakierie, Acacia Pied Barbet, Pririt Batis, Red and Sclater’s Larks, Black-eared Sparrow-Lark, Tractrac and Karoo Chats, Namaqua, Rufous-eared, Cinnamon-breasted, Layard’s and Chestnut-vented Warblers, Karoo Eremomela, Dusky Sunbird and Yellow, White-throated and Black-headed Canaries. The awesome Augrabies Falls National Park is also visited. Here we will scan the huge communal Sociable Weavers’ nests for their host “tenants” such as Pygmy Falcon and Red-headed Finch, while other targets include Double-banded Sandgrouse, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Orange River White-eye, Bradfield’s Swift and Short-toed Rock Thrush. The final leg of this awesome avian adventure takes us to the mining town of Kimberley, where we explore the surrounding mosaic of grassland and thornveld for Northern Black Korhaan, stunning Crimson-breasted Shrike and Marico Flycatcher, amongst many others. We will also undertake a night drive looking for nocturnal denizens that may include the amazing Aardvark, Black-footed Cat, Southern African Hedgehog, Aardwolf and the unusual Springhare. On previous Rockjumper night drives in this region, we have recorded over 25 mammal species in a single evening! Possible night birds include Marsh Owl and Rufous-cheeked Nightjar. Please note: these prices are subject to foreign exchange fluctuations.
African Penguin, Blue and Wattled Cranes, Ludwig’s and Denham’s Bustards, Blue, Southern Black and Karoo Korhaans, African Oystercatcher, Crowned, Cape and Bank Cormorants, Cape and Natal Spurfowls, Southern Bald Ibis, Cape Vulture, Black Harrier, Cape & Drakensberg Rockjumpers, Cape & Gurney’s Sugarbirds, Bush Blackcap, Ground Woodpecker, Rudd’s, Botha’s, Short-clawed, Red, Sclater’s, Cape Long-billed & Barlow’s Larks, African Rock & Yellow-breasted Pipits, Cape Longclaw, Knysna, Purple-crested & Livingstone’s Turacos, Cape Parrot, Gorgeous, Black-fronted & Olive Bushshrikes, Bokmakierie, Victorin’s, Namaqua, Cinnamon-breasted, and Layard’s Warblers, Fairy Flycatcher, Karoo Eremomela, Cape and Grey Penduline Tits, White-backed Mousebird, Spotted & Orange Ground Thrushes, Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrushes, Rudd’s Apalis, Woodward’s Batis, Karoo & Brown Scrub Robins, Karoo & Buff-streaked Chats, Pink-throated Twinspot, Neergaard’s, Orange-breasted & Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Cape & Drakensberg Siskins, Protea, Cape, Forest & Black-headed Canaries, Indian and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Cape and Great-winged Petrels.
Black & White Rhinoceroses, Southern African Hedgehog, Meerkat, Black Wildebeest, Nyala, Cape Grysbok, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Springhare, Common Eland, Bat-eared Fox, Blesbok (Bontebok), Grey Rhebok, Klipspringer, Springbok, African Wild Dog, Cheetah
dune and mist-belt forest, acacia savanna, high elevation and coastal grasslands, mountains, semi-desert, fynbos, coastal and pelagic waters, wetlands
subtropical conditions with occasional rain, cooler in the highlands and the Cape
moderate to brisk, undemanding walking, some long drives
Cape Peninsula, Sani Pass, Lake St. Lucia, Zululand game reserves, good food & wine, remote and seldom visited areas, spectacular scenery
What our clients say about tours to South Africa
- MM, Eastern South Africa II 2015
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
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
The [Eastern South Africa] trip has become even more exciting and memorable in retrospect, and we can’t thank you enough. It was planned particularly well, giving us a great idea of the varied terrain and landscape across eastern South Africa, and it would be hard to choose the best of the places we stayed in – they were all so good and yet so varied. The birds were tremendous, and the animals scarcely behind; I don’t think we shall ever forget the elephants in the mudbath. Nor shall we forget the Sani Pass and the rockjumpers, not to mention the hail! It really was a magnificent trip, and we enjoyed it enormously.EE & RE, South Africa
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.G, South Africa Mega
Wayne Jones is one of the best tour leaders I have been with… He is great at making we all see the birds. He knows their songs and call and the habitats where they occur.VP, 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
This was my first tour with Rockjumper and hopefully will not be my last. The service provided was excellent and Gareth Robbins was an excellent guide. I would have no hesitation in travelling with him again.HL, South Africa 2015
On a recent birding trip from Cape Town to Windhoek we appreciated Cuan’s range of talents. His keen eyes, knowledge of bird vocalizations and great enthusiasm for finding birds combine very nicely with his logistical expertise and delightful sense of humour. I was very pleased with the trip — well done, Cuan!HSA, 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
The trip was excellent. It exceeded my expectations. All the travel went perfectly. Thank you so much for arranging it.EL, South Africa
Glen’s pacing of the tour was particularly good – relaxed whenever possible and upping the pace when necessary. His responsiveness and attention to client requests was admirable, as was his general demeanor throughout. Nice to spend such a long trip with someone so enthusiastic and sociable.AC, South Africa Mega
Markus gets A+++ marks from me. Not only is he an excellent birder, but he is also a wonderful traveling companion. Our conversations were varied and interesting. He not only knows a lot about nature; he also participated in talks about a wide variety of subjects. We learned a lot about South Africa. His sense of humor is wonderful. His enthusiasm kept us all on a anticipatory high. His leading a tour will be a big plus for me when I am deciding on another trip.SC, SA Mega & Kruger
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
Wayne Jones is one of the most incredible bird and wildlife guides I have ever encountered. Always helpful and professional.AM, Budget Eastern South Africa
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
We were very happy to have Heinz Ortmann as our guide. He operated the tour very skilfully in every way and with flexibility when needed to try to get all possible targets. We were also very positively surprised that he had such a great knowledge about mammals, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians beside the birds. Since we also are very interested in all these groups this was a most welcome bonus. A great tour that we will remember for a long time. We would be very happy doing another private trip with Heinz as our guide.JM, South Africa 2016 (Private)
Heinz was incredible. His knowledge and personality were wonderful. What a wonderful young man! We had an incredible time.JH, Cape & Kruger II 2015
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