Rich Andrews, Whitchurch, Bristol
Phil Bristow, Cyncoed, Cardiff
Judd Hunt, Fairwater, Cardiff
Mike Powell, Llanishen, Cardiff
We booked our overnight British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town with Wildwings (0117 965 8333) or email@example.com at a cost of £606.60 each including airport taxes. The outward flight departed at a relatively convenient 16.50pm with us arriving in Cape Town at around 7.00am ready for a full day in the field. The homeward flight was at 20.30pm arriving in London at 06.30am the next day.
Nearly all of our ground arrangements were made through Eve Holloway at Birding Africa firstname.lastname@example.org with the exception of carhire. Eve was excellent and dealt with our questions & enquiries promptly & efficiently. See also www.birding-africa.com
The cost per person of our package with Birding Africa was R1760 (£127.30) and covered the following:
3 nights accommodation at Windy Ridge, Simon's Town.
1 night bed & breakfast at Undulata Lodge, Springbok.
Anne Albatross Cape Pelagic trip out of Simon's Town.
Eve also made reservations for us with Buchu Bush Camp & Diepvlei Guest House and arranged for Dave Winter to guide us on the last day.
We booked our Europcar 10-day rental through Wildwings at a total cost of £224 fully inclusive & unlimited mileage plus a further £10 on arrival for two additional drivers.
We were provided with a 5-door air-conditioned Nissan Sentra which proved very satisfactory even on the gravel tracks of Namaqualand.
Windy Ridge, Froggy Farm, Simon's Town (3 nights).
First class self-catering accommodation with a verandah that overlooked False Bay and had an excellent semi-natural fynbos garden.
Buchu Bush Camp, De Hoop NR (1 night) email@example.com
Dinner, bed & breakfast at the recently built two bedroom thatched chalets next to the De Hoop NR main entrance.
Harbour View Guest House, Yserfontein (1 night).
Bed & breakfast at a superb guesthouse that overlooked the harbour at Yzerfontein.
Undulata Guest House, Springbok (1 night).
Good quality bed & breakfast with an Afrikaans family on the western side of Springbok.
Diepvlei Guest House near Pofadder (1 night) firstname.lastname@example.org
Dinner, bed & breakfast. A most entertaining evening with Vernon Miller at his farm in the middle of nowhere where, over several beers, he gave us an Afrikaans view on why South Africa could go the way of Zimbabwe.
Croeso Guest House, Langebaan (1 night).
Standard quality bed & breakfast with an ex-pat Welsh couple on the north side of West Coast NP.
Holiday Inn Express, Century City, Cape Town (1 night).
Standard Holiday Inn Express bed & continental breakfast.
Previous experience with insurance companies led us back to Viking Travelsafe on 0870 606 0522. The required cover worked out at £25 each.
We booked our Anne Albatross Cape Pelagic trip on the Zest II out of Simon's Town through Birding Africa at a cost of US$85.00 each. You can also contact the company on www.annealbatross.org or email@example.com.
Our trip was arranged around the one planned January trip so it pays to check well in advance if a pelagic is running during your visit. They run every month ranging from one trip in December to March then twice monthly April to November. You will need to keep two days free as if the weather is poor on the Saturday the boat will then run on the Sunday. Several seabird experts will be on board to help with id, which in the main is done naked eye, as binoculars become useless in the inevitable swell. You will need two hands to hold on!!
For the most up to date information on jabs required contact your own GP or MASTA
(Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad) on 09068 224 100 or www.masta.org who offer an excellent postal service. For South Africa we were advised that no additional immunisation against Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid or Hepatitis 'A' was necessary and malaria would not be a problem in the Western Cape area. Birders world-wide however are likely to become more exposed to TB and immunisation should be considered.
Site Guide, Field Guide & Map
We extensively used the Essential Birding Guide to Western South Africa (Key routes from Cape Town to the Kalahari) by Callan Cohen & Claire Spottiswoode (ISBN 1 86872 524 3). This publication proved invaluable and contains many useful maps, tips & diagrams. The excellent Sasol field guide, Birds of Southern Africa by Sinclair, Hockey & Tarboton was used throughout (ISBN 1 86872 721 1). We also used the Insight Maps to South Africa and Cape Town available from Waterstone's at £4.99 each.
We decided to use a local guide on our last day only when we returned to Cape Town in order to pick up any species at the Cape that we had missed.
Through Birding Africa we secured the services of Dave Winter who met us close to his home at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. His fee for the day was £90. During the preceding few days we had kept Dave advised of species were still missing. The night before we met up we gave him a list of around 15 species we had still not seen. On our last day he helped us find no fewer than 9 of these. 082 545 8000 or DWinter@kanteys.co.za
We also bumped into Callan Cohen several times as he guided other visitors and he was helpful in putting us onto a few species.
The following 4 reports were used with the first two consulted widely and available on www.Surfbirds.com.
South Africa - Cape Region, 21st November to 5th December 1998 by Mark Sutton.
Report on birds & other wildlife, South Africa, 6th August to 2nd September 2001 by Dave & Penny Smallshire DaveSmalls@aol.com
South African nine-day wonder, 24th August to 1st September 2001 by Andrew Duff & Ann Lawson firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape Town area, South Africa, 8th to 20th September 2002 by Richard Smith email@example.com