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Coastal forests, grasslands & wetlands

7 DAY TRIP: 4 to 10 May 2022    

This trip offers exciting and varying birding opportunities within easy reach of Port Elizabeth,” the friendly city”

We have scheduled the trip for this time of the year to give us the opportunity of seeing, in addition to resident species, two tern species which are absent during the summer ie Roseate and Antarctic Terns.


Cape Recife

This 370ha nature reserve is situated on a headland at the south-western tip of Algoa Bay. It is the best place near Port Elizabeth to see marine and freshwater birds and is one of the “must-see” birding venues in Port Elizabeth. The tern roost at Cape Recife point in winter is the best place in South Africa to see Roseate Tern , in breeding plumage. Antarctic Tern is also a common winter visitor.

The bird hide overlooking one of the sewage reclamation ponds offers reedbed species such as African Rail,  Black Crake, African Purple Swamphen, Purple Heron and the elusive Little Bittern.

Coastal dune scrub holds Cape Bulbul, Southern Tchagra, Karoo Prinia and Yellow Canary.

Island Forest Reserve and Maitland Reserve

These two small forest reserves near Seaview provide accessible indigenous coastal forest close to Port Elizabeth and are the best places in the area to see many of the forest specials.

These include  Forest Buzzard, Lemon Dove, Knysna Turaco, Terrestrial Brownbul, Chorister Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Brown Scrub-Robin, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Olive Bush-Shrike, Black-bellied Starling, Grey Sunbird, Dark-backed Weaver, Swee Waxbill and Forest Canary.

Mondplaas Ponds

The name given to a series of pans on the Gamtoos River floodplain. This is one of the best birding spots near Port Elizabeth for water birds and the number and variety of birds seen depends on the amount of water present.

African Rail, African Jacana, Black Crake, Blue-billed Teal, Black-crowned Night-Heron and Little Bittern are permanent residents. Ducks are well represented. 


Farmlands and grasslands

Farmlands and grasslands around Humansdorp and Aston Bay hold Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustard and Black-winged Lapwing. There is an isolated population of Barrow’s Korhaan on a game farm near Aston Bay.

A private residential estate near St Francis Bay usually yields good sightings of the elusive Knysna Warbler and Knysna Woodpecker.


Van Staden’s Wild Flower Res


This 450 hectare reserve lies 40 km from Port Elizabeth on the N2 to Cape Town. It is the best place near Port Elizabeth to see lowland fynbos with flowering Proteas and associated fynbos endemics.

The reserve hosts a number of fynbos endemics including Cape Sugarbird, Cape Bulbul, and Orange-breasted Sunbird. Victorin’s Warbler and Cape Siskin are visitors, especially in winter when they descend from the mountains.

Woody Cape, Addo Elephant Park

he Woody Cape section of Addo Elephant Park,  formerly known as the Alexandria State Forest, is an 80 km section of the coastline located between the Bushman’s River to the east and the Sundays River to the west. The vegetation of this region primarily consists of the dune fields of the former Alexandria State Forest, which runs along the Indian Ocean coastline between the Bushman’s River and the Sunday’s River. The coastal forest contains classic Afromontane forest trees such as yellowwoods, growing alongside milkwood and coral trees on sandy soils. More than 150 species of birds have been recorded in the forest and adjoining habitats, including the beach.

Birds to look out for include Forest Buzzard, African Wood-Owl, Denham’s Bustard, Black-winged Lapwing, Knysna Turaco, Brown Scrub-Robin, White-starred Robin, Chorister Robin-Chat, Olive Bush-Shrike, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Grey Sunbird, Narina Trogon, Olive Woodpecker, Grey Cuckooshrike, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Knysna Warbler, Lemon Dove, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Cape Batis, Dark-backed Weaver, Forest Canary


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Day 1

Date : May 4, 2022

Johannesburg-Port Elizabeth

Depart from Johannesburg International on early morning flight.
Arrive at PE airport and head for Cape Recife.
Bird at Cape Recife until late morning
Check in at our superb accommodation, situated a stone’s throw away from Maitland Forest Reserve.
Bird the surrounding area and overnight at lodge

Day 2

Date : May 5, 2022

Maitland Forest-Island Forest-Cape Recife

Early morning birding in Maitland forest
After breakfast, head for Island Forest for the rest of the morning
Return to Cape Recife for afternoon and early evening birding
Overnight at lodge

Day 3

Date : May 6, 2022

Maitland Forest-Gamtoos River- Paradise Beach

Early morning birding in lodge grounds.
Mid-morning departure for Gamtoos River mouth for wetland birding.
Check in after lunch at our accommodation in Paradise Beach.
Overnight at Paradise Beach.

Day 4

Date : May 7, 2022

Paradise Beach-St Francis Bay

Morning spent birding in the Seekoei Reserve and grasslands around Aston Bay.
Visit an estate near St Francis Bay for Knysna Warbler and other specials.
Afternoon birding and overnight at Paradise Beach.

Day 5

Date : May 8, 2022

Paradise Beach-Van Staden’s-Woody Cape

Early morning birding in area
Depart after breakfast for Van Staden’s Wildflower Reserve for some fynbos birding
Visit Tankatara en route and arrive at forest mid-afternoon.
Overnight at Langebos Huts.

Day 6

Date : May 9, 2022

Woody Cape

Day spent birding in forests and surrounding grasslands.
Overnight at Langebos Huts.

Day 7

Date : May 10, 2022

Woody Cape-Johannesburg

Early morning birding in forest
Depart after breakfast for Port Elizabeth, visiting Sundays River mouth and Swartkops estuary en route.
After lunch, return to PE airport and depart for Johannesburg

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