Port Elizabeth & Cape Peninsula areas

I recently made an all-too-short visit to South Africa for work – despite very limited free time I managed to visit Addo NP for a day and had an afternoon out between flights in Cape Town. Originally I had hoped to stay for another week to try Lesotho or Northern Cape to add to the mammals I saw in the west of the country in 2013, but work and home commitments prevented this.  Luckily it’s such a great place for mammalwatching we still saw some goodies, even while ‘working’ (=bird surveys)! Details are in the below report.

Georgia via a stop in Istanbul next week – I think more birds are on the cards than mammals but I’ll report back if there are any interesting sightings.



Addo Port Elizabeth & Capetown 2015


  • Jon Hall

    Nice work – especially on the Aardvark. Which is much more difficult to see than your track record suggests! How did you see the Dormouse – were you spotlighting, or trapping, or was it in a room? The only Dormouse I have seen in Africa got into bed with me (in Namibia)!

    • mikehoit

      I’m under no illusions how fortunate I’ve been with Aardvark – never really expected to ever see one! My colleague couldn’t believe our luck, and I think I said something along the lines of wishing I could tick it more than once…
      The dormouse (my first of any species) was seen in the car headlights, flushed from roadside rocks pre-dawn, then refound with the torch on a treestump. Just a random encounter really, we did drives through the same rocky scrub every day before dawn or after dusk with no other rodent sightings; in fact rodent sightings were at a premium generally on this trip.

  • vdinets

    You mean, the Republic of Georgia? It’s an excellent mammal-watching destination. I can give you a few tips if you’d like.

    • mikehoit

      Yes, Republic of Georgia! Going to be at Batumi on the Black Sea coast volunteering at the raptor count for two weeks. I won’t have much time to travel around elsewhere unfortunately but I’ll have a good look around the local area and take a few traps. Any tips would be gratefully received though, thanks very much.

      • vdinets

        There is an area of beautiful subtropical rainforests called Kintrishi Nature Reserve near Kobuleti. It is mostly known as the best site for Caucasian salamander, but it also has S white-breasted hedgehog and a nice selection of forest rodents. Nearby is the new Mtirala National Park, presumably with similar fauna, but I don’t know anything about it except that it is said to have bears, lynxes and roe deer.

        Also, check out the botanical garden in Batumi – I didn’t find any mammals there, but it’s a nice old park, and might have interesting bats.

        The entire area gets a lot of rain, but if you happen to be there during a dry spell, listen for shrews in the forest.

  • mikehoit

    That’s great, thanks a lot for taking the time to do that. Hopefully I’ll have a good chance for look for rodents and bats so I’ll let you know what I see

  • Charles Foley

    I thought I’d mention that if anyone is looking for Sharpe’s Grysbok in that area, you should try the grounds of the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. They have a nature trail where they are easy to see; I saw two on a short walk around mid-morning. I tried hard for this species in various other places including De Hoop and some of the other reserves in the area, but failed miserably, so I would try the University grounds first if you’re keen on seeing one.

  • mikehoit

    That’s a good tip off, cheers – I’ll check it out if I get to visit the area for work again. As an aside, Cape Grysbok seems to be reported fairly regularly from the main Addo NP area; however the local guy I was working with has never seen it, and told me some analysis of ‘grysbok’ droppings showed them all to be from Steenbok. So confusion with the latter may be a bigger pitfall than many people assume. He suggested that Cape Grysbok is more-or-less restricted to the coast in the PE area – which ties in with Charles’s sightings, and presumably they can also be seen in the coastal dune section of Addo NP

  • Charles Foley

    Your point about confusion between Grysbok and Steenbok is a good one. Not only do the two species look pretty similar anyway, but the Steenbok on the coast are quite furry, making them even harder to distinguish, so you need to get a really good look at the animal in order to be sure of your id. I thought I’d seen a Cape Grysbok in Addo, but then the doubt set in and I had to scratch that record. Incidentally, someone told me that they’d seen Blue duiker in the early morning on the grounds of the Nelson Mandela University in PE, so if you timed it right you might be able to get both species at a go.

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