South Africa Sept 2017 – Rare mammals & Cape flowers
I am planning a trip to South Africa for my mum and I next year- September 2017. She would like to see the flower kingdom and we’d like to combine this with looking for rare mammals and Kgalagadi. By rare mammals, top of my list are, riverine rabbit, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, Black-footed Cat, & Brown Hyena, plus sengis, red rock rabbit, oryx, zorilla, caracal, meerkats, big cats etc. we also keen on birds.
This will be my fifth trip to South Africa and I doubt it will be my last, but its my mum’s first and only African safari. She is not too fussed about not seeing elephants though as she;s seen them in India.
We’ve put together the below itinerary and plan to include plenty of nocturnal activities. But I wanted to ask your expertise, we haven’t included anywhere specifically to target pangolin – is there anywhere along this route that you can see where we should sacrifice a day or two somewhere to get a better chance of seeing a pangolin? The likes of Tswalu are well out of our budget. Are there also particular stops that we should include at any of the below to target specific species? We love birds as well as mammals:
Days 1 – 3: The Cape Peninsula.
Visiting some of the main botanical and natural history destinations such as Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Point and the south-western tip of the African Continent, Betty’s Bay, Stony Point, Boulder’s Beach and others. possibly Table Mountain, depending on weather. Staying in Simon’s Town.
Days 4 – 5: Swellendam and the Agulhas Plain.
Moving on from the Peninsula our next port-of-call is Swellendam, the third oldest town in the country, which will provide a base from which to explore Bontebok National Park (named after the endemic ‘Pied Buck’) and De Hoop Nature Reserve, another gem of a wildlife destination, and a good place to see Whales.- as well as whales we hope to have a chance to see zorilla and possibly caracal here.
Day 6: Karoo National Park.
From Swellendam we’ll begin our long northward journey, with a stopover at Karoo National Park, which can provide some great mammal watching and birding.
Days 7 – 9: Dunedin Farm.
Moving on, our next stop will be at Dunedin Farm, where we’ll spend three nights in total, with the extremely rare Riverine Rabbit at the top of our want list here. We’ll be staying in a self-catering farm house, and will stop in Beaufort West en-route to pick up the necessary supplies.- I have Paul Carter’s report for reference so we also hope to pick up a lot of the smaller mammals he saw here and bat eared foxes.
Days 10 – 12: Kimberley.
After Dunedin we’ll have a long drive to Kimberley, We’ll be staying at a guest house in town and will have two night drives at Marrick, where we hope to find species such as Black-footed Cat, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Southern African Hedgehog, Springhare and others . On one of our full days here we will have a day visit to Mokala National Park, where we may get lucky with mammals such as Black and White Rhinos, Sable and Roan Antelope, and perhaps a Sengi or two. Having read a report from Royle Safaris we should also look to cover Benfontein Game farm from this base to increase chances of black footed cat. Should we spend the second full day at Mokala as well or are there other options? Anyone know whether the flamingos at Kamfers dam will be present in September?
Days 13 – 14: Augrabies Falls National Park.
From Kimberley we’ll drive through to Upington and then Augrabies Falls National Park, our base for the next two nights. look out for birds such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Bradfield’s Swift and Short-toed Rock-Thrush, while drives in the park will give us a chance to see species such as Namaqua Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird and Sociable Weaver, among others. Mammals to be seen include the Springbok, South Africa’s national antelope, as well as Klipspringer in the rocky areas, Southern Giraffe, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Cape Clawless Otter and others, while a night drive may produce a Leopard with some luck.
Days 15 – 19: The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
After Augrabies we’ll stop off in Upington to pick up supplies before heading on to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The exact camps we use will depend on availability, but we’ll perhaps aim for Kieliekrankie, Nossob, Kalahari Tented Camp and Twee Rivieren- are there particular camps that are more productive than others? Our routine will include morning and afternoon drives, and no doubt we’ll get to know the Kalahari very well indeed during our time spent here. Mammals to be seen include an exciting array of predators such as Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Cat, Honey Badger, Spotted and Brown Hyenas. Raptors can be prolific as well, and there plenty of general game along the Auob and Nossob Riverbeds to keep you occupied between predator sightings.
Day 20: Departure.
Today we’ll have an early breakfast followed by departure for Upington, with the exact schedule dependent on flight times.
Other places I’ve seen come up in trip reports include, De Aar and Witsamd Kalahari reserve. But I don’t know if we have room in the itinerary for either of these sites and/or whether it is worth including them. Any thoughts?
Any advice welcome, I know we are packing a lot in this time 🙂