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This is a special tour. It not onlycombines both birds and flowersunder the guidance of one of SouthAfrica's top naturalists, but covers acomplete range of the country's habitats.Starting in the acacia and broad-leavedwoodlands of southern Kruger, we movenext to the montane grasslands ofSwaziland, before heading south into theMaputaland Coastal Forest Reserve. Wethen end our tour in the 'fynbos' of theCape, the dry scrubland of the Karoo and,finally, surrounded by the spectacular floraldisplays of the Western Cape.Our tour begins with a flight from London toJohannesburg. Here we meet our tourleader and begin the drive into KrugerNational Park for a 3-night stay. Kruger isone of the most famous national parks inthe world and the oldest in Africa. It coversan astonishing 1,948,528 hectares and ishome to an unparalleled diversity of wildlifewhich includes 507 species of birds, 147species of mammals and 300 species oftrees. Our time here will be spent in thesouthern part of the Kruger in search ofbirds such as Gorgeous Bush-shrike,African Finfoot, Purple-crested Turaco andnumerous birds of prey. Mammals includeall the typical large game animals of theAfrican bush, such as Elephant, Giraffe andLion, plus White Rhinoceros, Roan Antelopeand perhaps even Wild Dog or the rareLichtenstein's Hartebeest. Leaving Krugerwe drive south into Swaziland where we visitthe Malolotje Nature Reserve, a beautifularea of montane grassland and home to awide variety of birds such as Buff-streakedChat, Malachite Sunbird, Jackal Buzzard,White-necked Raven and Grassbird. Weshould also find several species of upland mammals including MountainReedbuck, Oribi, Grey Rhebok and Blesbokbefore spending the night at the MountainInn on the outskirts of Mbabane,Swaziland's capital.Continuing south, we next spend two nightsat the Tembe Elephant Reserve, located innorthern KwaZulu-Natal close to the borderwith Mozambique. Our scenic route will takeus out of Swaziland, over the Lebombo Mountains and then down into theMaputaland coastal plain. The TembeElephant Reserve protects a mosaic of sandforest, palm savannah, wetlands and riverineforest although it is the former, the sandforest, where we will focus much of ourbirding attention. This is an increasinglythreatened habitat in South Africa and hometo a much sought-after selection of speciesincluding African Broadbill, Narina Trogon,Green Twinspot, Southern Banded Snake-eagle, Crested Guineafowl, Eastern Nicatorand Purple-banded Sunbird. Moreimportantly, several of the species to befound here are endemic to the Zululand/Mozambique coastal plain. These includeWoodward's Batis, Pink-throated Twinspot,Rudd's Apalis and Neergaard's Sunbird.The main mammalian attraction at Tembe isthe shy, sand forest-dwelling, AfricanElephants, the largest in all of Africa, butthere are also a few rarer smaller mammalsto look out for, most notably Suni, Four-toedElephant Shrew and Tonga Red Squirrel. Next we continue south, through theMaputaland coastal plain, to the Greater St.Lucia Wetland Park, a remarkable wetlandreserve recently designated a UNESCOWorld Heritage site. For two nights we willbe based in the Bonamanzi Game Park.During our time here we will explore thesand forests of False Bay, one of the mostthreatened vegetation types in South Africa,and birdwatch in the woodlands andmarshes around Lake St. Lucia in search ofsuch species as Crowned Hornbill, Red-capped Robin-chat, Narina Trogon, BlackHeron, Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana.Driving to Durban for a flight to Cape Town we will spend two days exploring the Cape. This region is one of the eight floral kingdoms of theworld, and we will devote plenty of timefrom now on to the wonderful display ofspring flowers to be found here. At this timeof year the floral display is at its very best,and we will visit the fynbos, a word used todescribe the heath-like plants-the ericas,proteas and restios-that dominate thisunique floral region which boasts literallythousands of endemic species. We will alsovisit Hermanus and Betty's Bay in search ofSouthern Right Whales, an African Penguincolony, and search for such bird species asCape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted andMalachite Sunbirds, Cape Siskin and a hostof waders. For the keen birdwatchers of theparty it may also be possible to organise anoptional pelagic trip in search of the Cape'srich variety of offshore seabirds.Finally, we will head north towardsNamaqualand. The further north we travelthe more wonderful are the displays ofwildflowers. We will stop en route to enjoythe birdlife of Langebaan Lagoon, thecolony of Cape Gannets at Lambert's Bay,and the more unusual passerines of the aridareas, in particular the tit-babblers, larksand crombecs. The birding is likely to bealmost forgotten, however, as we follow thespectacular spring displays of flowers onour way to Clanwilliam. The best of thedesert flowers show between mid-Augustand mid-September, depending on thewinter rains. With luck, the timing of ourjourney will be just right! South Africa - Birds & BotanyA unique 15-day holiday in search of the birds and magnificent plant-life of a comprehensive range of South African habitats.Wednesday 21st August - Wednesday 4th September Cost: £4,495Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationBOTSWANA NAMIBIA ZIMBABWE NAMAQUALAND LANGEBAAN WEST COASTNATIONALPARKCAPE TOWN LESOTHO DURBAN BONAMANZI GAME PARK MAPUTALAND COASTAL FOREST RESERVE TEMBE ELEPHANT RESERVESWAZILANDKRUGER NATIONAL PARK MBABANE JOHANNESBURG INDIAN OCEAN ATLANTIC OCEAN SOUTH AFRICA DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London. Day 2/4Kruger National Park. Day 5Swaziland. Day 6/7Tembe ElephantReserve. MaputalandCoastal Forest Reserve. Day 8/9Bonamanzi Game Park.Day 10/11Cape Town. Day 12/13Lambert's Bay and WestCoast National Park. Day 14Drive Cape Town; flyLondon. Day 15Arrive London.AccommodationSmall, comfortable hotels andlodges, all with private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingA pleasant mix of gentle walks andvehicular safari drives. Grade A.FocusBirds, plants and mammals.LeadersLeon Marais and Mariana Delport.Single room supplement£595. ExtensionsAvailable on request.Web quick search: ZAF07171Aloe feroxLionCape Sugarbirdon Protea

172Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryWild Flowers of the Cape & NamaqualandA 14-day appreciation of the magnificent spring flowers of southern Africa - from the Cape to Namaqualand - at the peak of the wild flower season.Thursday 5th September - Wednesday 18th September Cost: £4,295Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2/4Cape Town.Day 5Stellenbosch.Day 6/7Langebaan.Day 8/9Nieuwoudtville.Day 10Springbok.Day 11/12Augrabies NationalPark.Day 13Depart Cape Town.Day 14Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable guesthouses andhotels, most with private facilities;national park chalets at Augrabies.FoodAll breakfasts and eight eveningmeals included. Allow £120 forremaining meals.GradingA. Day walks only.Focus Plants, and other wildlife.LeadersMaureen Ponting and JeremyExcelby.Single room supplement £195.Web quick search: ZAF10AUGRABIES FALLSNATIONAL PARKUPINGTONPOFADDERORANGE RIVERSPRINGBOKLANGEBAANCAPE TOWNNIEUWOUDTVILLESTELLENBOSCHBETTY'SBAYATLANTIC OCEANSOUTH AFRICANAMIBIASouth Africa offers a unique flora in awild and beautiful country. Here,spring starts at the beginning ofSeptember and our tour has been plannedat this time in order to see as much of theflora as possible in many different habitats,always amongst stunning scenery. Never farfrom mountains and sea on this holiday,and hopefully blessed with brilliantsunshine, we will explore the CapePeninsula, the west coast of Namaqualandto Springbok, and north-east as far as theAugrabies National Park on the OrangeRiver. Covering a hugely diversegeographical area in easy stages, we willhave plenty of time to walk and enjoy theflowers and other natural history.We begin our holiday with a visit toKirstenbosch Botanic Garden on the slopesof Table Mountain, famous for its collectionof native plants including Proteas,Restios,heaths and bulbous plants. These are thedominant ingredients of the 'fynbos'vegetation. Above the garden is a beautifulstand of the Silver Tree (Leucadendronargenteum), endemic to the Cape. Many ofthe Proteasare pollinated by birds, and weare sure to see sunbirds as they flit fromone brightly coloured flowerhead to another.Armed with the knowledge gathered fromthe previous day, we head next to theCape Peninsula to explore our first wildfynbos. Here, we will see Erica plunkenetiiwith its long tubular red flowers, andanother heath with bright sticky redflowers, Erica cerinthoides. Phylicaericoides, a stiff shrub with white flowers,the prostrate Protea acaulis, and the CapeSugarbush (Protea repens) will also befound. Amongst these shrubs are someinteresting bulbous plants: Moraeasthatresemble small irises, Trachyandras,Romuleas, and incredibly blue Babianas.We will then travel along the coast fromGordon's Bay to Betty's Bay, where we willvisit the Harold Porter Botanic Gardens.Here we will see wonderful specimens ofthe King Protea (Protea cynaroides), bothyellow and orange varieties of the RocketPincushion (Leucospermum reflexum) andseveral species of Drosera. Further alongthe coast we will visit a colony of AfricanPenguins and, if we are lucky, encounterSouthern Right Whales. On our way toStellenbosch we will stop at the HelderbergNature Reserve, another fynbos collection ina beautiful setting which, like other South African reserves, merges into themountains beyond. Then, as we drive inland from the mountains fringing thecoast, we come across vast arid flatlandswith low rainfall: the Karoo, a vegetationdominated by succulents. Moving to Langebaan, we stay at a quaintbut comfortable equestrian centre. Manyinteresting bulbous plants grow in thesurrounding rocks, and Ferraria crispa,Gladiolus speciosus,Watsonia coccinea, ayellow Ornithogalum sp.,Lachenalia hirtaand a geranium, Pelargonium fulgidum,should feature amongst our discoveries.From here we visit Postberg National Parkto see South Africa's famous carpets ofannuals. Blues, yellows and pinks stretchfrom the sea to the hills, with the mainspecies being Wahlenbergia arenaria,Feliciamerxmeulleri, plus a range of Gazania,Dimorphothecaand Arctotisspecies.From Langebaan we drive north toSpringbok, stopping en route at the smalltown of Nieuwoudtville to explore theRenosterveld, a habitat characterised bysmall shrubs and a rich geophyte flora. Ourjourney will take us through dramaticmountains with the occasional solitaryQuiver Tree (Aloe dichotoma)standing outfrom the rocks. We will stop to explore thelittle-known Quaggaskop Karoo Reserve,protected from grazing by wire fences. Herewe can walk across acres of succulentsincluding stone-finger plants growing insilvery quartz with bright patches of Aloevariegata. Springbok itself is an attractiveplace with the feel of an isolated frontiertown. We will base ourselves here for onenight to explore the Kamiesberg Mountainsand the Skilpad Flower Reserve, and at theGoegab Nature Reserve we will see,amongst many other things, a finecollection of native Pelargoniums.Our final destination, the Augrabies NationalPark, borders the Orange River whichplunges into a deep gorge, a spectacularfeature of this park. The scenery is amoonscape of granite rocks dotted withCamel Thorn (Acacia erioloba), Black Thorn (A. mellifera), the Pork Bush (Cerarianamaquensis), the Shepherd's Tree (Bosciaalbitrunca) and many other trees adapted to the very arid conditions of this area. It is here that we will see mammals, withmasses of the amusing Rock Hyrax,Klippspringer, Zebra and Giraffe, andplentiful birdlife. From here we will return toCape Town, where we should have time foranother visit to the Kirstenbosch BotanicGardens or to do some shopping beforeour flight back to London.Arctotis fastuosa, Goegab Nature ReserveSouthern RightWhaleKing Protea