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The beauty of Cape Town and itsmagical position at Africa'ssouthernmost tip are well known. Setbeneath the spectacular Table Mountain,close to the Cape of Good Hope and themeeting point of the Atlantic and IndianOceans, few cities are blessed with suchscenic splendour. This 2-centre holiday,based in Cape Town for five nights andHermanus for two nights, focuses on theregion's colourful flora, scenic nationalparks, wild coastlines and wealth of birds,mammals and cetaceans, amongst thelatter the abundant Southern Right Whalesthat come to breed in the Cape's inshorewaters. The tour also includes an optionalmorning spent watching (or cage divingwith) Great White Sharks. On arrival, we will receive our first taste ofSouth African birding during a stop at themarshlands of Rondevlei Nature Reserveon the Cape Flats. We will also get aflavour of the fabulous Cape coastline aswe travel along Chapman's Peak Drive toHout Bay, from where we may see our firstSouthern Right Whales. However, to bestappreciate our wonderful situation we willtake a cable car ride (or 2-hour walk if youwould prefer) to the top of Table Mountain- assuming it is clear of its occasional'table cloth' of cloud. After enjoying thestunning views over the city and the CapePeninsula, we will explore the surroundingslopes in search of birds and plants andthen move to the nearby KirstenboschBotanical Gardens where we will spendthe rest of the day. Delicately nestled onthe eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this830-hectare 'reserve', of which just 60hectares are cultivated, not only offers afabulous collection of Cape flora, but isalso one the Cape's best birding spots. Bearings established, those that wish maychoose to spend a day at sea, headingout from Simonstown harbour to a pointabout 65 kilometres offshore where thecold Benguela current's nutrient-richupwelling along the continental shelfprovides some of the world's best seabird-watching. Albatrosses such as Black-browed, Yellow-nosed, Shy and even themagnificent Wandering Albatross (thespecies with the largest wing-span of anybird) may be seen gliding effortlessly overthe ocean whilst a wide variety of theirsmaller cousins - petrels, prions andshearwaters - will test even the mostknowledgeable sea-birder's skills to thelimit. Back on dry land, we will spend a full andrewarding day exploring the Cape of GoodHope Reserve. This reserve was formed toprotect the fragile and beautiful fynbosflora, which should be in full bloom duringour tour, and is part of the greater CapePeninsula National Park. An interestingselection of mammals may be seen here,amongst them Bontebok, Eland, CapeMountain Zebra and Chacma Baboon (notto mention the abundant Southern RightWhales that are to be seen close in-shorein virtually every bay!), as well as anexcellent variety of birds, including Ostrichand the African Penguin colony atBoulders Beach. We travel next to Helderberg NatureReserve, passing through the beautifultown of Stellenbosch en route. All five ofthe fynbos endemic birds are to be foundwithin this compact reserve, and we alsohope to see another avian speciality here,the Cape Rockjumper. On another day wewill travel north to the town of Langebaan,and the West Coast National Park, aspectacular 27,000-hectare reserve thatencompasses the lagoon, shoreline andPostberg peninsula, home to a great rangeof wetland and strandveld (coastal scrub)birds, among them Black Harrier andSouthern Black Korhaan. For the final two nights of this holiday wewill move from Cape Town to Hermanus, atthe edge of Walker Bay. Hermanus is theperfect spot from which to enjoy anafternoon of land-based cliff-top whale-watching, for here the Southern RightWhales often come very close in-shoreand can be seen blowing, fluking andeven breaching from the comfort of dryland. Our second boat-trip of the holidayfocuses on inshore waters, as we visitKleinbaai and the infamous Dyer Islandand Shark Alley. Here we hope to watchGreat White Sharks, either from the boat orby donning loaned wetsuits and masks(scuba equipment and experience is notnecessary) and dropping into anunderwater cage to observe thesemagnificent creatures. The latter is anexperience not to be missed, almostguaranteeing a changed perspective on,and respect for, this much-malignedpredator of the deep. At sea we are alsolikely to see Southern Right Whales,seabirds, and thousands of Cape FurSeals, on which the sharks prey. Finally, before our overnight flight back toLondon, we will keep the last day of thetour free for optional sightseeing back inCape Town or a visit to Robben Island,most famous - or infamous - for havingbeen the isolated prison of former SouthAfrican president Nelson Mandela andmany other political dissidents, a numberof whom work today as the island'sguides, providing a unique insight into itsrecent history! Robben Island is also aWorld Heritage Site and home to muchwildlife including Cape Fur Seals, AfricanPenguins and a great many seabirds. South Africa - Best of the CapeA 10-day holiday, based in Cape Town, focusing on the region's colourful flora, scenic national parks, wild coastlines, andwealth of birds, mammals and cetaceans, plus an optional morning spent watching (or cage diving with) Great White Sharks.Monday 9th September - Wednesday 18th September Cost: £3,095Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationLAMBERT'S BAYCAPE TOWNWEST COASTNATIONALPARKSTELLENBOSCHWALKERBAYFALSEBAYCAPEPOINTCAPE AGULHASKLEINBAAIHERMANUSATLANTICOCEANINDIANOCEANSOUTH AFRICAOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London. Day 2/6Wildlife excursions fromCape Town.Day 7/8Wildlife excursions fromHermanus.Day 9Depart Cape Town.Day 10Arrive London. AccommodationTwo comfortable tourist hotels,ideally positioned. Private facilities.FoodAll included in the price. GradingGentle wildlife walks only (with theexception of optional TableMountain climb/descent). Grade A. FocusBirds, Cape flora, mammals(especially cetaceans) and GreatWhite Sharks.LeaderMariana Delport.Single room supplement£230.Web quick search: ZAF05173Table MountainAfrican PenguinsGreat White Shark

Africa is blessed with an unrivalledabundance of mammals and otherwildlife. Huge herds of game stillroam vast national parks which they sharewith an equally impressive array of birds,reptiles and other fauna and flora.However, there is one family of animalswithout which no visit to Africa would becomplete: the cats. The 'Big Cats', andtheir smaller relatives, hold a specialappeal for many of us. Not only are theybeautiful, sleek and powerful animals, butthey are also elusive and superb mastersof camouflage, able to shun the limelightand only reveal themselves to the fortunatefew. Cats are always a challenge to find,but knowing where to go is half the battle,and although nothing is guaranteed in theworld of wildlife-watching, this exciting tourhas been specially designed with cats inmind and offers the very best opportunityof seeing Africa's cats, both big and small,in the wild. Our tour begins with a flight toJohannesburg, where we meet our guideand begin the long drive to the worldfamous Kruger National Park. We will breakthe journey with a night at the Blyde RiverCanyon, a spectacular cleft in themountains and the third largest canyon inthe world. The endangered Cape Vulture isa common sight here, soaring high abovethe rocky escarpments, whilst other wildlifeto look out for includes Verreaux's Eagle,the rare Taita Falcon, Gurney's Sugarbirdand the delightful Rock Hyrax, an unlikelycousin of the Elephant!Completing our drive to the KrugerNational Park, we enter this world famousreserve at the Phabeni Gate in the southand drive on to Skukuza, where we stay fortwo nights. Here begins our quest for wildcats. The southern region of the park isfairly densely vegetated, with two largeriver systems and numerous rockyoutcrops. We will concentrate our activitiesalong the Sabi River, where the permanentwater attracts large numbers of Impala.These form the prey-base for the predators of the area and this is one of the top spots in the Kruger for finding theever-elusive Leopard. We next drive north to the Satara region, inthe central Kruger, where we stay for afurther two nights. Satara holds the highestdensity of Lions in the national park, due tothe large numbers of Blue Wildebeest andBurchell's Zebra attracted here by the lushgrazing and open country. Leopards alsooccur in the area, as do Cheetah, SpottedHyena and African Wild Dog. We will spendour time here looking for these magnificentanimals, and will undoubtedly encounterother species such as Elephant, CapeBuffalo, Waterbuck, Greater Kudu andGiraffe as well as an incredible array ofsavannah birds. An evening/night drivefrom the camp will provide our best chanceof finding one or two of the smaller, andmore elusive, cat species, notably AfricanWildcat, Caracal and Serval. We now leave Kruger, via the Orpen Gate, and drive into the adjacent SabiSand Game Reserve. This 65,000-hectareprivate reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, offers someof the finest predator-viewing in the world,and the chances of seeing Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs simply cannot get any higher! The reserve wasestablished as far back as the 1960s and,by the early 1980s, the very first privatelodges were in operation. This long historyof conservation, the large size of thereserve, and the ideal habitat it offers aresome of the factors making Sabi Sand sospecial when it comes to cat-viewing. Itwas in this reserve that a few individualLeopards first became habituated to safari vehicles, a slow process that tookover 10 years, and the result of this hardwork is daily close-up encounters withthese beautiful creatures. Cheetahs arealso seen regularly and we hope that timeand patience will be rewarded withsightings of the smaller cat species such as Caracal or Serval. We will spend four nights in the reserve,staying at two different lodges. This willgive us both ample time in the field, as wellas time to relax in the beautifulsurroundings of our accommodation.Furthermore, we will have dailyopportunities to embark on bush walks,where we can see, and enjoy, the smallerlife forms and ecology of the area. Sadly,after four nights at Sabi Sand and, wehope, a variety of memorable encounterswith cats and other wildlife, we must leavethe peace and tranquillity of the 'AfricanBush' for the hustle and bustle ofJohannesburg from where we catch ourreturn flight home. South Africa - Just Cats!A 12-day tour of South Africa focusing on cats - including Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Serval, Caracal and AfricanWildcat - and other wildlife, visiting the Kruger National Park and the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve.Monday 1st October - Friday 12th October 2012 Cost: £3,795Monday 15th October - Friday 26th October 2012 Cost: £3,795Monday 7th October - Friday 18th October 2013 Cost: £3,995Monday 21st October - Friday 1st November 2013 Cost: £3,995Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Blyde River Canyon.Day 3/6Kruger National Park.Day 7/10Sabi Sand Game Reserve.Day 11Depart Johannesburg.Day 12Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable national park lodges inKruger and private game lodges inSabi Sand Game Reserve. Allrooms have private facilities.Food All meals are included in the price,except for lunches on Days 2 to 7.Allow £70.Grading A traditional African safari. Grade A.FocusAfrica's big and small cats, plusother mammals, birds and wildlife.LeaderLeon Marais. Single room supplement£550.Web quick search: ZAF06174Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryBOTSWANA ZIMBABWE DURBAN SATARASKUKUZABLYDERIVERCANYONSABI SANDGAMERESERVESWAZILAND KRUGERNATIONALPARKJOHANNESBURG INDIAN OCEAN SOUTH AFRICALESOTHO ServalsLeopardAfrican Lions