• Wildlife of Western Cape, South Africa.
  • 21st - 28th June 2018

  • Three Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in South Africa
    Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) at Strandfontein, Cape Town

    Wildlife of the Western Cape



    After dire warnings of drought I arrived in Cape Town to strong winds and driving rain... just like being home in Wales! The locals were clearly relieved and after six months in Cairo I wasn't complaining about some refreshing, damp weather.

    On my first morning I'd booked a tour with local wildlife expert Dominic Chadbon (The Fynbos Guy) which proved to be the perfect start to my trip. We visited several Cape Town wildlife sites where we saw an impressive range of birdlife including Greater Flamingo, Great White Pelican, Cape Longclaw, Cape Shoveler, Cape Teal and many more.


    In addition to the photo opportunities, Dominic provided an invaluable run-down on where to go, what to see and the dos and don'ts for a first-time visitor. I'd strongly recommend him to anyone who'd like to know more about The Cape and what it has to offer. Click here for Dominic's website.
    Male Cape Shoveler (Spatula smithii) Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
    Male Cape Shoveler (Spatula smithii)
    Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

    Ostrich (Struthio camelus) in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
    Ostrich (Struthio camelus) in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

    On Dominic's advice my next visit was in search of mammals on the atlantic coast of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. In fact the first large animals I saw were birds... a majestic family of ostriches, but they were soon followed by a handsome family of Bontebok and then Eland, Chacma Baboons an energetic little Grey Rhebok.


    The reserve is a beautiful location, teeming with wildlife and somewhere I would certainly like to return to in the future. I also visited the Bouders Beach Penguin colony with a thriving population of noisy African Penguins (previously known much more appropriately as Jackass Penguins) which also had Rock Hyrax feeding in the trees.
    Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus) in South Africa Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus) in South Africa
    Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus)
    Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus)

    African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) in Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) in South Africa
    African penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
    Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)


    Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) off the south african coast
    Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    From The Cape I headed east along the coast to De Hoop Nature Reserve stopping off in Hermanus Bay for an excellent whale-watching trip with Dyer Island Cuises on the way. We were accompanied by a marine biologist who gave lots of information about the wildlife and the conservation work the company is undertaking and we had superb views of Southern Right Whale, a Humpback with a very young calf, a Cape Fur seals colony and various pelagic birds including Shy Albatross.


    I then turned northwards for a long drive up through the Great Karoo desert to Karoo National Park. I really enjoyed my stay here with excellent accommodation and the freedom to drive myself around. The highlight was the lions, one of which came right up to the car and stole my flash diffuser (click here to see the video) but there were also good views of many other mammals (full species list at the end of the report) as well as interesting birdlife.
    Lion (Panthera leo) in South Africa Lion (Panthera leo) feeding
    Lion (Panthera leo) approaching my car
    Lioness (Panthera leo) feeding on a dead South African Oryx

    Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra) in Karoo National Park South African Oryx (Oryx gazelle) in South Africa
    Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra)
    South African Oryx (Oryx gazelle)


    The Western Cape is a great place to see wildlife, with a facinating array of habitats within a relatively short distance of each other. I would have liked to have spent longer there and intend to return before too long. Next, I headed for the Northern Cape... report to follow soon.


    Mammal Species in the Western Cape

    Cape of Good Hope

    Eland (Tichodroma muraria)
    Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus)
    Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus)
    Red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus)
    Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)
    Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus)
    Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus)

    Hermanus Bay

    Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus)
    Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis)
    Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    De Hoop Nature Reserve

    Eland (Tichodroma muraria)
    Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus)
    Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus)
    Red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus)
    Scrub Hare (Lepus saxatiles)
    Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis)
    African Clawless Otter (Alonyx capensis)
    Cape grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta)
    Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus)

    Karoo National Park

    Eland (Tichodroma muraria)
    Common Duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia)
    Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris)
    Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)
    South African Oryx (Oryx gazelle)
    Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)
    Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)
    Red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus)
    Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra)
    Scrub Hare (Lepus saxatiles)
    Cape Hare (Lepus capensis)
    Lion (Panthera leo)
    Aardwolf (Proteles cristatus)
    Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)
    Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)
    Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus)



    Black-backed Jackal eating a south african oryx
    Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas) eating a South African Oryx (Oryx gazelle)