Cape Town Naturalist Guide
As a Cape Town naturalist guide, I put together bespoke tours based on specific interests and fitness. Most are a combination of shorts walks and hikes, combining destinations ranging from botanical gardens to sewage works. Keen naturalists will have plenty to choose from: the marine and coastal environments, bird watching tours, big mammals and whale watching.
There’s driving involved but I supply tea and fresh coffee and a picnic lunch. I’d recommend bringing binoculars and certainly a camera. Contact me and give me an idea of your interests and I can suggest an itinerary. If you are after something specific – birds especially – then we’ll need to go to certain places. But for inspiration, here are the best nature ‘hot spots’ in and around Cape Town.
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve – one of the best all round nature experiences. We’ll be walking on wild beaches on the lookout for baboon, antelope, ostrich and tortoises. Excellent birding, epic scenery and it combines easily with Boulders Beach Penguin Colony.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – easy access, beautifully landscaped gardens bursting with fynbos plus indigenous forest. Great for bird watching.
Strandfontein Sewage Works – the best bird watching in the south-western Cape? Pelicans, flamingos, waders and wildfowl, fish-eagles, marsh harriers and seabirds. And it doesn’t even smell that much.
Rondevlei Nature Reserve – a tucked-away gem in Cape Town. Great birding and bird photography plus the chance to see evidence of the resident hippos.
Southern Overberg –an hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town are several amazing nature ‘hot spots’. There’s the Stony Beach Penguin Colony, in many ways better that Boulders Beach as it has a fraction of the visitors and is superb for seabirds. Harold Porter Botanical Gardens is close by and offers a mini-Kirstenbosch experience. Its landscaped gardens are full of birds and give way to pristine fynbos and indigenous forest. The Kogelberg Biosphere lies in the folds of the mountains, epicentre of fynbos diversity, while the Rooisands Nature Reserve gives us good old-fashioned bird watching from hides set over wetlands, complete with wild horses.
Hermanus – famous for its land-based whale watching, this coastal town is home to Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Good birds and pristine fynbos with a lot in flower throughout the year. Visit in whale season (August – October) and you can watch whales in Walker Bay while you sit surrounded by mountain fynbos full of flowers.