After leaving Tulbagh we drove to Cape Town via Darling. Darling is a popular area for wildflowers. We went to two different wildflower reserves, but most of the flowers had already bloomed and bird life was scarce.
We made it to Cape Town and our accommodations at Largo House, which is located about a 5 minute drive from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (where we plan to go the next day). We got to Largo House about 2:00 pm, unloaded our luggage, and off we went to an adjacent river garden park across the street.
We paid a visit to the gardens. My goal, of course, was to find birds. This place is always mentioned as one of the key places to bird in Cape Town. I must say I was disappointed in how few species we saw – only 24. While I don’t know most of the calls, what I did hear were the same birds over and over again, with the Southern Double Collared Sunbird and Cape White-eye being the top contenders for singing. Despite the lack of bird species, I did come away with two life birds – Forest Canary and the Lemon Dove. Both great birds (aren’t they all).
The flowers in the gardens were beautiful, although I expected more flowers. We spent 8 hours in the garden and did a lot of walking uphill affording a commanding view of the city. One good outcome, we did get some exercise out of the day.
In the gardens is an elevated walkway. I thought from this walkway we would see a lot of birds – not so much. Again mostly sunbirds and white-eyes. Still it was good to see birds.
The gardens included an area of native species that have become invasives elsewhere in the world – fascinating. Also there was a part of the garden dedicated to threatened and endangered plants.
We also hiked in the surrounding mountains. The gardens and trails are well marked so easy to know where you are going.
Speaking of sign posts, they had a signpost near one of the entrances that indicated distances to places in other countries. We were surprised to see “Missouri” (Jack’s home state) on the signpost.
The next day in Cape Town we woke to rain. It seems to be raining a lot in South Africa. The country is experiencing a drought so I am sure many people are happy to get rain. We did get out later in the day and walked along the Liesbeek River again (across the street from Largo House). Saw a Common Chaffinch (female) for another life bird. Not too bad of a day. We had planned to hike up to Lion’s Head which gives one a 360 degree view of the city, but with the rain we weren’t going to see much.
Next we are headed north along the coast to West Coast National Park and Langebaan (our base for three nights).
Until then ……… IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BIRD.