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The Tanqua Karoo, a part of the Succulent Karoo Biome (see p.7), merits one full day’s exploration at the very least, although two days are preferable. As a dawn birding start is optimal, staying overnight in the nearby town of Ceres is a favourable option. This provides the freedom to explore, unhurriedly, both the Tanqua Karoo and the series of scenic and productive passes that lies between it and Cape Town. The route incorporating these passes is the less direct of the two main possibilities — the faster road, for a pre-dawn dash, takes in the N1 national road. It is quite feasible to make the round trip from Cape Town in a single day, but note, however, that this entails a total drive of about 500 km.

Visitors with limited time would do well to leave Cape Town about two hours before dawn and embark on the N1 to reach Karoopoort — at the edge of the Karoo — shortly after sunrise. From Karoopoort, you can work your way north to Katbakkies, stopping at the sites described below, before heading back again by mid-afternoon. Katbakkies makes a good lunch stop, as the birding here is not as dependent on early-morning activity as is that at Karoopoort and the plains between. You can then make a leisurely return to Cape Town via the scenic but undeniably slower ‘three passes’ fynbos route through the towns of Ceres, Wellington and Paarl.

The winelands town of Paarl has two excellent birding sites associated with it, offering, respectively, localized fynbos and waterbirds, and can be included in a Karoo excursion. Alternatively, these sites can easily be tackled as a relaxed day trip from Cape Town.

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27/09/09: Dalton Gibbs reports back from Gough Island! Read the blog!

26/09/09: New Cape Town Pelagics trip report from trips of 12 and 19 September 2009.

30/08/09: British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water proved very successful, with sunny weather and over 20,000 visitors. Callan's "Birding Namibia and the Okavango" was the most highly-attended lecture on the Saturday, with over 240 people. Congratulations to the winners of the Birding Africa competition and the African Bird Club raffle that we helped sponsor!

12/08/09: New Cape Town Pelagics trip reports from August and July 2009. Highlights: Little Shearwater and more!

07/08/09: The sub-adult Black Sarrowhawk visits our garden again! Read on about Raptor Research in the Western Cape.

27/07/09: Cape Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has grown! And its sibling never had a chance to hatch. See the pictures of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.

27/07/09: To follow modern nomenclature and systematics, we've adopted the IOC World Bird List, Version 2.1.

13/07/09: The 8th African Bird ID Challenge has launched! Win a 50% discount on a Cape Town Pelagics trip, a copy of Southern African Birdfinder, or African Bird Club membership for 1 year.

6 July 09: Cape White-eye research in our garden.

2 July 09: Cape Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has hatched! See the pictures of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.

2 July 09: Campbell Fleming, a Cape Town scholar, avid birder and photographer, joined Birding Africa last month as an intern. Click here, to see what he got up to.

2 July 09: New pelagic trip reports from the Cape Town Pelagics trips in June 2009. Highlights: Slenderbilled Prion and Leach's Storm Petrel

30 july 09: Our latest Cape Fynbos and Karoo trip reports feature Hottentot Buttonquail, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and other fynbos and Karoo endemics...

26 June 09: Tungsten mining threatens RAMSAR site, South Africa's Verlorenvlei. Read the Media Release.

22 June 09: Claire Spottiswoode, one of the Cape Birding Route founders, was part of the exploratory team at Mount Mabu. The mountain is part of the newly discovered largest rainforest in Southern Africa.

11 June 09: A colour-ringed Black Sparrowhawk visits the Birding Africa office garden. Read why it's a 10 months old male!

14 June 09:
Wildlife at the office of The Cape Birding Route, Birding Africa and Cape Town Pelagics.

31 May 09:
Michel Watelet wins the 7th African Bird Club & Birding Africa ID Challenge. Test your African birding skills and WIN a Birding Africa Cape town day trip or a copy of the Birdfinder!

30 May 09: A tragedy unfolds at Kommetjie south of Cape town as 44 beached False Killer Whales were shot. Click here for more details and pictures.

14 March 09: Raptor Watch in Cape Town on 14 March 09