Bird-watching tourism (tourism aimed at experiencing birds in their natural habitat) is internationally regarded as the fastest growing ecotourism segment.
The Cape West Coast region of the Western Cape province of South Africa is internationally renowned as a tourist destination – think of the Cape Floral
Kingdom, spectacular land- and seascapes, seafood and acclaimed wines, diversified peoples, the list just goes on. One of the West Coast's great secrets
is being marketed as the Flamingo Birding Route through this website: this area hosts a diverse range of sought after often endemic bird species. Birders
will delight in the many special and endemic birds, including the Blue Crane, Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Penduline Tit, Protea Seedeater,
Cape Siskin and Cape Rock-jumper. These terrestrial species are often overlooked as the West Coast has the reputation for being the home of rare, migrating
waders during summer. Here “mythical” names such as Common Redshank, Pectoral and Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope and Dunlin spring to mind.
Further to this, several underutilized and ecologically varied birding destinations such as Verlorenvlei, the Rocher Pan nature reserve, the Berg river
estuary at Velddrif, the West Coast National Park Park and the Cederberg mountains, to mention a few, need to be properly exposed to a rapidly growing
bird-watching fraternity. Several exciting birding products already exist: the vast numbers of Blue Cranes in the area, the renowned Cape Gannet site at
Bird Island in Lambert's Bay, the Cape Cormorant roosting site at Velddrif, and the Black Harriers and waders at the West Coast National Park need no
introduction and the migratory waders visiting the various estuaries and lagoons are legendary.
This website aims to give local, regional and international birders up-to-date information on bird-watching along the Cape West Coast. Four areas, largely
based on the boundaries of the Local Municipalities in the region will be highlighted. Each area will be marketed, thus enabling visitors to this website
to gain information on the specific area that they are interested in. The routes will be developed in a collaborative and participatory manner, utilizing
local and regional knowledge and insight. At least 10 local bird guides will be trained and mentored on an on-going basis to service visitors to the route.
The local and regional Tourism associations will be relied on heavily and resource material such as websites, brochures, checklists and posters will be
developed for the West Coast as a whole. Basic uniform design features will be applied to the resource material though to facilitate meaningful continuity
on Provincial and National levels.
section of the website describes the latest developments concerning birds and birding along the Flamingo Birding Route and it is attempted to
keep the information updated on a daily basis. Emphasis is placed on top bird-watching destinations and regular trip reports by experienced bird-watchers
and tour guides illustrate how visitors can utilize available information when visiting birding destinations in the area and sometimes even further afield.
Sightings of rare, vagrant and interesting birds are also reported on and this forms a continual historical overview. Photo galleries are updated regularly,
thus illustrating the phenomenal birding potential of the area.
section of the website describes upcoming events on local and regional levels in an attempt to keep birders abreast with the latest “happenings”.
The regional focus falls on birding weekends, forthcoming outings and the activities of the West Coast Bird Club, the BirdLife South Africa branch in the area.
The “Flight for Birders” course is being used to get interested individuals and groupings involved in birding efforts in the region and details of these events
are given on an ongoing basis. This service enables birders to meaningfully plan their participation in a variety of exciting and stimulating birding events.
The conservation of birds and their habitats stands paramount in BirdLife South Africa's approach and therefore the “CONSERVATION”
section of this website
largely focuses on critical issues along the West Coast. Threats to Important Bird Areas are highlighted on an ongoing basis and here developments such as
those at the Langebaan lagoon, Flaminke Vlei at Velddrif and Verlorenvlei serve as examples. The progress of environmental impact assessment studies is
regularly updated in view of giving visitors to the website as comprehensive as possible an overview of the latest developments. Conservation issues facing
species or groups of species are also highlighted and recent reporting focused on appeals concerning birds such as Ludwig's Bustard (and several others),
Verreaux's Eagle and the African Penguin. Progress on the bird atlasing project, SABAP2, within the region is also reported on regularly.
Birder Friendly Establishments, bird guides and tour operators contribute to the website regularly, thus enabling visitors to get an understanding of available
services. A variety of advertising opportunities are available and these include advertorials for larger reserves, guest farms and lodges, destination listings
for smaller establishments and banner adds for organizations wanting to advertise services. The information generated will be reflected on the national birding
routes website at www.birdingroutes.co.za
and the provincial website at www.westerncapebirding.co.za
The money generated through the advertisements will go towards the upkeep of the website and the further marketing of birds and birding along the Flamingo Birding Route.
The Flamingo Birding Route section of www.westerncapebirding.co.za
has been established to promote the activities of BirdLife South Africa and its international partners
along the Cape West Coast and will continue to market the region as a top birding destination. For further information about advertising opportunities contact Anton
Odendal at firstname.lastname@example.org