Birding Routes

BIRDING IN THE WITZENBERG REGION - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details


The Witzenberg local municipal area in the Western Cape Province of South Africa is internationally renowned as a tourist destination. Consider the countless, breathtaking mountain passes, the sublime Cape Floral Kingdom, spectacular landscapes, acclaimed wines and fruit, diverse peoples – the list goes on. One of the region’s greatest assets is the sheer diversity of bird species found in the area as it hosts a sundry range of highly sought-after endemic and near-endemic species. BURCHELL'S COURSER, CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD, CINNAMON-BREASTED WARBLER, VICTORIN'S WARBLER and GROUND WOODPECKER are just a few of the exciting species on display.
Furthermore, several intriguing, underutilised and ecologically varied birding destinations such as the Ceres, Tulbagh and Wolseley districts, Bainskloof, Michell's, Gydo and Theronsberg Mountain Passes, Tweeling and Rocklands Dams, Karoopoort, the Tankwa-Karoo National Park, the Swartruggens Plateau and others need to be properly exposed to a rapidly growing bird-watching fraternity. It is simply impossible to describe all of the splendid birding destinations that the Witzenberg region has to offer, but rest assured that several of the destinations not included at this stage can be incorporated in the future.
In addition, the region boasts an outstanding tourism infrastructure and a plethora of accommodation establishments that are well-equipped to cope with the demands set by domestic and international bird-watchers. This includes readily available, experienced bird guides, who regularly visit the area, and thorough bird checklists. (Refer to the links in the dropdown menu below).

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Tulbagh Valley landscape (Image by AO)
King Protea (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Clapper Lark  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

This text serves as an introductory overview to assist the visitor in tracking down some of the prominent birds of the region with key information on where to search for them. It should be seen as a starting point to be used against the backdrop of the website. Dropdown menus are provided with each body of text and these offer links to more comprehensive articles, trip reports and websites that the visitor can utilise to enhance the planning of birding excursions. These links are updated on a continual basis and, in most cases, basic GPS co-ordinates are provided.
This birdfinder web page explores an impressive collection of worthwhile areas. Firstly described are the birding opportunities in the Tulbagh, Wolseley and Ceres districts. This is followed by two recommended scenic circle routes from Ceres that can be used to delve into the region. The first circle route traverses the Swaarmoed Pass, Bo-Swaarmoed farming area, Droëhoek Road and Gydo Pass. The second circle route is substantially longer and mostly highlights birding opportunities through the Ceres Karoo and Swartruggens Plateau. Some other thrilling destinations chronicled include the Theronsberg Pass, Karoopoort, R355 through the Tankwa Karoo, Tankwa Farm Stall, Katbakkies picnic site, Swartruggens Plateau and Gydo Pass. Finally, the birding delights of the Tankwa-Karoo National Park will be discussed in detail.

It should be noted that large portions of the Witzenberg region are farmland under private ownership, which may restrict access. Visitors are requested to respect such privacy and not transgress onto privately owned property without prior permission obtained from owners.

The text of this web page has been drafted in such a way that the individual sections may be copied and printed in view of making bird-watching in that section so much more accessible and practical.

NOTE: Every effort has been made to ensure that the contents of this web page, including the GPS co-ordinates given, are accurate. However, the members of BirdLife Overberg or the Witzenberg Local Municipality cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors, misfortune, injury or damages that may arise therefrom.
The members of BirdLife Overberg would like to deeply thank and congratulate the WITZENBERG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY for the wonderful initiative of sponsoring the development of this web page. The hope is sincerely expressed that it will contribute to the further development of the Witzenberg region as one of the premiere bird-watching and eco-tourism destinations in Southern Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT BY THE MAYOR OF THE WITZENBERG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY:

“The Witzenberg region is distinguished for its exceptional diversity of fauna and flora, which ranges from the lush agrarian landscape to its snow-capped mountains and arid evirons of the Ceres Tankwa Karoo. At Witzenberg Municipality, conservation of our natural species and resources is of paramount importance. The development of this website, which focuses on the birds of our region, is geared towards expanding our tourism sector as well as raise awareness about the preservation and protection of our ornithological species in their native habitat. Witzenberg Municipality is proud to support this initiative with Birdlife Overberg and various stakeholders to invite and educate all experienced and budding birders to enjoy our small town hospitality and revel in the natural beauty of our majestic setting. We welcome you to join us for a unique and unforgettable birding expedition!”
Councillor JNED Klazen
Executive Mayor
Witzenberg Municipality

(Note that there are links to more information, trip reports and the like below the photographs that may be used to further plan a visit to the area).

Snow over Matroosberg (Image by AO)
Tankwa Karoo landscape (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Siskin (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Fish-Eagle  (Image by BZ)

 

 

Blue Cranes  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL SPECIES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details

THE MOUNTAIN PASSES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 1 - GENERAL INTRODUCTION Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 2 - THE TWEE JONGEGEZELLEN ROAD Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 3 - THE THEUNISKRAAL ROAD Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 4 - THE ROAD TO WOLSELEY Show details

BAINSKLOOF PASS AND BERGSIG WINE ESTATE Show details

BERGSIG WINE ESTATE TO WOLSELEY - AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Show details

WOLSELEY AND MICHELLS PASS Show details

BIRDING IN CERES Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - CERES TO KAROOPOORT Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - KAROOPOORT TO TANKWA FARM STALL Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - KATBAKKIES TO OP-DIE-BERG Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - OP-DIE-BERG TO CERES Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 2 - SWAARMOED PASS & BO-SWAARMOED FARMING AREA Show details

CIRCLE ROUTE FROM CERES 2 CONTINUED - THE DROEHOEK ROAD TO GYDO PASS Show details

THE TANKWA-KAROO NATIONAL PARK - THE P2250 GRAVEL ROAD Show details

THE TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK 2 - OUDEBAASKRAAL AND SURROUNDS Show details

THE TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK 3 - THE INTERIOR ROADS AND ACCOMMODATION Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details