Birding Routes

BIRDING IN THE WITZENBERG REGION - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

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


Many of Southern Africa's endemic and near-endemic bird species are available in relatively close proximity to Ceres, which is at the heart of the Witzenberg region. Endemism refers to species that are restricted to a defined region and can be found nowhere else globally. Southern Africa is fortunate to have a markedly high level of endemism in all forms of life and South Africa is considered by some to be the third most biologically diverse country in the world.
The region boasts more endemic birds than most countries have to offer. Further advantages are that the majority of these fascinating species are fairly accessible and several enthusiastic bird guides are available to part with appropriate local knowledge. The development of these web pages is an additional attempt to ease visiting birders into gaining effortless access to many of the region's special species.
Stereotypically, most people believe that the “Cape endemics” consist mostly of birds associated with the Cape Floral Kingdom. This kingdom with 9 000 plant species, almost 70% of which are endemic, ranks among the wonders of the natural world. Several extraordinary, often endemic, bird species are attracted to these habitat types and can be found relatively easily in multiple localities spread around the Witzenberg region. Most of these birding destinations are readily accessible and often feature dramatic mountain landscapes. Unmissable destinations for these “Fynbos specials” include the various, awe-inspiring mountain passes.
The endemic birds associated with these Fynbos habitats are the highly evasive HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, as well as CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER. These seven species are exceedingly popular with birders from other provinces as well as overseas and form the backbone of marketing efforts to attract bird-watchers to the province. Another worthwhile advantage of bird-watching in the Witzenberg local municipal area is that the many noteworthy and often endemic species associated with the Succulent Karoo Biome can be found in the Tankwa Karoo. Karoopoort, the Katbakkies picnic site, Eierkop and the P2250 regional road are just a few examples of destinations where such amazing species may be seen. In demand species include PRIRIT BATIS, LONG-BILLED CROMBEC, FAIRY FLYCATCHER, DUSKY SUNBIRD and CINNAMON-BREASTED and NAMAQUA WARBLERS. To this list could be added LUDWIG'S BUSTARD, TRACTRAC CHAT, BURCHELL'S and DOUBLE-BANDED COURSERS and KAROO KORHAAN.
The region's impressive tally of endemics and near-endemics, however, does not end there. Species that prefer more mountainous and hilly habitats include the JACKAL BUZZARD, CAPE EAGLE-OWL, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES and GROUND WOODPECKER. Many are amazed to discover that several reasonably common species often found in suburban gardens such as the CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE SPARROW, CAPE SPURFOWL, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, SWEE WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE also fall into these categories of endemism. Of course, one has not yet mentioned general species such as the GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, CAPE GRASSBIRD, BLACK HARRIER, CAPE LONGCLAW, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE SHOVELER. To crown it all this modest list is by no means comprehensive or complete.
The Western Cape Province in general and the Witzenberg region in particular have limitless potential for attracting South African and international bird-watchers to our shores due to these high levels of endemism. These web pages, sponsored by the Witzenberg local municipality, is a further endeavour to realise this vast potential.

(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).

Black Harrier  (Image by CM)

 

Karoo Scrub-Robin  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Siskin  (Image by CM)

 

Cape Bulbul  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange-breasted Sunbird  (Image by AO)

 

Cinnamon-breasted Warbler  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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