Birding Routes

BIRDING IN THE WITZENBERG REGION - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

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

THE MOUNTAIN PASSES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details


The Witzenberg region can usually only be reached through several remarkable mountain passes as the region is essentially enveloped by stunning mountain ranges. Countless visitors are attracted to the area by the endemic birds associated with the Cape Floral Kingdom. In the Witzenberg region numerous of these species are found in the mountain passes, however, only the main passes are mentioned here. All of these passes offer incomparable bird-watching opportunities and immense care should be taken not to miss many remarkable bird species available. These passes include the Bainskloof Pass between Wellington and Wolseley, the Nuwekloof Pass between Gouda and Tulbagh, Michell’s Pass between Wolseley and Ceres, Gydo Pass between Ceres and Citrusdal, Theronsberg Pass between Ceres and Karoopoort and the Katbakkies Pass between Op-die-Berg and the Tankwa Karoo.

There are secure and ample parking areas as well as picnic spots along most of these passes, therefore, ‘slow birding’ is very much advised here. The fynbos vegetation and protea shrubs at these spots should especially be scrutinized for the CAPE GRASSBIRD, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS. The dense vegetation along the various streams often support the CAPE SISKIN and VICTORIN'S WARBLER and rocky outcrops showcase specials such as CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES, MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR and GROUND WOODPECKER. Forest thickets and alien growth often produce the ACACIA PIED BARBET, CAPE BATIS, FAIRY and FISCAL FLYCATCHER and KAROO PRINIA. Overhead, scrupulously watch out for the JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED EAGLE, VERREAUX'S (Black) EAGLE and ROCK KESTREL drifting through the skies.

The Gydo, Katbakkies and Theronsberg Passes, together with Karoopoort, have a reputation for consistently producing innumerable species that are associated with the Succulent Karoo. The pertinent birds to single out here include an astonishing variety of ‘little brown jobs’ (LBJs). These fantastic locations are the closest to Cape Town where ‘Karoo species’ can be found and these visits can conveniently be undertaken as day outings. Birders travelling through the Witzenberg region are highly advised to add further hours to their itineraries to allow additional time to roam these magnificent mountain passes. Keep in mind that birding opportunities in the majority of these passes are described in expansive detail throughout the text of this web page. 

(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).

View from Mitchell's Pass picnic site (Image by AO)
Waterfall in Mitchell's Pass  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gannaga Pass (Image by AO)

 

 

Cape Sugarbird  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Rock-jumper   (Image by AO)

 

 

 

Streaky-headed Seedeater  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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