(Steve and Lee Peck spent a day at the Bontebok National Park and brought back this report & images. It once again illustrates how underrated this reserve is as a birding destination. My detailed description of the birding potential of the park is at this link:
Last week Lee and I visited Bontebok National Park near Swellendam for the first time in 15 years!
What a change….new entrance, upgraded reception area and better gravel roads, along with the same beautiful unspoilt park and river walks that had always been there.
Acacia Pied Barbet
Due to the heat of the day, touching 28c we decided to head straight to the parking area at the Breede River and use the covered river walk as a good place to do our birding for a few hours.
Straight away we were greeted in the car park by African Hoopoe, Cape Bulbul and a Rock Kestrel and Jackal Buzzard high in the sky.
The walk along the sheltered Bushbuck trail revealed a host of smaller birds, as Acacia Pied Barbet, Bar-throated Apalis, Levaillant's Cistocola, Fiscal Flycatcher and Sombre Greenbul all lurked in the dense bushes.
The look-out platforms gave us fantastic views of birds at the waters edge, such as Lesser Swamp-warbler, Common Waxbills, Cape Canaries and weavers and even a Cape Sugarbird flew passed.
The river itself was teaming with Spur-winged Geese, Yellow-billed Ducks along with Common Moorhens and overhead flew an African Darter.
There was just time to drive to the new conference centre down on the river where we saw Fiscal Shrikes, Greater Double-collared Sunbirds and flying in their dozens above the river were Alpine Swifts hunting their lunch!
On the way out we passed some of the parks resident animals…Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest and of course the iconic Bontebok!
We decided that 15 years was much to long to wait for our next trip to the park and I strongly suggest you don’t wait as long before you visit this stunning little birder's paradise!