GREAT INTERNATIONAL FEEDBACK ON WESTERN CAPE BIRDING
Posted on the 15th August 2009
(We recently assisted a group of British birders to plan a trip through the Western Cape province. Herewith the feedback from one of them. This clearly illustrates the great birding tourism potential of our region. Ed.)
Before our two weeks in South Africa fades too far into a dream, I wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your help with our trip. I understand from Andre Kruger that you have been instrumental in setting up the Western Cape Birding Route - and would like to commend you on that work. It really was extremely valuable to us to be able to connect up with birders and bird friendly establishments in so many of the places we went. I think almost every place we stayed was linked from the website.
The Boulders Beach Lodge was excellent for getting close to the Penguins - there was one at the bottom of our stairs one night - and the proprietors were clearly keen on their protection.
Walking on Water was a remarkable place to stay, and Andre was a very knowledgeable host. His tips and contacts for Velddrif were also thoroughly appreciated.
Brummer was great - from helping with plans for his area to meeting us when we got there, plus putting us onto the birds and giving us birding tips when we had some free time. Aire del Mar I would recommend to anyone - and Zelna and Carol were lovely. I'm afraid the Sharking didn't work out quite as we would have hoped - the logistics of the boat didn't quite work when the sharks are being a bit difficult, and they must know that the sharks aren't going to play every day. That meant that only one of us had sharks from the cage. Nevertheless, we got some good sharks from the boat, and saw Dyer Island. (David, who had been working on a cruise ship, had just been raising funds for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.) I did get to see my only White-chinned Petrel of the year from the cage, too!
Is Swellendam beyond your remit? The Braeside B&B was very pleasant and they have a bit of a garden bird list - compiled by previous birders who have visited. Bontebok NP was a success - we saw the Cape Mountain Zebra as well as the Bontebok, of course. We spent ages in Seweweekspoort taking loads of photographs and finding Ground Woodpecker in a tree despite what the bird book said!
Peter at Pumula Lodge in Knysna was a great connection too. He told us exactly where to find an excellent forest remnant and let us hand feed this year's Drongo family.
Like everywhere else you and the West Coast Birding Route site put us in touch with, he was friendly and delighted to share his birds. The connections you helped us make really added to our enjoyment of the holiday, the birds and South Africa.
I expect that one of our party will be putting a detailed trip report on his website - would you be interested in a link from there to the birding routes site? If so, any page in particular?
In our fortnight, we managed about 200 species of birds and over 40 different mammals in a holiday which was really a "tasting menu" for southern SA; perhaps one day we'll get the time to see some of it in more depth. If so, I know your site will, again, be the first place I look.