Posted on the 30th September 2006

Ronel and her Irish boyfriend visited us recently and we decided to take them on a four day trip of the Garden Route. (September 2006). We booked into the Tsitsikama National Park at Storms River mouth and the Ebb and Flow restcamp in the Wilderness National Park. (Note that SANParks offers great specials on accommodation during this time of year). We had fantastic birding experiences and decided to give readers a few tips on where to bird on the Garden Route.

Plettenberg Bay could also be used as base for great birding to visit Soetkraal, the Crags, the Robberg peninsula and one can even go boating on the Keurbooms River. Ensure though that you go birding along the Bitou river estuary. In summer this is a wader's heaven!

Knysna Turaco

The Wilderness National Park and it's lakes must be one of the most underrated birding destinations in our country. There is a selection of trails to choose from and the area has outstanding species diversity. Keep in mind that the area offers one the Touw River and the Wilderness lagoon, the Serpentine River, Island lake, Bo-Langvlei, Rondevlei, Swartvlei and Groenvlei. There is a lot of birding to be done here. We spent the Sunday driving along the lakes and spent a lot of time in the Malachite and Rondevlei bird hides – take your camera! We found several fairly early arriving summer migrants that included Common (Steppe) Buzzard, African Paradise Flycatcher, Common Whimbrel, Black Sawwing and White-throated Swallow. Highlights here included Knysna Turaco, many Great Crested Grebes, five different Kingfishers and many railians. Elaine got bored at the Rondevlei hide and decided to search for a bird that was calling continually in the bushes behind us. Thirty minutes later she saw her first Olive Bush-Shrike (peach coloured variation) and led me straight to it for a few photographs! And so we could go on.

Birding along the Garden Route holds great potential. It is strongly advised that you spend some time visiting the places we mentioned when next you travel through the area.

Anton and Elaine Odendal

Olive Bush-shrike
White-throated Swallow










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