WEEKLY FEATURE NO 14: HARKERVILLE FOREST & KRANSHOEK VIEW POINT, PLETTENBERG BAY
Posted on the 4th April 2015
Harkerville Forest and the Kranshoek view point represent an ideal opportunity for birders to gain easy and comfortable access to both forest and fynbos species. The turnoff from the N2 is located 12km from Plettenberg Bay, and 22km from Knysna at the SASOL service station. (34° 03' 75.9”S 23° 22' 61.7”E). Follow this road for roughly 1.4 km and then turn right towards Kranshoek. An entrance gate is reached a short distance further at 34° 05' 09”S 23° 23' 28.7”E. A small entrance fee applies.SANParks can be contacted for accommodation at the Tree Top Forest Chalet.
Forest birding here is outstanding and expect to find species such as GREY CUCKOOSHRIKE, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON, NARINA TROGON, KNYSNA TURACO and YELLOW-THROATED WOODLAND-WARBLER. The picnic site close by is of particular interest and it is recommended that some time be spent here. A walk along the Forest Flora Trail is usually very productive ¬ a recent outing produced OLIVE BUSH-SHRIKE, FOREST CANARY, TAMBOURINE DOVE, WHITE-STARRED ROBIN, CHORISTER ROBIN-CHAT, NARINA TROGON and KNYSNA WOODPECKER. LONG-CRESTED EAGLE and EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD have also been recorded in recent years.
Continue slowly to the Kranshoek lookout point, where many more exciting forest species await. There is another picnic site at the lookout point. (34° 08' 55.5”S 23° 22' 77.I”E). RED-NECKED SPURFOWL is regularly present and FOREST BUZZARD, PEREGRINE FALCON, KELP GULL, ROCK KESTRELS and WHITE-NECKED RAVEN often glide past. Other species to look out for along the forest fringes include CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, BURCHELL'S COUCAL and OLIVE WOODPECKER. The view of the coastline from the lookout is stunning. Whales can be spotted between July and December.
The surrounding fynbos vegetation should be investigated and it is recommended that a trail to the east of the viewpoint be explored. CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SUGARBIRD, MALACHITE and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRDS and VICTORIN'S WARBLER are but a few of the species to be expected here at various times of the year. Also be on the lookout for the elusive HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, both double-collared sunbird species and SOUTHERN TCHAGRA. CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS, CAPE GANNET and AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER can often be seen from here, so remember to pack the spotting scope!