Birding Routes

THEEWATERSKLOOF BIRDING - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL BIRD SPECIES OF THE THEEWATERSKLOOF REGION Show details

BIRDING IN THE OVERBERG WHEATBELT IMPORTANT BIRD AND BIODIVERSITY AREA - INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW Show details

THE SIR LOWRYS PASS SITE Show details

THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE Show details

THE HIGHLANDS AND VALLEY ROADS LOOPS Show details

THE ELGIN/ GRABOUW COUNTRY CLUB & EIKENHOF DAM Show details

HOTTENTOTS HOLLAND NATURE RESERVE Show details

VILLIERSDORP Show details

THE THEEWATERSKLOOF DAM Show details

BOTRIVER VILLAGE AND VAN DER STEL PASS Show details


(NB! This section is still under production and will be completed by middle January 2016. - Ed.)

 

VAN DER STELL PASS START IN BOTRIVIER
34° 13'25.95”S 19° 12'17.75”E
START ON R321
34° 03'14.96”S 19° 08'54.34”E


The VAN DER STELL pass (S34° 12'40.17” E19° 12'41.89”) that runs between Botriver and the village of Vyeboom is one of the Overberg’s unspoken secrets. There is a great diversity of species here ranging from the typical fynbos species through to the best of mountain species of the region. Expect to find JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLE and PEREGRINE FALCON, Check areas around exotic trees for AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, BLACK SPARROWHAWK. Also BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD and GREATER and LESSER HONEYGUIDES. KAROO PRINIA, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES, CAPE SISKIN, VICTORIN'S WARBLER and SWEE WAXBILL. This pass takes one from typical Overberg wheatfield habitats into the lush vegetation in the Groenlandberg region.
The Van der Stel Pass
The Van der Stel Pass lies between Bot River and Villiersdorp, a beautiful pass that takes one via the Theewaterskloof Dam. This part of the Overberg is filled with flowers, birds and wines, with scenery to match.
The Bot River, after which the little town is named, follows the swing of the pass emptying finally into a mushy marsh close to the river's mouth called Bot River Lagoon. This wetland is home to an incredible number of waterfowl and a herd of wild horses that roam the area – it's a rather romantic setting that deserves a stop and time to explore. 
The mainly gravel pass (although not difficult to drive in an ordinary sedan) is surprisingly not named after Simon van der Stel but Willem Adriaan van der Stel, Governer of the Cape Colony, which at the time served as little more than a way station for the Dutch East India Company, between 1699 and 1707. He ostensibly had a hunting lodge in the area. 

Today the Van der Stel Pass is home to a series of working farms that produce apples, olive oil, lavender, wine, flowers, milk and horses. A number of these are geared for visitors and some have accommodation. 
Wine estates in the area include Wildekrans, Beaumont Wines, Luddite, Gabrielskloof, Galantskloof and Goedvertrouw and if you want to make it all about wine, you could add the vineyards of Grabouw and Hermanus to your itinerary and spend at least a week travelling in the area. 
There is also an annual Botriver Van der Stel Pass Challenge that is both a mountain biking and walking/running event that happens around October. It starts at the historic Bot River Station and winds along the Van der Stel Pass through lands and farms not usually open to the public.
3410_1910 iNCLUDES BOTRIVER VILLAGE & A LOT OF THE VAN DER STEL PASS, ALSO SWARTRIVIER ROAD
COMMON: bishops, BOKMAKIERIE, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, CAPE BULBUL, JACKAL BUZZARD, CAPE CANARY, cisticolas, BLUE CRANE, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, LARGE-BILLED and RED-CAPPED LARKS, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, CAPE SPARROW,
NOT SO MUCH: BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BUNTING, BRIMSTONE CANARY, CAPE CLAPPER LARK, KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN, STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER, SAOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK,
RARE: GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, GREY-HEADED GULL, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER, BLACK SPARROWHAWK,
IMPORTANT: DENHAM'S BUSTARD, BOOTED, MARTIAL and VERREAUX'S EAGLES, BLACK HARRIER, SECRETARYBIRD, CAPE SISKIN,
MIGRANT: STEPPE BUZZARD,
VAGRANT:

(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).

Mating Verreaux's Eagles  (Image by JW)
Peregrine Falcon  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Cape Rock-Thrush  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

Ericas  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Bunting  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

Non-breeding Yellow Bishop (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWARTRIVIER ROADS Show details

CALEDON VILLAGE Show details

THE CALEDON WILD FLOWER GARDEN Show details

THE OUDEKRAAL ROAD AND TESSELAARSDAL Show details

THE R326 BETWEEN STANFORD AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

THE R406 TO GREYTON Show details

GREYTON VILLAGE AND NATURE RESERVE Show details

THE R406 BETWEEN GREYTON AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

BIRDING IN AND AROUND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details