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

THE KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWARTRIVIER ROADS Show details

CALEDON VILLAGE Show details

THE CALEDON WILD FLOWER GARDEN Show details


The Caledon Wild Flower Garden is one of the most underrated birding-watching spots in the Western Cape, but unfortunately not very well known to the domestic and international birding fraternity. It offers water, fynbos, “riverine forest” and mountain habitats and therefore a great diversity of bird species. Several hiking trails of varying lengths and levels of endurance are available giving access to the different habitat types. These trails offer panoramic views of the surrounding areas and a fascinating look at the diversity of fynbos flowers in their natural habitat, some of which are found nowhere else on earth. The garden is situated right on the N2 highway (34° 13'38"S 19° 25'44"E) and represents an ideal birding stopover when travelling between Cape Town and the Garden Route. From Mondays to Fridays the gates are open between 07h45 and 16h45, with it being open all the time over weekends. A small entrance fee applies.

The blooming flowers in the reserve are seasonally awesome and this, together with the stupendous, rugged mountainous landscape necessitates a visit. There is a link to a photo gallery below that illustrates some of the flowers in the garden. The description of species abundance in the Garden is based on findings in the local SABAP2 (the bird atlasing project) report card. The many aloes, ericas, proteas, restios and other plants available host an impressive range of species that include the CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and most of the other sunbirds, canaries, waxbills and weavers to be found in the Overberg. Other species present in abundance are the CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT and CAPE SPURFOWL.

There is a large pond close to the entrance gate where the AFRICAN BLACK, WHITE-FACED and YELLOW-BILLED DUCKS, together with GIANT, MALACHITE and PIED KINGFISHERS are often to be seen. Inspect the reed beds for region's bishops, warblers and weavers. More difficult species to look for in this general area include the BLACK CRAKE, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, COMMON QUAIL (summer) and AFRICAN SNIPE. Beyond the pond a small stream trickles down through lush vegetation and very old trees, creating a small "riverine forest landscape". The BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBUL, OLIVE THRUSH and CAPE WHITE-EYE are all very common in this area, with the BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD and GREATER and LESSER HONEYGUIDES present in much smaller numbers and more difficult to find. In summer some cuckoos, the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER add to the very impressive diversity of species to be found within the first 400 yards from the entrance gate!

Further up along the trail rocky and hilly terrain is entered towards the aptly named “die Venster” (The Window). This rock formation is illustrated with an image below. Species to look for in this area include the CAPE BUNTING, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES and GROUND WOODPECKER. The BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and ROCK KESTREL patrol the skies occasionally. Other birds of prey that can be seen fairly regularly in different areas of the garden include the FOREST and JACKAL BUZZARDS, PEREGRINE FALCON, AFRICAN GOSHAWK and AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, as well as SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL and BARN OWL. The STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITES are numerous in summer months.

One wonders if the growing interest in birds and birding in this region could not in future lead to a “Friends of the Caledon Wild Flower Garden” type of organisation, as this reserve could be utilised far more effectively as a top educational and recreational eco-tourism destination for the Overberg. And then the bird-watchers will naturally start flocking there. 

(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).

'Die Venster' 
Aloe in August

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange-breasted Sunbird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanner Falcon
Lesser Swamp-Warbler  (Images by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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