Birding Routes

INTRODUCTION TO BIRDING ALONG THE CAPE WHALE COAST Show details

ENDEMIC BIRD SPECIES OF THE CAPE WHALE COAST REGION Show details

PELAGIC ENCOUNTERS FROM KLEINBAAI IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE DYER ISLAND CONSERVATION TRUST Show details

THE ROOIELS SITE - IN SEARCH OF THE CAPE ROCK-JUMPER Show details

AFRICAN PENGUINS AND CORMORANTS AT STONY POINT Show details

THE HAROLD PORTER NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS Show details

BIRDING AT THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE AND KLEINMOND Show details


There are several interesting birding opportunities when travelling along the R44 from Betty’s Bay to Kleinmond. The KLEINMOND SEWAGE WORKS (34˚ 21.81”S 18˚ 59’05.90”E) is often well worth a visit. Several of the common waterbirds of the region are on offer and expect to find species such as the AFRICAN BLACK and YELLOW-BILLED DUCKS, the ever present EGYPTIAN GOOSE and THREE-BANDED PLOVER. The BLACK CRAKE can often be seen darting between the reed beds below the ponds and a small group of the WATER THICK-KNEE is available regularly. This site is however best known for the sighting of a vagrant CITRINE WAGTAIL found some years ago – this caused a sensation in South African birding circles.

Water Thick-knee (Marcia Crous)
Three-banded Plover (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Shortly thereafter and to the left at 34˚ 19’56.62”S 18˚ 59’17.00”E is the entrance to the OUDEBOSCH core conservation area of the KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE. This is managed by CapeNature and very comfortable chalets are available. The office number is +27 (0)28 271 5138 or visit www.capenature.co.za. The beautiful, 6 km Oudebosch - Luiperdskloof hiking trail can be taken from this core area to the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden and birding can be exceptional. See a report on such an excursion at one of the links below. A variety of other hiking trails of various distance and levels of endurance are also available.

“The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve covers more than 100 000 hectares of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and extends from below sea level to the mountain tops, the highest point being the Kogelberg Peak (1,268 metres). Vast tracts of Fynbos, major wetland systems, five towns and various settlements, agricultural lands, commercial forestry plantations and recreational resorts lie within the reserve. The Kogelberg Mountains and adjoining coastal lowlands are regarded as the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, home to 1,650 plant species. These mountains, which make up most of the core of the reserve, cover some 30 000 hectares. To the east and north lie the Houwhoek and Groenlandberg mountain core zones. Together they encircle the largest town in the reserve, Grabouw, and the orchards and vineyards of the Elgin basin.” (Extracted from Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve: Heart of the Cape Flora by Amida & Mark Johns. Struik, 2001). This core area of the reserve supports seven bird species endemic to Fynbos habitats and visiting birders are always in search of the HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER.

The Oudebosch chalets in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (CapeNature)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several other sought-after species, not exclusively confined to Fynbos habitats, are most often seen in this mountainous section of the reserve. These include the CAPE BUNTING, VERREAUX'S EAGLE, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE GRASSBIRD, NEDDICKY, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES and GROUND WOODPECKER. Birds of prey are well-represented. The MARTIAL EAGLE is recorded occasionally and the BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES, PEREGRINE and LANNER FALCONS and ROCK KESTREL all breed on the cliffs and rocky outcrops of the reserve. More difficult species to observe include the FOREST BUZZARD, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS. Summer migrants include the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD, COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN, as well as most of the martins, swallows and swifts to be expected in the region. This section of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is probably one of the most underrated bird-watching destinations along the entire Cape Whale Coast.

There is a parking area to the left a short distance further along the R44 just as the bridge over the Palmiet River has been crossed. (34° 24'57.61”S 19° 38'00.22”E). A short hiking trail leads from this spot back towards the river. This trail is not too strenuous and offers great birding. The first ridge after the trail starts (some three hundred metres) is regarded by many as one of the most reliable spots in the region for the highly sought-after, but elusive VICTORIN'S WARBLER. Two other target species here are the CAPE ROCK-JUMPER and GROUND WOODPECKER.

Hottentot Buttonquail (Dr Alan Lee)
Cape Rock-jumper (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



There are several interesting hiking trails available around Kleinmond from which birding can often be spectacular. A publication entitled “Where to walk in Kleinmond” is available at the entrance gate of the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden or the Kleinmond Tourism Bureau in the main road. The coastal trail is of particular interest and features birding opportunities very similar to those described under the VERMONT, ONRUS and SANDBAAI (VOS) COASTAL PATH and the HERMANUS CLIFF PATH. See detailed descriptions below. The Kleinmond Golf Course (34° 33'25.42”S 19° 03'94.85”) is also of interest as a diversity of species occur here. Also consider investigating the large patch of eucalyptus trees to the south of the golf course, as well as a pristine patch of Fynbos further south of that. The mouth of the Kleinmond Estuary regularly host a diversity of waterbirds, as well as coastal species and can be of interest. The picnic area surrounding it can unfortunately be very busy, particularly over weekends and holiday periods making bird-watching almost impossible. There are two pedestrian bridges crossing the estuary from which birding can be very rewarding, particularly as far as waterbirds are concerned. The one bridge takes one to the beach and is reached from the bottom end of 5th Avenue at 34° 34'05.33”S 19° 03'68.39”E. The other one is at Meerenvlei at 34° 33'91.11”S 19° 04'02.52”E. The Lamloch Swamp to the eastern side of the mouth and the last bridge also holds great potential, but is mostly inaccessible due to a variety of reasons. Most experienced birders in the region do however believe that the best spot along the Cape Whale Coast to look for waterbirds and waders is the ROOISAND NATURE RESERVE that is described in detail in the next section.

(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).

Kleinmond estuary (Overstrand municipality)
Kleinmond from above (Overstrand municipality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mouth of the Kleinmond estuary (Overstrand municipality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDING AT ROOISAND ALONG THE BOT RIVER ESTUARY Show details

BIRDING AT FISHERHAVEN & THE HAWSTON SEWAGE WORKS Show details

THE VERMONT SALT PAN Show details

BIRDING AT ONRUS AND HARDERBAAI Show details

BIRDING ALONG THE HEMEL & AARDE VALLEY AND ROTARY WAY SCENIC DRIVE Show details

BIRDING ALONG THE HERMANUS CLIFF PATHS AND THE KLEIN RIVER ESTUARY Show details

THE FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE AT HERMANUS Show details

BIRDING IN AND AROUND STANFORD Show details

FROM STANFORD TO THE UILENKRAALS ESTUARY AND BEYOND Show details

THE DANGER POINT PENINSULA Show details

DYER ISLAND AND SURROUNDS Show details

THE UILENKRAALS VALLEY TO BAARDSKEERDERSBOS AND BEYOND Show details

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

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 1: KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWART RIVER ROADS Show details

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 2: THE OUDEKRAAL ROAD Show details

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 3: THE PAPIESVLEI AREA Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details