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

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


The HEMEL AND AARDE VALLEY is reached by turning off the R43 at the Sandbaai intersection at 34° 24'24.51”S 19° 12'03.96”E. This spectacular scenic drive takes one via Shaw's Pass (34° 18'40.85”S 19° 24'52.57”E) to Caledon and the beautiful Theewaterskloof region. The valley offers excellent birding due a variety of habitat types. The road is unfortunately very narrow with very few safe places to turn off the the R320 to watch birds. The valley is however best known for its many wine estates and award-winning restaurants – see detailed descriptions of the Hermanus Wine Route at some of the links below the text. Several of these wine estates produce wonderful bird-watching experiences, while one samples some of the region’s award-winning wines.

The spectacular Hemel & Aarde Valley with Walker Bay (Image provided by the Overstrand Municipality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these wine estates feature well-wooded gardens where species such as the BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, BOKMAKIERIE, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBUL, MALACHITE SUNBIRD, OLIVE THRUSH, SWEE WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE often feature prominently. Other estates feature Fynbos habitats where the CAPE BULBUL, BLUE CRANE, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SPURFOWL, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD are often on view. The CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES can also be present in rocky, mountainous habitats. The FOREST BUZZARD is often present at stands of exotic plantations and listen carefully for the distinctive calls of the GREATER and LESSER HONEYGUIDES in these areas. Expect to find the STEPPE BUZZARD, YELLOW-BILLED KITE, DIDERICK and RED-CHESTED CUCKOOS, AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER, BLACK SAWWING and BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS during summer months.

Alpine Swift (Carin Malan)
Swee Waxbills (Richard Masson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors might want to consider taking a de-tour by turning off the R320 at the DE BOS DAM at 34° 22'18.06”S 19° 14'41.07”E and travelling to the KARWYDERSKRAAL LANDFILL SITE at 34° 19'51.05”S 19° 09'35.61”E. This gravel road meanders through mixed farmland and features a diversity of habitat types, as well as several dams that are often very productive. Birding along this road can be excellent and the Karwyderskraal and Swart River roads can be explored once the landfill site is reached – see detailed description elsewhere. 

The Hemel and Aarde Valley can further be viewed from the ROTARY WAY SCENIC DRIVE, that is clearly signposted along the R43 at 34° 25'01.67”S 19° 12'58.14”E. This scenic drive runs through mature Fynbos where most of the special bird species normally associated with this habitat type can be found. Look for endemic species such as the BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SPURFOWL, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD. Birds of prey can include the JACKAL BUZZARD, PEREGRINE FALCON, ROCK KESTREL and occasionally the VERREAUX'S EAGLE.

Forest Buzzards (Anton Odendal)

 

Cape Spurfowl (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several spots along the tarred section of Rotary Way from where spectacular vistas of Walker Bay and surrounds are available. The western areas of Hermanus, such as Sandbaai, Zwelihle, Onrus and Vermont can be viewed from the radio station. (Turn-off at 34° 24'45.69”S 19° 13'21.44”E). Further on along the road and to the left the Hemel en Aarde Valley is on view. The tarred road ends at a viewing point (34° 24'27.96”S 19° 14'05.07”E) overlooking the New and Old Harbours and Gearing’s Point to the right and the Klein River Valley, Stanford, the Klein River estuary and the Gansbaai area to the left. These magnificent views simply have to be experienced.

A gravel road continues from here, eventually reaching the point where hang gliders launch out above Hermanus. Beyond this a gate to the Hamilton Russel Winery property is reached. A couple of benches are reached about 100 metres beyond the gate – further stunning views of the town and Walker Bay can be enjoyed from here. A slow and patient drive along the Rotary Way Scenic Drive comes highly recommended.

(Note that there are links to more information, trip reports and the like below the photograph that may be used to further plan a visit to the area).

Rotary Way Scenic Drive view over Walker Bay (Image provided by the Overstrand Municipality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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