BIRDS AND BIRDING IN THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN REGION: INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details
The Cape Town municipal area in the Western Cape Province of South Africa is internationally renowned as a tourist destination. Consider, for instance, Table Mountain, one of the seven new natural wonders of the world, the Cape Floral Kingdom, spectacular land- and seascapes, acclaimed wines, diverse peoples ¬ the list goes on. One of the region’s greatest assets is the diversity of bird species found here: it hosts a diverse range of often sought-after endemic species, such as BANK, CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER, AFRICAN PENGUIN, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD, VICTORIN'S WARBLER and many more.
Further to this, several under-utilised and ecologically varied birding destinations such as the Table Mountain National Park, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the Tygerberg and Helderberg Nature Reserves, the False Bay Ecology Park, Intaka Island at Century City and others need to be properly exposed to a rapidly growing birdwatching fraternity. Many exciting birding products already exist: The pelagic trips during which albatrosses and other exciting seabirds can be experienced are regarded as amongst the best and safest in the world, and are world-renowned; the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Simon's Town needs no introduction; and the migratory waders visiting the Strandfontein sewage works and Rondevlei Nature Reserve are legendary. It is impossible to describe all of the birding destinations that the Cape Town area has to offer ¬ several of the destinations not described at this stage can be incorporated later when needed.
The region further boasts an excellent tourism infrastructure and several accommodation establishments are well equiped to cope with the demands set by local and international birders. This includes the availability of bird guides and a list of local bird rarities in the Western Cape, which is available at the following link:
This text serves as an introductory overview to assist the visitor to track down some of the sought-after birds of the region and provides information about locations where they can search for them. The text should be seen as a starting point to be used against the backdrop of the website. More comprehensive descriptions and details can be found in the Cape Peninsula section of www.westerncapebirding.co.za which can be downloaded.
The three bird clubs in the Cape Town area, namely the CAPE BIRD CLUB, the SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB and the TYGERBERG BIRD CLUB, have also been invited to submit basic information about their organisations. Dropdown menus are provided with each body of text and these offer links to more comprehensive articles, trip reports and websites that the visitor can utilise to assist with the planning of birding excursions. These links will be updated on a continual basis. Basic GPS reference points are provided in most cases.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the content of this web page, the members of BIRDLIFE OVERBERG and WESGRO, the project sponsors, can not be held responsible for any omissions or errors, or any misfortune, injury or damages that may arise from it.
WESGRO: THE OFFICIAL TOURISM, TRADE AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION AGENCY FOR CAPE TOWN AND THE WESTERN CAPE
Cape Town and the Western Cape, an inspiring place to do business.
For over 30 years, Wesgro, the official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, has been driving economic development and job creation through marketing the province as an innovative and competitive global destination.
The agency is made up of 5 strategic business units. Trade Promotion offers assistance to local exporters via market linkages, export development support, participation in outward and inward buying initiatives and training. Our Film Promotion unit assists local and international film companies with production, distribution and co-production in the Western Cape, along with project mentoring and investment advice. Our Investment Promotion team strives to attract foreign investment into strategic sectors in our province’s economy. They assist investors with sector-specific information in terms of investment opportunities; immigration assistance, location benchmarking, retention and expansion amongst other services. The Tourism team focuses on attracting both the high value business tourist through sector specific meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions to the province through our Convention Bureau, while the Leisure Destination Marketing team drives awareness of the province to both foreign and local tourists.
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 18th Floor, SA Reserve Bank Building, 60 St Georges Mall, Cape Town, 8001
PHONE: +27 (0)21 487 8600
|Chatham's Albatross (CG)|
|African Rail (AO)|
|Southern Black Korhaan (AO)|
|Barn Owl (DM)|
THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL BIRDS OF THE CAPE TOWN REGION Show details
Many visitors to the Cape Town Metro area come here due to the diversity of endemic species to be found in the region. Endemism refers to species that are restricted to a certain region and that can be found nowhere else in the world. Southern Africa is fortunate to have a high level of endemism in all forms of life and in fact South Africa, as a country, is considered by some to be the third most biologically diverse country in the world. A whopping 57 of the Southern Africa's endemic bird species and 32 of the near endemic species are available in relatively close proximity to Cape Town. With these 89 species the region alone boasts with more endemic birds than most countries have to offer. A further advantage is that most of these species are fairly easily accessable and several bird guides, eager to part with appropriate local knowledge are readily available. The development of these webpages is a further attempt to assist visiting birders to gain easier access to many of the region's special species.
Stereotypically most people believe that the “Cape endemics” mostly consist of birds associated with the Cape Floral Kingdom. This “kingdom” with 9 000 plant species (almost 70% of which are endemic), ranks among the wonders of the natural world. Several exciting and often endemic bird species are attracted to these habitat types and can be found relatively easily in several different localities spread around the Peninsula and the Hottentots Holland mountain range. Most of these birding destinations are readily accessible and often feature dramatic mountain landscapes.
Top destinations for these “fynbos specials” include the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Silvermine Nature Reserve, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and the Hoerikwaggo Trail (all forming part of the Table Mountain National Park), the Tygerberg and Helderberg Nature Reserves, Sir Lowry's Pass and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, to mention a few. Entrance to these reserves is often free or at a minimal cost.
The endemic birds associated with these fynbos habitats are the difficult to find HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER. A further group of endemics is associated with the cold Benguela current along the west coast of Southern Africa and consist of BANK, CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS, CAPE GANNET, HARTLAUB'S GULL, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and AFRICAN PENGUIN. These fourteen species are hugely sought-after by birders from other provinces and countries and form the backbone of marketing efforts to attract bird-watchers to the province.
The region's impressive list of endemics does however not end there. Species that prefer more mountainous and hilly habitats include JACKAL BUZZARD, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES and GROUND WOODPECKER. Endemics or near endemics attracted to forests or thickets include CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, FOREST BUZZARD, BURCHELL'S COUCAL, SOUTHERN TCHAGRA, KNYSNA WARBLER and OLIVE WOODPECKER.
Many birders are amazed to find out that several fairly common species often found in suburban gardens such as CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE SPARROW, CAPE SPURFOWL, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, SWEE WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE also fall into this category of endemism. And then one has not even mentioned general species such as GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, CAPE GRASSBIRD, BLACK HARRIER, CAPE LONGCLAW, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE SHOVELER. To crown it all this list is by no means comprehensive.
The Western Cape in general and the City of Cape Town region in particular has limitless potential for attracting South African and international bird-watchers to our shores. These webpages, sponsored by WESGRO, is an attempt to realise this vast potential.
(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).
|African Black Oystercatchers (CM)|
|Black Harrier (RM)|
|Cape Sugarbird (AO)|
|Cape Rock-jumper (CM)|
|African Penguin (CM)|
- CAPE ROUTE DESCRIPTION
- ROCKJUMPER BIRDING TOURS PRIVATE TOUR OF THE WESTERN CAPE: 2009
- THE GREATEST SA RARE BIRD NEWS EVER!
- ENDEMIC BIRDS OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
- SIXTEEN ENDEMICS SEEN IN ONE MORNING
- WANTED: THE PRECISE LOCATIONS OF PROTEA SEEDEATERS AND CAPE ROCK-JUMPERS
- KINDLY REPORT RINGED CAPE SUGARBIRDS AND ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRDS
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- SIGHTINGS OF CAPE SISKINS
PELAGIC BIRDING OFF CAPE TOWN Show details
There can be little doubt that the regular pelagic trips leaving from Simon's Town and Hout Bay in search of stunning seabirds remain the brightest feather in South Africa's birdwatching cap. These trips are offered throughout the year and are reserved over two days, in case the weather is foul on the first day. An important feature of these outings is that clients are accompanied by experienced guides who will assist novice pelagic birders with the identification of birds that are often difficult to figure out. Photographic opportunities are usually simply superb.
These trips generally leave at around 07h00, last for about 8 hours and head out to the trawling grounds along the continental shelf off Cape Town. Here long-line fishing vessels or trawlers are approached as these could attract literally thousands of seabirds in search of an easy meal. A good selection of seabirds are encountered on a regular basis, but these trips have developed a reputation for providing sightings of rare species that have only been seen in these waters a few times. These pelagic trips off Cape Town count amongst the most popular in the world and the excitement of possibly finding species such as AMSTERDAM, BULLER'S and CHATHAM ALBATROSSES, SOUTHERN FULMAR, BLUE and SPECTACLED PETRELS, SLENDER-BILLED PRION, STREAKED SHEARWATER and WHITE-BELLIED and GREY-BACKED STORM-PETRELS has played a huge role in this regard. These trips are undoubtedly South Africa's most successful birding export product attracting huge numbers of international birders.
Upon leaving the harbour of Simon's Town a diversity of coastal birds may be found. HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS are numerous close to shore and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANT and AFRICAN PENGUIN are easy to pick up along the boulder strewn coastline. Roosting COMMON, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS may be on view, depending on the time of year. BANK CORMORANT and CAPE GANNET are often encountered before False Bay is cleared. The magnificent early morning views of the Table Mountain range and the Hottentots Holland Mountain to the east often remain etched in the memories of participants.
Once Cape Point has been cleared a diversity of species might be seen, depending on the weather conditions. Severe storms might blow unusual species closer to the shore, but SHY ALBATROSS, WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, SOOTY SHEARWATER and SUBANTARCTIC SKUA are regularly seen between Cape Point and the continental shelf. The available species composition changes as deeper water is reached, therefore expect to find ATLANTIC and INDIAN YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSSES and keep a keen lookout for the diminutive EUROPEAN and WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS.
Hundreds and sometimes even thousands of pelagic seabirds are found around the deep sea fishing vessels when the continental shelf is reached. Photographic opportunities are now excellent as squabbling birds of diverse identity forage in close proximity of the boats. This is the time for acute concentration by novice pelagic birders and the experienced guides now really come into their own with advice and identification. BLACK-BROWED and SHY ALBATROSSES are plentiful, together with some NORTHERN and SOUTHERN GIANT PETRELS. Amazingly, as many as eight large albatross species have been recorded during a single trip.
Note should also be taken of the fact that the various seasons differ significantly as far as species composition on the high seas is concerned. Vast numbers of birds are found during winter, but summer months tend to produce higher species numbers and those sought-after rarities, that are sometimes referred to as 'lifers', are often spotted. Significant migrants that visit our waters during autumn and spring could include SOUTHERN ROYAL and WANDERING ALBATROSSES, SOUTHERN FULMAR, BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL and GREAT SHEARWATER and even BLUE PETREL. Many northern hemisphere migrant pelagic seabirds visit our waters during the summer months and these could include birds not mentioned earlier such as SABINE'S GULL, GREAT-WINGED PETRELS, EUROPEAN STORM-PETREL, CORY'S and MANX SHEARWATERS and ARCTIC, POMARINE and LONG-TAILED SKUAS. ARCTIC TERNS are also often found during summer months.
Pelagic trips during the winter months are characterised by sightings of flocks of tens of thousands of seabirds representing up to 30 species milling behind fishing vessels. Birds regularly seen during winter months could include NORTHERN and SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSSES, the ever popular PINTADO PETREL, SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL and possibly even SLENDER-BILLED PRION. ANTARCTIC TERNS are found closer to shore. To quote one experienced pelagic birder: “Ten things any serious birder should do before he dies? One of these should be to go on a pelagic trip leaving Simon's Town at least once during each of the four seasons!”
To summarise the the wonderful opportunities provided by these outings, it was decided to create a 'name-dropping, brag list' of fairly common species described in just three pelagic trip reports: ATLANTIC and INDIAN YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSSES, BLACK-BROWED and SHY ALBATROSSES, SABINE'S GULL, GREAT-WINGED and PINTADO PETRELS, NORTHERN and SOUTHERN GIANT PETRELS, ANTARCTIC PRION, BLACK-BELLIED, EUROPEAN and WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, ARCTIC and LONG-TAILED SKUAS, POMARINE and SUBANTARCTIC SKUAS, CORY'S and GREAT SHEARWATERS and MANX and SOOTY SHEARWATERS. Considering that the following rarities have been spotted during these trips in recent years, it becomes evident that pelagic birding off Cape Town is a must for any serious birder: AMSTERDAM, BULLER'S and CHATHAM ALBATROSSES, SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSSES, SOUTHERN FULMAR, ATLANTIC, BLUE and SPECTACLED PETRELS, SLENDER-BILLED PRION, WHITE-BELLIED and GREY-BACKED STORM-PETRELS and STREAKED SHEARWATER.
And still it does not end here, as a variety of cetaceans are regularly found on these trips such as HUMP-BACK and BRYDE'S WHALES throughout the year and SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALES from late winter to early summer. There is also an outside chance of spotting SPERM and KILLER WHALES. Dolphins seen regularly include LONG-BEAKED COMMON and DUSKY DOLPHINS. Giant sun fishes and turtles are sometimes encountered, as well as CAPE FUR SEALS closer to shore.
Pelagics trips from Cape Town should be considered as an absolute MUST for birders visiting the Western Cape.
ZEST FOR BIRDS
Contact John Graham or Trevor Hardaker
MOBILE: +27 (0)82 697 2351/ +27 (0)82 780 0376
E-MAIL: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
(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).
|Black-browed Albatross (RM)|
|Wandering Albatross (CM)|
|Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (CN)|
|Shy Albatross (RM)|
|White-chinned Petrel (RM)|
|Pintado Petrel (CM|
- INTERNATIONAL HONOURS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN MARINE BIOLOGIST
- TREVOR HARDAKER ON CAPE PELAGIC BIRDING
- LIST OF PELAGIC SPECIES OFF CAPE TOWN
- CARIN MALAN GOES OUT TO SEA
- MEGA PELAGIC TRIP REPORT: SEPTEMBER 2012
- MORE ASTONISHING BIRDS IN OUR OCEANS
- AVIAN LEISURE DESCRIBES WESTERN CAPE PELAGIC BIRDING
- ZEST FOR BIRDS PELAGIC TRIP REPORT: 14 DECEMBER 2013
- ANNE PELAGIC TRIP REPORT - 18 OCTOBER 2014
ROBBEN ISLAND Show details
Robben Island, made famous as the prison site where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years in prison, is world-renowned amongst birders for its AFRICAN PENGUINS and the feral CHUKAR PARTRIDGE. The island is only accessible by ferry, and these trips do not cater for birders specifically. Therefore do not expect guides to stop for birds spotted on water or land. The tours depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway in the V&A Waterfront and includes a visit to the famous cell. It lasts approximately three hours. The island had over the centuries been used as a prison, a hospital, a mental institution, and a military base and most of it is now covered with alien vegetation.
ROBBEN ISLAND NATIONAL HISTORICAL MEUSEUM is also a World Heritage Site and Robben Island is ranked as an IMPORTANT BIRD AND BIODIVERSITY AREA as it supports globally significant breeding populations of CROWNED and BANK CORMORANTS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and AFRICAN PENGUIN. The penguin colony is on the north-east side of the island, and the boardwalk and hide are reached by following the signs to the right when leaving the harbour. The BANK CORMORANTS breed on the leeward side of the northern breakwater. HARTLAUB'S GULL and SWIFT TERN also breed on the island and are usually visable along the shoreline. Interesting pelagic species can sometimes be seen from the ferry. SABINE'S GULL and ARCTIC and POMARINE SKUAS may be encountered in summer and SUBANTARCTIC SKUA in winter.
Two introduced species of feral birds are also of interest to twitchers and listers. CHUKAR PARTRIDGE, native to Europe and Asia, was introduced to the island in 1964, and have since flourished. These birds are found nowhere else in South Africa and it is often possible to see them from the bus as they forage in the vegetation. These birds are not seen at the prison area regularly. COMMON PEAFOWL is found in the denser thicket and this feral population have until recently been the only recognised flock of genuinely wild-breeding birds of its kind in South Africa. These birds are therefore of the few populations that birders formally “tick on their life-list”.
It is important to note that booking is essential when planning a visit to the island. Protective clothing is vital ¬ take a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and a warm jacket. Ferry trips leave daily at 09h00, 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00 and are, understandably, weather permitting.
The ferry to Robben Island departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at V&A Waterfront, at the pier near the Clocktower. The Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island is where tickets are collected.
RESERVATIONS: + 27 (0)21 413 4233 or +27 (0)21 413 4237
(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).
|African Penguin (RW)|
|African Black Oystercatcher (CM)|
|Chukar Partridge (WC)|
INTRODUCING THE CAPE BIRD CLUB Show details
The Cape Bird Club is one of 32 national affiliates of BirdLife South Africa and is for all people who want to know more about wild birds in their natural environment and who are interested in their conservation and protection. This is a friendly and informal club which welcomes young and old who wish to share their appreciation, understanding and knowledge of birds. The Club's geographical area is the winter rainfall region of the southwestern Cape lying to the south and west of the Olifants and Breede Rivers. Our area is wonderfully rich in birds and about 340 different species occur, which is two-thirds as many as the whole of Britain and Europe – an area 130 times larger.
REGULAR CLUB ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
A monthly evening meeting, normally on the second Thursday of the month, with interesting talks and digital presentations on bird related topics. Venue: Nassau Centre, Groote Schuur High School, Palmyra Road, Newlands.
Regular half-day outings, at least three times per month, often to places closed to the public.
Other events, eg. weekend bird courses, weekend birding camps, special outings for beginners, etc.
Monthly bird counts at selected areas and habitats.
Participation in conservation and citizen science projects.
A Junior section with their own events and activities.
Members receive PROMEROPS, the Cape Bird Club's magazine (four issues per year). The magazine details club events and activities and carries reports and articles on local bird sightings, observations, conservation issues, travel, etc.
Members have the option to join BirdLife South Africa and receive the superbly illustrated, popular glossy magazine AFRICAN BIRDLIFE, at special discount price (6 issues per year).
Membership of the Cape Bird Club has an importance beyond the pleasure it brings to members. The more members we have, the more authoritative is our voice for conservation matters.
POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 2113
PHONE: Sylvia Ledgard +27 (0)21 559 0726
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Joan Acroyd +27 (0)21 530 4435
|Monthly club talk (CBC)|
|Birding walk at Kirstenbosch (CBC)|
|Cape Sugarbird - The Cape Bird Club logo bird (CM)|
RAAPENBERG BIRD SANCTUARY Show details
RAAPENBERG BIRD SANCTUARY
The Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary is a protected area of 10-hectare near the suburb of Observatory, located along the Liesbeek River between the Hartleyvale football ground and the South African Astronomical Observatory. The sanctuary offers shady trees with grassy picnic sites, but this stretch of river is unfortunately located along the busy Liesbeek River Parkway. Problems are also being experienced with invasive alien plants and pollution. The sanctuary is however regarded as an important breeding site for waterbirds, such as a variety of ducks, EGYPTIAN GOOSE and AFRICAN SACRED IBIS.
The Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary forms part of the Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP) at the confluence of the Liesbeek and Black Rivers, and is being developed as an important urban open space. Landowners and stakeholders within the TRUP, together with the Liesbeek Maintenance Project and the Kader Asmal River Cleaning Project, are working together to ensure the rehabilitation of the area for recreational activities and the protection of wildlife. The park includes five provincial heritage sites and is managed by the City of Cape Town. It is to be hoped that the management priorities of rehabilitating the polluted rivers for recreational activities, controlling alien vegetation and creating walkways along the rivers will be achieved.
Many duck species breed here, most notably WHITE-BACKED and WHITE FACED DUCKS. Common species include YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, LITTLE GREBE, GREY HERON, MALACHITE and PIED KINGFISHERS, and CAPE TEAL. Other species of interest are YELLOW-BILLED EGRET, PURPLE HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, AFRICAN JACANA, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, GREAT WHITE PELICAN, AFRICAN SNIPE and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPEN. GREATER FLAMINGO use the wetlands as roosting ground on a seasonal basis. The sanctuary is rather remote and it is recommended that the area be visited in groups. This sanctuary made the headlines some years ago when a vagrant SNOWY EGRET entertained South African bird-watchers for a few weeks.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left onto the Liesbeek Parkway off the N2 east from Cape Town. Turn right into Station Road and drive across the river towards the South African Astronomy Observatory and Valkenberg Hospital. Park outside the entrance gates of these institutions and walk down the lane between them to reach the sanctuary.
ADDRESS: Between Liesbeek Parkway and Station Rd, Observatory
PHONE: +27 (0)21 689 9141
|Egyptian Goose (AO)|
|Flamingo take-off (AO)|
|Little Egret (AO)|
|Pied Avocet (AO)|
NEWLANDS FOREST Show details
Several hiking trails take hikers through pine and gum plantations, as well to the slopes of Table Mountain, at Cape Town's beautiful Newlands Forest. The City Parks Nursery is also situated here and well worth a visit. A sign board close to the parking area gives detailed information about the various hiking trails, allowing visitors to choose the most appropriate route, depending on available time and fitness levels. Birdwatchers are advised to walk towards the mountain and to take the path to the right where the road forks. Most of the walk is in the shade. Two streams are crossed during this walk and many spots are ideal for a picnic with the mountain as a backdrop and beautiful views over the southern suburbs. There are excellent photographic opportunities. Birding is particularly good during summer.
From a birding perspective Newlands Forest is best known for forest species and birds of prey. BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, COMMON CHAFFINCH, FOREST CANARY, AFRICAN OLIVE PIGEON and SOMBRE GREENBUL are examples of species associated with forest and thickets. To this should be added AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, ORANGE-BREASTED and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS, SWEE WAXBILL and CAPE WHITE-EYE. In summer expect to find a variety of cuckoos and AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER. Birds of prey found in and around the forest include VERREAUX'S EAGLE,
FOREST and JACKAL BUZZARDS, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS. Summer migrants such as STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE are also present and EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD has been recorded in recent years.
Newlands Forest is close to the city centre and highly underrated as a birdwatching destination. It compares favourably with the top destinations in the Constantia greenbelts.
Newlands Forest is located along the M3, just past the University of Cape Town. The turn-off is on the right hand side when driving from the city centre. No entrance fee applies.
|SANParks staff on birding course at Newlands (EO)|
|Yellow-billed Kite (CM)|
|Brown-backed Honeybird (CM)|
KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS Show details
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is internationally renowned for showcasing the Cape Floral Kingdom and a variety of other Southern African plant-types in all their splendour. Kirstenbosch lies along the eastern sections of the Table Mountain National Park and both form part of the Cape Floristic Region Protected Area and are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Visitors' Centre offers retail outlets, a restaurant and coffee shop and most importantly an information desk. Ensure that a map, or one of the excellent guide books is purchased before entering, as the vastness of the gardens could become rather confusing for first-time visitors. Such maps will also assist keen birders to use the guidelines and recommendations provided below. Sections of the gardens are wheelchair-friendly and indicated on the maps. Visits to the Conservancy with its collection of succulent plants and the Centre for Home Gardening are highly recommended.
The lower gardens around the Visitor Centre are excellent for birding. The birds in the garden have become fairly tame due to the large number of tourists. This often makes them approachable allows great photographic opportunities throughout the gardens. EGYPTIAN GOOSE, HADEDA IBIS, CAPE SPURFOWL and HELMETED QUINEAFOWL regularly frequent the lawns and SOUTHERN BOUBOU, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED and MALACHITE SUNBIRDS are common in the surrounding vegetation. Also be on the lookout for both COMMON and SWEE WAXBILLS in this area. Other common birds in the lower garden include several canaries, CAPE BULBUL, a variety of doves, SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD (and more recently WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD) and CAPE WHITE-EYE. BAR-THROATED APALIS, BURCHELL'S COUCAL, KLAAS'S CUCKOO and LESSER HONEYGUIDE are more difficult to find here, but are usually present. During winter when the aloes are flowering, the mentioned sunbirds abound in the Mathews Rockery area. Also look out for AMETHYST SUNBIRD.
At the small marsh just below the old parking area and near the Botanical Society's offices RED and YELLOW BISHOPS, LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, CAPE GRASSBIRD, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER, OLIVE THRUSH and COMMON WAXBILL, are often found and present good photographic opportunities. BLACK SAW-WING is common during summer.
A walk up towards the Dell and beyond often allows sightings of other bird species. A pair of SPOTTED EAGLE-OWLS can often be seen in the area around the Dell. The Cycad Garden and the stands of proteas and ericas above it hold good numbers of two sought-after fynbos endemics, namely CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD. Note that CAPE SUGARBIRDS breed elsewhere during winter. The diversity of habitats in this section of the gardens host a wide selection of bird species and birders should remember to watch out for them whilst marvelling at the stupendous vegetation in the garden. Look out for the introduced COMMON CHAFFINCH in the area around the oak and cedar trees above the cycad garden. Many South African birders are keen to find this species.
The huge diversity of species in the gardens can, amongst other things, be attributed to the many birds that are associated with its forest habitats. The most accessible areas for such species are the trees in and around the Dell and the Braille Trail that starts opposite the Fragrance Garden. Look out for BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, FOREST CANARY, KLAAS'S CUCKOO and LEMON DOVE, the latter operating in the shady leaf litter. Also expect to find AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBUL, LESSER HONEYGUIDE, AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (summer), AFRICAN OLIVE PIGEON and OLIVE THRUSH. These wooded areas also support SOUTHERN BOUBOU, BRIMSTONE CANARY, RED-CHESTED CUCKOO and BLACK SAW-WING (both in summer). OLIVE WOODPECKER is also found occationally. AFRICAN GOSHAWKS can often be heard calling high above the forest canopy, particularly during early mornings.
More energetic birders may decide to hike up towards Castle Buttress along either Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine. These two trails form an interesting circle route taking hikers through various habitats. It is fairly strenuous and at least half a day should be allowed to complete it, while still appreciating the beauty and splendour of the gardens. The elusive KNYSNA WARBLER has been reported in this area and the best to look for it is in the bracken higher up towards the buttress during spring when it is most vocal. VERREAUX'S EAGLE can often be seen circling above the mountain. These higher reaches of the gardens can often produce BURCHELL'S COUCAL, CAPE SISKIN, ALPINE and AFRICAN BLACK SWIFTS and GROUND WOODPECKER.
Kirstenbosch also supports a variety of birds of prey: Resident raptors include FOREST BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES, PEREGRINE FALCON, ROCK KESTREL and BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE. SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL is often seen roosting near the Dell. Hawks such as AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROW-HAWKS are most likely to be seen early in the mornings. In summer expect to see YELLOW-BILLED KITE and STEPPE BUZZARD flying overhead.
Some special birds found here irregularly in the past include CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTING, EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD, AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE, STRIPED FLUFFTAIL, BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD and PALMNUT VULTURE. The arboreal boardwalk, or 'boomslang', is the latest addition to birding delights at Kirstenbosch. Birders now have access to treetop views of species that often forage in the canopies of trees. Species that are regularly seen on the boardwalk include CAPE BATIS, FOREST CANARY, SOMBRE GREENBUL, AFRICAN OLIVE PIGEON, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, OLIVE THRUSH, SWEE WAXBILL and CAPE WHITE-EYE. FOREST BUZZARD has also been recorded and birders anticipate that good numbers of birds of prey should be present during summer months.
Also consider taking 'THE HOP ON HOP OFF CITY BUS TOUR' on a mini Peninsula tour, as it stops at Kirstenbosch 15 times a day during summer and 12 times a day during winter. The bus arrives at 09h50 and thereafter every 20 minutes in summer and every 35 minutes in winter. Visit www.citysightseeing.co.za for prices, timetables and the reservation of tickets. Keep in mind that the bus connects with other birding spots such as World of Birds, Cape Town Gardens and so on.
DIRECTIONS: View on Google Maps
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
PHONE: +27(0)21 799 8783
TICKET OFFICE: +27(0)21 799 8782
Sep-Mar (Summer) Mon-Sun: 08h00-19h00
Apr-Aug (Winter) Mon-Sun: 08h00-18h00
Conservatory Mon-Sun: 09h00 -17h00
|Orange-breasted Sunbird (AO)|
|Spotted Flycatcher (AO)|
|Olive Woodpecker (RM)|
|Female Sunbird (RM)|
- TYGERBERG BIRD CLUB AT KIRSTENBOSCH
- IMPRESSIONS ON THE “BOOMSLANG” AT KIRSTENBOSCH
- ANOTHER GREAT KIRSTENBOSCH BIRDING REPORT
- ON LEMON DOVES AT KIRSTENBOSCH
- BRYN DE KOCKS AT KIRSTENBOSCH
- CAPE BIRDING ROUTE: INTRODUCING BIRDING AT KIRSTENBOSCH
- WILDLIFE AT KIRSTENBOSCH
- KIRSTENBOSCH ON THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
CONSTANTIA GREEN BELTS Show details
The forest patches and thickets along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain south of Kirstenbosch extend down into the suburb of Constantia. A series of connected green belts preserves much of the region's forest habitats. There are several trails such as Alphen Trail, Brommersvlei Walk, Diep River Trail, Doordrift Walk, Grootboschkloof Trail, Klaasenbosch Trail, Silverhurst Trail, Spaanschemat River Trail and also Little Stream. Details about these trails, for example where to start, are available at links below. There are too many excellent birding opportunities to discuss here and for this reason the focus falls on Cecilia Forest, De Hel and Die Oog. For practical purposes Tokai Forest is also included here as it offers similar habitat types.
The Cecilia Forest car park is reached where Rhodes Drive coming from Kirstenbosch meets Hohenhort Drive. It is a popular walking and hiking spot and consists mostly of exotic plantations and patches of indigenous forest along the streams. The network of trails is illustrated on an information board at the parking area. Ensure that enough refreshments are packed. The plantations support good numbers of CAPE CANARY, COMMON CHAFFINCH and CAPE SISKIN. Other species associated with well wooded habitats to look for are BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, FOREST CANARY, AFRICAN OLIVE PIGEON, SOMBRE GREENBUL and CARDINAL and OLIVE WOODPECKERS. AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS, COMMON and SWEE WAXBILLS and CAPE WHITE-EYE are often found along the edges of clearings along the forested areas. Prominent birds in summer are DIDERICK and RED-CHESTED CUCKOOS and AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER. FOREST and JACKAL BUZZARDS, BOOTED EAGLE and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS often soar overhead. In summer STEPPE BUZZARDS are present and the rare EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD has also been recorded recently.
DE HEL NATURE AREA
De Hel Nature Area adjoins the lower eastern slopes of Table Mountain to the north-east of Constantia Neck below Rhodes Drive. The Spaanschemat River runs through an area dominated by Afromantane forest, with patches of Peninsula Granite Fynbos. Two parking areas are available: the one is on the left-hand side of Constantia Neck Road coming from Rhodes Drive (look out for the ‘Green Belt’ signboard), and the other is on Southern Cross Drive. Either of these parking areas can be used as a clear semi-circular trail takes hikers around the valley. Smaller tracks leading from the main path lead to the river. The area is jointly managed by the municipality and the Friends of Constantia Valley Green Belts (FOCVGB).
De Hel is generally regarded as the best spot to explore the area's riverine open spaces and the birds associated with this habitat type. The steep slopes with massive trees along the stream make for great forest birding. The thickets along the stream used to be regarded as the best spot in the Peninsula to find the secretive KNYSNA WARBLER. There is, however, concern about the possibility that this highly sought-after species does not occur in the Peninsula any longer. Refer to the link to “Searching for the Peninsula's Knysna Warblers – August 2013” and “THE CAPE PENINSULA KNYSNA WARBLER DOCUMENTS” below. This web-page will be regularly updated when confirmed records of this species become available. Two other specials reported from De Hel are LEMON DOVE and BUFF-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL. LEMON DOVE forages in the leaf litter on the forest floor and BUFF-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL's hooting calls can most often be heard from the thickets along the stream on summer nights. Visitors are advised to use experienced guides to find this very elusive species. COMMON CHAFFINCH, a species much sought-after by birders from other parts of South Africa, is also readily available.
Other birds seen regularly along the trail include BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, FOREST CANARY, RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (summer), BURCHELL'S COUCAL, SOMBRE GREENBUL, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (summer), AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON, CAPE SISKIN and COMMON and SWEE WAXBILLS. Notable birds of prey include AFRICAN GOSHAWK and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS and at night FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJAR and SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL. The star attraction in this regard is, however, AFRICAN WOOD-OWL. De Hel certainly deserves attention from birders searching for evasive forest associated species.
CONTACT: +27 (0)21 689 9141.
Die Oog is a small remnant wetland area that was designated as a zoned public open space that used to be part of Bergvliet Farm. The City of Cape Town and the Bergvliet and Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association managed the initial development work of the site by providing fences and benches and planting indigenous trees and shrubs. A Friends Group was later formed (see contacts details in the links below). This group assists in maintaining and improving the site and has also secured funding for signage, wheelchair-friendly paths, a viewing platform, and improvement of the amenities. Environmental education programmes and a website were also developed.
Die Oog owes its popularity as a birding destination to five distinct habitats within the reserve. The granite fynbos area is situated along the eastern boundary and is very popular during spring due to the sea of flowers. Birds regularly encountered in this part of the reserve include CAPE BULBUL, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE SUGARBIRD and MALACHITE, ORANGE-BREASTED and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS. The dam often overflows in winter and water levels fall in summer. Reeds and plants along the banks of the dam provide valuable cover for species such as RED-KNOBBED COOT, WHITE-BACKED, WHITE-FACED and YELLOW-BILLED DUCKS, LITTLE GREBE, COMMON MOORHEN, CAPE and RED-BILLED TEALS, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER.
The artificial island is a major roosting site for REED CORMORANT, CATTLE EGRET and AFRICAN SACRED IBIS and can host more than a thousand at night. REED CORMORANT, CAPE WEAVER, HADEDA IBIS and WATER THICK-KNEE are all breeding residents. A seasonal wetland below the dam wall drains into the Keyser River and often produces interesting species when conditions are favourable. Recreational areas have been populated with ericas and silver trees and supports a variety of common species such as CAPE CANARY, COMMON FISCAL, HELMETED GUINEAFOWL, CAPE SPURFOWL, SPOTTED THICK-KNEE, COMMON WAXBILL and PIN-TAILED WHYDAH. BLACK SPARROWHAWKS are fairly common. The diversity of habitat types at Die Oog makes this a hugely underrated birding destination and one that certainly deserves more attention.
ADDRESS: East corner of Lakewood and Midwood Avenues, Bergvliet. (34° 02' S 18° 26'E).
Contact the Friends of Die Oog at:
PHONE: +27 (0) 21 712 3510
An automatic gate has been installed. Contact BKM Watch at +27 (0)86 000 2669 if you happen to be locked in.
|Cape White-eye (RM)|
|Lemon Dove (MG)|
|African Paradise-Flycatcher (AO)|
|African Dusky Flycatcher (AO)|
- DESCRIPTIONS OF VARIOUS TRAILS IN AND AROUND THE CONSTANTIA GREENBELTS
- CONSTANTIABERG GREENBELT FACEBOOK PAGE: BIRDING, NATURE AND LANDSCAPE
- HELP NEEDED WITH LOCATIONS OF KNYSNA WARBLERS IN THE PENINSULA
- THE CAPE PENINSULA KNYSNA WARBLER DOCUMENTS SUPPLIED BY CLIFFORD DORSE
- ON KNYSNA WARBLERS?
- DESCRIPTION OF THE CECILIA FOREST HIKE
- DIE OOG WEBSITE
- CAPE BIRDING ROUTE: INTRODUCTION TO CONSTANTIA GREENBELT BIRDING
- DEBATE ON KNYSNA WARBLERS IN THE PENINSULA
TOKAI PARK Show details
Tokai Forest, now called Tokai Park, is a favourite spot for hiking, horse riding, dog walking, cycling, and picnics. Note that cyclists and dog walkers require a permit from SANParks. The forest consists mostly of exotic plantations in which a diversity of bird species is not usually found. It is best known for the Tokai Arboretum which was established in 1885 by Joseph Lister to find out which exotic trees would grow well in the Cape. The forest consists of more than 1,500 trees, most of which are marked. A booklet documenting these trees can be obtained at the office and the Lister's Place tea room.
Tokai Forest is popular with birdwatchers. The plantation fringes around the arboretum and the area adjoining the tea room support common species such as CAPE BULBUL, CAPE CANARY, PIED CROW, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (summer), CAPE ROBIN-CHAT and SWEE WAXBILL. More difficult to find are CAPE BATIS, FOREST CANARY, LESSER HONEYGUIDE and AMETHYST SUNBIRD. Two highly sought-after birds that can often be seen are COMMON CHAFFINCH and CAPE SISKIN. Patience is required, however, as both these species prefer to perch higher up in the trees.
More energetic birders may choose to tackle longer trails to the Elephant’s Eye cave up the slopes of Constantiaberg where there is a larger diversity of species. A map illustrating the trails is available. Walk along the gravel road through the arboretum and take any of the network of forest roads to the north. A strenuous hike leads to a clearing where a concrete reservoir becomes visible. This area and the area at the fire watch hut in front of the Elephant's Eye cave allow superb views of parts of the Peninsula.
The mature fynbos beyond the hut often produces GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, NEDDICKY, CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD. In summer the higher slopes support large numbers of ALPINE, AFRICAN BLACK and LITTLE SWIFTS. From a birding perspective Tokai Forest and Constantiaberg are, however, best known for birds of prey. AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS breed in the plantations. FOREST and JACKAL BUZZARDS and BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES are often seen along the slopes of Constantiaberg, together with PEREGRINE FALCON and ROCK KESTREL. Summer migrants recorded include EURASIAN HOBBY, STEPPE BUZZARD, EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD, and YELLOW-BILLED KITE.
DIRECTIONS: Follow the M3 from Cape Town until the Tokai turn-off is reached, and turn right into Tokai Road, which runs directly to the forest. Take a left turn off Tokai Road at the T-junction at the Tokai Manor House and follow the road to the parking area at the Tokai Arboretum. Register at the entrance ¬ entrance is free.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 712 7471
LISTER'S PLACE TEA GARDEN:
PHONE: +27 (0)21 715 4512
|Cape Siskin (AO)|
|Forest Buzzard (AO)|
|Swee Waxbill (CA)|
|Bar-throated Apalis (RM)|
THE SILVERMINE SECTION OF THE TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK Show details
The Silvermine section of the Table Mountain National Park features some of the most attractive fynbos-covered mountain landscapes in the Western Cape. It offers river walks, the Silvermine waterfall, birdwatching, picnics, a short and wheelchair-friendly boardwalk around the dam (reservoir), dog-walking and mountain biking. Silvermine takes its name from the Silvermine River, which starts in the reserve and runs to Clovelly in False Bay. The area is of significant conservation importance for the indigenous fynbos vegetation.
The reserve covers the area from the Tokai side of Table Mountain to Noordhoek and Sun Valley overlooking the sea and is divided into two sections by Ou Kaapse Weg. The western section, contains the reservoir with the wooden boardwalk encircling it. Mountain biking, for which a permit should be obtained, is only allowed in this section of the reserve. The Silvermine mountain bike trail is regarded as the most popular of the available mountain biking trails. Both the eastern and the western sections of the reserve offer hiking trails with different levels of difficulty and duration. The most popular hiking trails are Elephant's Eye, Silvermine River Walk, Noordhoek Circuit and Steenberg Peak. Maps illustrating the various trails in detail are available at the entrance. In birding circles the Silvermine Nature Reserve is known as one of the prime destinations along the Peninsula: Expect to find FAMILIAR CHAT, both CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES, CAPE SISKIN, RED-WINGED STARLING and GROUND WOODPECKER along the rocky sandstone ridges. Birds associated with fynbos habitats such as CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD are plentiful. Common species include CAPE BULBUL, CAPE BUNTING, NEDDICKY, KAROO PRINIA, WHITE-NECKED RAVEN, MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS. Birds of prey include JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED EAGLE, PEREGRINE FALCON, ROCK KESTREL, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE, and STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE in summer.
DIRECTIONS: Take the M3 towards Muizenberg and then follow Ou Kaapse Weg (M64) towards Noordhoek. The first entrance (34° 08' 71.45”S 18° 42' 44.89”E) is found on the right hand side and this section features mountain biking trails and the reservoir with its boardwalk. The second gate is a few hundred metres past the first one and one turns left into the car park. (34° 09' 07.26”S 18° 42' 00.54”E). This section of the reserve features afromontane forests, waterfalls and very interesting geology.
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Ou Kaapse Weg, Westlake, Cape Town.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 780 9002 (Gate) or +27 (0)21 789 2457 (Office)
October to March: 07h00 to 18h00, exit at 19h00.
April to September:08h00 to 17h00, exit at 18h00
Conservation fees apply, free entrance for WILD Card holders.
|Verreaux's Eagles (JW)|
|Jackal Buzzard (CA)|
|Grey-backed Cisticola (AO)|
|Streaky-headed Seedeater (RM)|
LOWER SILVERMINE RIVER WETLANDS Show details
The Lower Silvermine River Wetlands is situated between Clovelly and Fish Hoek, and features a rehabilitated floodplain. The Silvermine River is unique, as its natural state is almost intact, running from its source in the Silvermine Mountains to the sea in False Bay. The Friends of the Silvermine Nature Area (FOSNA) are very active in clearing alien vegetation, reintroducing indigenous plant species and managing pollution and littering. The area features a self-guided trail for the blind and the entire 1.8 km path around the wetlands is wheelchair-friendly.
The area is a breeding ground for the endangered WESTERN LEOPARD TOAD and also supports ARUM LILY, CAPE RIVER and CLICKING STREAM FROGS. Birds are prolific and most species associated with garden, fynbos, wetlands and coastal habitats in the Western Cape occur. Thickets support CAPE BATIS, KLAAS'S CUCKOO, SOMBRE GREENBUL, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON and OLIVE WOODPECKER. Wetlands habitats hold species such as PURPLE HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, GIANT, MALACHITE and PIED KINGFISHERS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE, AFRICAN SNIPE and SPOTTED THICK-KNEE. WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS, SOUTHERN POCHARD, CAPE SHOVELER and all three teals are also present.
The Silvermine Wetlands is, however, best known for the appearance of a LITTLE CRAKE during March 2012. This was the first time that this palearctic vagrant had been seen in South Africa – birders from all over South Africa and further afield flocked to the area to see this bird in the two weeks that it was present. Most birders agree that the LITTLE CRAKE at Clovelly was the biggest twitch in South Africa's birdwatching history!
DIRECTION: The Lower Silvermine River Wetlands is situated between Clovelly and Fish Hoek and is reached by travelling along Main Road from Muizenberg to Simon's Town. Free parking is available just off Clovelly Road at the traffic lights on Main Road.
Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (FOSNA):
PHONE: +27 (0)21 782 6144
|Little Crake (The late Basie Van Zyl)|
|African Paradise-Flycatcher (CM)|
|Little Stint (AO)|
THE BOULDERS BEACH PENGUIN COLONY Show details
Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and is world-renowned as one of only two mainland breeding colonies of the critically endangered AFRICAN PENGUIN. The area consists of sandy beaches with huge granite boulders surrounded by coastal thicket. The penguins can be viewed from a viewing platform in the TMNP. Alternatively, a wheelchair-friendly bridle path that starts from Bellevue Road takes one directly to the main group of birds. Other boardwalks are also available.
This site is very popular amongst tourists as it allows close-up viewing and excellent photography of a species that is in actual fact in dire straits. This beach is ideal for children as immense boulders shelter the cove from currents, wind and large waves. The penguins should not be touched or fed, as they pack a mean bite.
Other birds to look out for along the coastal thickets include BRIMSTONE CANARY, FAMILIAR CHAT, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, CAPE BULBUL, mousebirds, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, several sunbirds and CAPE WHITE-EYE. CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS and COMMON, SANDWICH (summer) and SWIFTS TERNS roost on the offshore granite outcrops, while AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS forage along the coastline. CAPE GANNETS can often be seen out to sea.
DIRECTIONS: Boulders Beach is well signposted from Main Road on the southern edge of Simon's Town and can be reached from the bottom of Bellevue Road.
Kindly note that this forms part of the TMNP and that a daily conservation fee is payable.
Boulders Visitor Centre: +27 (0)21 786 2329.
GPS: 34° 11' 37.90"S 18° 26' 47.60"E
|African Penguins (AO)|
|Hartlaub's Gulls (AO)|
|African Black Oystercatchers (CM)|
|Swift Terns (CM)|
THE CAPE POINT SECTION OF THE TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK Show details
Cape Point, the westernmost tip of Africa, offers magnificent landscapes covered with endemic fynbos, and features beautiful bays, beaches, hills and valleys. It is just 60 km from Cape Town, and is the most southerly point within the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park. There is much to do for the nature enthusiast. Several picnic sites are available and hikers and mountain bikers have many options to choose from. Alternatively lunch can be enjoyed at the Two Oceans Restaurant or the Flying Dutchman funicular can be taken to see the superb views over the Atlantic Ocean or the Hottentots Holland mountain range across False Bay. The Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre features the plants and animals to look out for and offers lots of other useful information. The reserve is known for its spectacular beauty and rich biodiversity. Well over 250 species of birds have been recorded despite the fact that low-lying vegetation does not provide the most suitable habitat for bush birds.
A comprehensive overview of the birding potential of the reserve cannot be provided here and only a select few birding opportunities are highlighted. The Olifantsbos Point area certainly needs investigation by birders and the first turn-off to the right after the entrance gate leads to this area. Rocky areas along this road support some stands of protea and these should be scanned for CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD. Wild dagga blooms in December and March and attracts MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS, as well as COMMON WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE. The hilly outcrops when Olifantbos is approached produce raptors such as JACKAL BUZZARD, VERREAUX'S EAGLE, PEREGRINE FALCON and ROCK KESTREL. The thickets and stands of Milkwood trees close to Olifantsbos hold BOKMAKIERIE, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, CAPE BULBUL and mousebirds.
Olifantsbos Bay can produce waders in summer and look out for COMMON GREENSHANK, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, SANDERLING, CURLEW SANDPIPER, RUDDY TURNSTONE and COMMON WHIMBREL as well. Other migrants at this time of year include ARCTIC, COMMON and SANDWICH TERNS and look out for ANTARCTIC and SWIFT TERNS in winter. Resident birds may include KELP and HARTLAUB'S GULLS, WHITE-FRONTED and KITTLITZ'S PLOVERS and AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER. Vagrant sightings in the past included TEMMINCK'S COURSER and PECTORAL SANDPIPER.
Return to the main road leading to the lighthouse and then try the well-marked circular drive. This drive is well known for a variety of antelopes. Pincushions are in bloom along the western section between August and November and sugarbirds and most of the region's sunbirds are prominent then. CLOUD and GREY-BACKED CISTICOLAS, CAPE CLAPPER LARK and PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT are often found after fires and look out for GROUND WOODPECKER and both CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES in the rocky areas. CAPE BUNTING and CAPE GRASSBIRD are often present at the Gifkommetjie lookout area. The information centre at Buffelsfontein is worth a visit and many of the common bird species of the Western Cape are on view here. Beyond this the picnic site along the False Bay coast is often good for sightings of GIANT and PIED KINGFISHERS and most of the common coastal species.
The boardwalk trail starting at the main parking area at the Two Oceans restaurant and the Flying Dutchman funicular and leading to the Cape of Good Hope viewpoint deserves attention. GROUND WOODPECKER can often be found above Diaz Beach and the surrounding coastal thicket provides excellent habitat for species such as BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, SOUTHERN BOUBOU and KAROO PRINIA. The trail leading to the lighthouse is good for CAPE BUNTING, FAMILIAR CHAT, GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA and CAPE GRASSBIRD and always be on the lookout for CAPE SISKIN. The general area between 'the two points' also supports birds of prey such as JACKAL BUZZARD, PEREGRINE FALCON and ROCK KESTREL.
A slow drive past Maclear Beach to the Cape of Good Hope viewpoint is also recommended. This is the best section of coastline for coastal birds such as CAPE, CROWNED and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and COMMON, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS. In winter an onshore gale provides the opportunity for good land-based sea birding from the adjacent headland with pelagic species such as ATLANTIC YELLOW-NOSED, BLACK-BROWED and SHY ALBATROSSES, ATLANTIC, GIANT and WHITE-CHINNED PETRELS and LITTLE and SOOTY SHEARWATERS having been recorded. WANDERING and SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSSES have also caused great excitement in the past. It stands to reason that spotting scopes are essential for sea birding.
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve has developed a reputation over the years for producing records of many species that are vagrant to the Cape Town region. EUROPEAN BEE-EATER, CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTING, EUROPEAN ROLLER, BROWN SCRUB-ROBIN, LESSER GREY SHRIKE, GREY-BACKED SPARROWLARK and GREY and YELLOW WAGTAILS serve as just a few examples. Vagrant waders include AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and BAIRD'S, PECTORAL and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. The ELEGANT TERN, RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD and NORTHERN ROCKHOPPER PENGUIN should be added to this.
A visit to the Cape Of Good Hope Nature Reserve should be on any visitor's itinerary even if it is just to experience the spectacular mountain- and seascapes and the magnificent indigenous fynbos. The diversity of bird species to be found in such close proximity to the urban sprawl of Cape Town is certainly an added bonus.
From Cape Town take the M3 to where it ends before the West Lake golf course. Here you can either go left to the Main Road (M4), which will take you through Fish Hoek and Simon's Town to the reserve, or turn right over Ou Kaapse Weg (M64) and follow the signs through Kommetjie and Scarborough along the (M65) to the reserve entrance.
TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK: +27 (0)21 713 0260
TMNP – BUFFELSFONTEIN VISITOR CENTRE: +27 (0)21 780 9204
RESTAURANT, SHOPS AND FUNICULAR: +27 (0) 21 780 9010 or +27 (0)21 780 9200
Kindly note that the Cape of Good Hope is one of Table Mountain National Park's pay points where a daily conservation fee is payable. Tickets cost R105 per adult and R50 per child. It is not necessary to book in advance.
|Jackal Buzzard (CM)|
|Grey-winged Francolin (AO)|
|Seabirding from Good Hope (CBC)|
|Southern Right Whale (AO)|
KOMMETJIE Show details
Birders will find several sites of interest when travelling from the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve towards Kommetjie. Consider exploring the start of the Hoerikwaggo hiking trail in the Table Mountain National Park, the Good Hope Nursery, the Baskloof Fynbos Reserve and Scarborough.
The village of Kommetjie is one of the best spots in the peninsula for BANK, CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS associated with the cold Benguela current, as well as ANTARCTIC TERN in winter. The latter is very popular with birders as it is the only winter migrant in the region and is present in small numbers between April and October. KELP and HARTLAUB'S GULLS are common and AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER add to the attraction. CAPE GANNETS can often be seen flying out towards sea. Kommetjie is also a well-known sea birding vantage point during the winter months – refer to the description of the Cape of Good Hope vantage point earlier.
An assortment of resident waders are on offer, including LITTLE EGRET, BLACKSMITH LAPWING, KITTLITZ'S, WHITE-FRONTED and THREE-RINGED PLOVERS. Expect to find summer migrant such as COMMON GREENSHANK, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, RUFF, COMMON SANDPIPER, RUDDY TURNSTONE and COMMON WHIMBREL. SWIFT TERNS are present throughout the year, with COMMON and SANDWICH TERNS numerous during summer. A moulting NORTHERN ROCKHOPPER PENGUIN caused a huge sensation in birding circles in February 2013 when it was spotted at the Soetwater Caravan Park just south of Kommetjie.
A drive towards the lighthouse could also be considered. Scan the cliffs for JACKAL BUZZARD, VERREAUX'S EAGLE, ROCK KESTREL and WHITE-NECKED RAVEN while on the way there. To the north of Kommetjie lies Long Beach, which is best known for surfing and horse riding. The nearby Wildevoëlvlei was once a very popular attraction as it supported vast numbers of waterbirds. Bird numbers have, however, declined dramatically due to poor water quality and housing developments around the lake have basically made access to it very difficult.
Enter Kommetjie along the M65 from Scarborough, turn left down Van Imhoff Road at the sharp bend opposite the hotel. Continue to the parking area on the left from where the rocky outcrops can be explored.
GPS: 34° 08' 25.78”S 18° 19' 20.18”
|Crowned & Cape Cormorants (CM)|
|Bank Cormorants (CM)|
|Swift Terns (LA)|
KOMMETJIE TO CAPE TOWN Show details
The M6 freeway from Kommetjie to Cape Town offers spectacular land and seascapes, together with a wide selection of top birding destinations. Only a few of these destinations are highlighted briefly.
The village of NOORDHOEK is situated on the southern side of Chapman's Peak Drive and is world-renowned for its beach, diverse habitats and wetlands. Birdwatching opportunities are excellent, with one owner of an accommodation establishment having recorded 106 species on his property and a further 70 species seen at the wetland across the street. Garden birds include CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, COMMON CHAFFINCH, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT and OLIVE WOODPECKER. The wetlands feature LITTLE BITTERN, BURCHELL'S COUCAL, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN. Start exploring the wetlands in the village at 34° 06' 46.59”S 18° 22' 54.34”E.
THE NOORDHOEK TOURISM OFFICE WEBSITE:
WORLD OF BIRDS WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
The wheelchair-friendly World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary in Hout Bay features landscaped walk through aviaries, allowing visitors the chance to study many bird species at close quarters, thereby creating excellent photographic opportunities. More than 400 species and over 3 000 birds are on view. One section of the park consists of a monkey jungle where squirrel monkeys can be seen up close. Approximately 100 000 people visit World of Birds annually. Visiting birders are often impressed by the conservation and rehabilitation work being undertaken at the sanctuary.
DIRECTIONS: World of Birds is situated along Valley Road in Houtbay ¬ signs posted along the Main Road in Hout Bay guide visitors to the park. The sanctuary is also on the Blue Route of the 'HOP ON HOP OFF CITY BUS TOUR'. Visit www.citysightseeing.co.za for prices, timetables and the reservation of tickets. Keep in mind that the bus connects with other birding spots such as Kirstenbosch, Cape Town Gardens and so on.
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Valley Road, Houtbay, 7806
PHONE: +27 (0)21 790 2730
GPS: 34° 01'00.26”S 18° 21' 43.08”E
The suburb of BAKOVEN is also of interest, as endangered BANK CORMORANTS breed on boulders just offshore. Spotting scopes are needed to observe these endemic birds from the M6.
Cape Town's western seaboard from SEA POINT to the V&A WATERFRONT often produces an assortment of coastal birds. CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS, HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and SWIFT TERN are resident and smaller species such as KITTLITZ'S, THREE-BANDED and WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS are also present. In summer be on the lookout for migratory species such as COMMON RINGED PLOVER, COMMON SANDPIPER, COMMON and SANDWICH TERNS, RUDDY TURNSTONE, RUFF and COMMON WHIMBREL.
GREEN POINT PARK
The recently developed GREEN POINT PARK (33° 54' 16.61”S 18° 24' 04.61”E) is attracting interest from birders as a wide selection of species has been observed in the middle of one of the city's busiest areas. REED CORMORANT, CATTLE and LITTLE EGRETS, LITTLE GREBE, PIED KINGFISHER and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW (summer) can be spotted in and around the ponds. CAPE LONGCLAW, CAPE SPARROW, SPOTTED THICK-KNEE, CAPE WAGTAIL and CAPE WEAVER are just a few of the terrestrial species on the park's list. SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL and BARN OWL are seen sometimes and a vagrant LITTLE BEE-EATER caused quite a stir in Cape Town birding circles recently.
|Ruddy Turnstones (AO)|
|Black-headed Heron (CA)|
|Pied Kingfisher (AO)|
|Red-eyed Dove (RM)|
INTAKA ISLAND Show details
Intaka ('bird' in Xhosa), is a sprawling series of wetlands covering 16 ha in the heart of Century City and beside the Canal Walk shopping mall. It contains four permanent wetlands and one seasonal wetland with marked trails and two hides. Close up viewing and photography of breeding waterbirds is possible. This is a wonderful example of a rehabilitated urban wetlands where nature lovers can just get away from busy city life.
Bird checklists, brochures and maps are available at reception for birders wanting to follow a self-guided trail on a route that is wheelchair- and pram-friendly. The circular path of 2 km takes one around the constructed wetland and ephemeral pans, while the shorter route of 1 km takes one around the constructed wetland with lookout points over the pans. Intaka Island offers excellently trained and experienced field rangers who can be hired for guided trails ¬ booking is essential.
More leisurely birders can choose to bird from the Century City Ferry. Call +27 (0)21 552 6889 or email email@example.com for reservations. The centre also features an outstanding environmental education programme – ensure that note is taken of all the practical hints on recycling that are on display as part of the exhibits. Likewise, the rehabilitation and maintenance programmes implemented here are fascinating, besides being a major conservation achievement. The field rangers can relate this process to visitors.
Birdwatching at Intaka Island is great as it hosts more than 120 bird species in a relatively small area. Birding starts at reception where a wooden deck with comfortable tables and chairs allow viewing of reed beds and part of a pond. RED BISHOP, RED-KNOBBED COOT, COMMON MOORHEN, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and several heron species are usually very active here. It is recommended that the trail be followed in a clock-wise fashion. There is a large wooden deck where the reception area is exited ¬ be on the lookout for LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, COMMON WAXBILL CAPE WEAVER, CAPE WHITE-EYE and (unfortunately) MALLARD.
Further on one can turn left to a natural pond where terrestrial birds such as canaries, doves and pigeons, mousebirds and sparrows may be found. Also listen for the distinctive call of LITTLE RUSH-WARBLERS in this area.
A number of birds make use of the man-made heronries on Intaka Island for breeding and roosting and these can be seen from the viewing gazebo. These heronries have been recognized internationally for both their simple construction and success at attracting birds. REED and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS, AFRICAN DARTER, LITTLE GREBE, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, gulls, AFRICAN SPOONBILL, CAPE TEAL and SPOTTED and WATER THICK-KNEES are found in this area regularly.
Intaka Island's main attraction, however, is the Kingfisher hide. GLOSSY IBIS, PIED KINGFISHER, AFRICAN SNIPE, CAPE SHOVELER and RED-BILLED TEAL are often on view. Adult LITTLE BITTERNS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS and their young are often photographed with great success. MALACHITE KINGFISHER remains a firm favourite and is often photographed with ease from the hide. CAPE and YELLOW CANARIES, KLAAS'S CUCKOO, BROWN-THROATED and ROCK MARTINS also feature, as do BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS in summer. There is another hide just next to main hide offering views of the previous pond.
Birds of Prey that are recorded here fairly regularly include JACKAL BUZZARD, PEREGRINE FALCON, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS. Birds that are often regarded as being fairly difficult to find in the Cape and that have been recorded at Intaka include FULVOUS, MACCOA, WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS, HOBBY FALCON, SQUACCO HERON, GREATER PAINTED SNIPE, COMMON QUAIL and HOTTENTOT TEAL. A BAILLON’S CRAKE caused quite a stir in Western Cape birding circles when recorded at Intaka early in 2013.
DIRECTIONS: Take the SABLE ROAD off-ramp from the N1, that becomes RATANGA ROAD. Turn right into CENTURY BOULEVARD at the third set of traffic lights. From here follow the road signs to INTAKA ISLAND. The first traffic circle is exited on the Cape Town side and then turn almost immediately left into PARK LANE. The Intaka Island parking area is at the end of this lane.
GPS: 33°88'80.15”S 18°51'30.04”E
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 6 Park Lane, Century City
PHONE: +27 (0)21 552 6889
TWO LOCAL BIRD GUIDES ARE AVAILABLE
A small entry fee applies.
|Intaka Island EE centre (AO)|
|Photographers at Common Moorhen nest (AO)|
|Red-knobbed Coot (AO)|
|Black-crowned Night-Heron at Intaka hide (RM)|
TABLE BAY NATURE RESERVE Show details
The Table Bay Nature Reserve consists of the Rietvlei Wetlands, Milnerton Lagoon, Milnerton Beach, Milnerton Racecourse, Zoarvlei Wetlands, Diep River and the Parklands Fynbos Corridor. The most important birding destinations in this reserve are along the R27, which is reached from the N1 just north of Cape Town. As Milnerton is passed, the lagoon between the R27 and the Woodbridge Island lighthouse to the left should be scanned. A number of common waterbird species are often found here, most notably PIED AVOCET, REED and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS, AFRICAN DARTER, LITTLE EGRET, HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS and GREY-HEADED GULL occasionally. GIANT and PIED KINGFISHERS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and BLACK-WINGED STILT are often conspicuous. In summer day roosts of terns mostly consisting of COMMON, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS are often on view in the estuarine section of Rietvlei. CASPIAN TERNS regularly patrol the waterways.
The Rietvlei wetland is on the right-hand side once the Diep River Bridge is passed. Birders might want to consider driving towards the Table Bay coast where the Sunset Beach pan often produces interesting birding ¬ Sunset Beach is clearly signposted. RED-KNOBBED COOT, LITTLE and YELLOW-BILLED EGRETS, LITTLE GREBE, GREY and PURPLE HERONS, the kingfishers mentioned above and COMMON MOORHEN are species normally encountered here. A wide selection of martins, swallows and swifts are present in summer.
A number of large waterbodies can be seen on the right once the R27 is rejoined on the way north. The Rietvlei pan, which is dry and dusty in late summer, can be seen in the distance. The pan supports vast numbers of waterbirds during winter and spring. Flocks of GREAT WHITE PELICAN, large numbers of ducks, GREATER FLAMINGOS, EGYPTIAN and SPUR-WINGED GEESE, can then be observed along the shore. Unfortunately there are very little, if any safe places to stop and park to watch birds and the best would be to visit the eastern part of Rietvlei. (See description below). The deeper waters of Flamingo Vlei that is mainly used for water sports is also passed. Cormorants, AFRICAN DARTER and GREAT WHITE PELICAN may be observed in passing.
The Dolphin Beach Pans are certainly worth a visit as a splendid diversity of waterbirds are often available here ¬ take the first turn-off to Blouberg Strand to the left. Bird-watching can be done from the roadside, but caution is advised as this road can become very busy. Birds regularly seen on open water include RED-KNOBBED COOT, YELLOW-BILLED DUCKS, GREATER CRESTED and LITTLE GREBES and CAPE SHOVELER. The reed-clad edges of the water usually cause most excitement amongst birders as species recorded here fairly regularly include LITTLE and YELLOW-BILLED EGRETS, PURPLE HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, COMMON MOORHEN, KITTLITZ'S and THREE-BANDED PLOVERS, AFRICAN SNIPE, BLACK-WINGED STILT and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN. The reed beds also deserve some attention as LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER, COMMON WAXBILL and others are reported regularly and AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER sometimes quarters over these reed beds. Add to this good numbers of waders, together with swallows, swifts and martins that frequent the area in summer and it becomes evident that this small area is certainly worth a visit. Special species that are recorded here fairly often include WHITE-BACKED DUCK and GREATER PAINTED SNIPE. A vagrant WILSON'S PHALAROPE found here caused quite a stir in Western Cape birding circles some years ago.
From here proceed to SANCCOB and Rietvlei. Return to the R27, travel for a short distance and turn right into Blaauwberg Road at the first set of traffic lights. Turn right into Pentz Drive at the next set of the traffic lights. Follow Pentz Drive until a four-way intersection is reached and turn right into Grey Avenue. The SANCCOB seabird rehabilitation centre is reached after about 1 km. This centre is well worth a visit, as illustrated in the provided text below.
|White-faced Ducks (AO)|
|Maccoa Duck (CM)|
|Pied Kingfisher (RM)|
|African Black Oystercatcher (IG)|
|Karoo Prinia (CN)|
SANCCOB Show details
The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is a leading marine-orientated non-profit organization which has treated more than 90 000 oiled, ill, injured or abandoned African Penguins and other threatened seabirds since being established in 1968. Independent research confirms that the wild African population is 19% higher directly due to SANCCOB’s oiled wildlife response efforts.
SANCCOB works with numerous conservation-minded local and international partners and promotes projects which contribute toward the conservation and protection of southern Africa's seabirds, especially threatened species such as the African Penguin. As project administrators we facilitate the funding of projects which are in line with the Biodiversity Management Plan 2 for the African Penguin in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act No. 10 of 2004). This plan concentrates on establishing guidelines around various aspects of African penguin conservation and consolidating existing conservation work.
SANCCOB is an internationally recognized leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing; contributes to research which benefits seabirds; conducts research that aims to inform management authorities; trains people to care for the birds and educates the public to appreciate this unique heritage.
SANCCOB offers specialist tours to the public from Monday to Friday at 11h00 and 15h00 and on every second Saturday at 10h00, 12h00 and 15h00 – booking essential. School tours and specialist talks by arrangement. Penguin birthday parties on or off site. Contact details for reservations and enquiries are: Tel. +27 (0)21 557 6155, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
TABLE VIEW CENTRE (Head Office)
Tel: +27 (0)21 557 6155
After hours & weekends: +27 (0)78 638 3731
Fax: +27 (0)21 557 8804
CAPE ST. FRANCIS CENTRE
Tel: +27 (0)42 298 0160
Mobile: +27 (0)82 890 0207
Fax: +27 (0)21 557 8804
|Feeding an African Penguin (Provided)|
|Releasing African Penguins (Provided)|
|SANCCOB Volunteers (Provided)|
RIETVLEI WETLAND RESERVE Show details
From SANCCOB travel all the way to the end of Grey Avenue where the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve is entered through the gate to the Milnerton Aquatic Club. A small entrance fee is payable and the bird hide is a 15 minute walk from the gate. Birding along this walkway can be excellent, particularly during winter, spring and early summer. Reports indicate that Rietvlei hosts an average of 5 500 birds in summer and it has been known to host as many as 15 000 individual birds.
The Rietvlei Wetland Reserve is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA - SA 111) and an application has been submitted to have it declared as a RAMSAR site. This is largely due to the presence of AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and the great diversity and abundance of waterbirds in the reserve. This large wetland in the floodplain of the Diep River lies between the suburbs of Milnerton and Table View and is surrounded by Cape Flats dune strandveld vegetation, shallow marshes, reed beds and a lagoon that opens to the sea seasonally. The wetland is flooded during winter and birdwatching is most rewarding from then until summer when the migratory waders are present. Birding is very rewarding in the area around the hide and AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE can often be observed hunting over the water.
The large, open expanse of the vlei supports species such RED-KNOBBED COOT, AFRICAN DARTER, a wide selection of ducks and geese, together with GREAT CRESTED and LITTLE GREBE and GREAT WHITE PELICAN. AFRICAN BLACK DUCK and HOTTENTOT TEAL are more difficult to find. CASPIAN TERNS regularly patrol these waters. A vagrant BLACK SKIMMER cause a huge sensation in Western Cape birding circles in October 2012. The smaller pans and shallower water produce PIED AVOCET, FULVOUS, WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS, YELLOW-BILLED EGRET, GREATER and LESSER FLAMINGOS (the latter less often), HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS, AFRICAN SPOONBILL, GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE and AFRICAN SNIPE. AFRICAN JACANA has also been present in recent years. KITTLITZ'S and WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS are resident and CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER is seen occasionally.
The reed beds are alive with warblers in summer, with AFRICAN REED-WARBLER, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER being particularly numerous. Also look for PURPLE HERON, LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, LITTLE BITTERN, AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in this habitat type. AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIERS often quarter overhead. The Strandveld vegetation around the vlei is filled with colourful flowers in Spring and expect to find BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, COMMON FISCAL, CAPE LONGCLAW, SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, CAPE SPARROW, CAPE SPURFOWL, MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, COMMON WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and PIN-TAILED WHYDAH in these areas.
Martins, swallows and swifts are present in huge numbers during summer with BANDED and BROWN-THROATED MARTINS, BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS and AFRICAN BLACK, LITTLE and WHITE-RUMPED SWIFTS serving as good examples. SAND MARTIN is found rarely. Migrant waders are often abundant with COMMON GREENSHANK, RUFF, SANDERLING, MARSH and CURLEW SANDPIPERS and LITTLE STINT being most prominent. WHITE-WINGED TERN is often a great addition to the COMMON, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS that are usually present in the estuary part of the vlei during summer.
As far as facilities are concerned there are bathrooms at the Milnerton Aquatic Club, as well as at the Education Centre and a picnic site close by.
ADDRESS: Grey Avenue, Table View (S 33° 50' 10.09" E 18° 29' 36.86")
PHONE: +27 (0)21 557 5509 or +27 (02)1 444 0315
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of Rietvlei at www.friendsofrietvlei.co.za
A small entrance fee applies.
|Immature Little Bittern (AO)|
|White-throated Swallow (AO)|
|Karoo Prinia (RM)|
BLAAUWBERG CONSERVATION AREA Show details
The Blaauwberg Conservation Area (BCA) is one of Cape Town’s latest registered reserves. It is renowned for its magnificent views over two proclaimed World Heritage Sites, Table Mountain and Robben Island across Table Bay. The reserve is located 25 km north of the centre of Cape Town, and is regarded as a global biodiversity hotspot. It conserves Renosterveld, Sand Fynbos and Strandveld habitats, as well as a wetland, coastal dunes and nearly seven kilometers of rocky and sandy coastline. Unique cultural historical artefacts have been discovered within the BCA and it has the potential to become an open-air classroom which is easily accessible to millions of people in the area. The BCA Environmental Education Centre at Eerstesteen is only 50 m from the beach.
A walk down a pathway to the freshwater pond near the beach can produce thicket dwelling birds such as BAR-THROATED APALIS, YELLOW and WHITE-THROATED CANARIES, GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, LONG-BILLED CROMBEC and KAROO PRINIA. Another interesting feature of some of the birds in the reserve is that species often associated with Cape West Coast habitats occur in close proximity to Cape Town. Examples include WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD, CHESTNUT-VENTED and LAYARD'S TITBABBLERS, KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN and CAPPED WHEATEAR. BLUE CRANE and BLACK HARRIER have also been recorded.
At the pond species such as LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER, WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and CAPE WEAVER, as well as a variety of waterbirds are present. CAPE CORMORANT, CAPE GANNET, HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and AFRICAN PENGUIN can often be spotted from the shore and seasonally marine mammals like CAPE FUR SEALS, SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALES and DUSKY DOLPHINS can be seen.
The BCA is a valuable recreational area. There are braai and picnic facilities, walking trails, excellent birdwatching opportunities and a beautiful stretch of beach for walking, surfing and fishing. The Friends Group offers interesting botanical, cultural and historical talks and walks, and helps the reserve staff with tasks like clearing invasive alien plants.
ADDRESS: Eerste Steen Resort, Otto du Plessis Drive (M14), north of Bloubergstrand.
GPS: 33° 45' 58.84”S 18° 27' 41.61”E
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: (booking essential)
PHONE: +27 (0)21 444 0454
E-MAIL: Blaauwberg.NatureReserve@capetown.gov.za (Management)
FRIENDS GROUP: www.bca.org.za
|Southern Masked-Weaver (RM)|
|Cape Spurfowl (AO)|
|Familiar Chat (AO)|
|African Black Oystercatcher (CM)|
KOEBERG NATURE RESERVE Show details
The Koeberg Nature Reserve is situated along the R27 and is adjacent to the Koeberg nuclear power station near Melkbosstrand. The reserve contains two major veld types, namely some of the last remnants of West Coast Strandveld and dune veld. The reserve also supports various wetlands. A mountain bike trail, two walking trails and a bird hide are available. The Dikkop Trail is a 13 km circular walk that includes a 2 km walk along the beach. This walk is most popular in spring when the wild flowers are in bloom. The Grysbok Trail starts at the Visitor Centre and is a two hour walk. It includes a section along the beach ¬ a restricted area in summer when AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS breed. This walk also takes birders to a salt marsh where abundant birdlife is available during the rainy season in winter.
The Koeberg Nature Reserve features most of the common species to be expected in this type of habitat. These include BAR-THROATED APALIS, BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, CAPE BUNTING, WHITE-THROATED and YELLOW CANARIES, CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE LONGCLAW, WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, MALACHITE SUNBIRD and CAPE WEAVER. Other more elusive species and birds normally not readily available closer to Cape Town are BLACK-HEADED CANARY, LONG-BILLED CROMBEC, NAMAQUA DOVE, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, SOUTHERN BLACK KORHAAN, KAROO and CLAPPER LARKS, PIED and WATTLED STARLINGS, GREY TIT, CAPE PENDULINE TIT, CHESTNUT-VENTED and LAYARD'S TIT-BABBLERS and CAPPED WHEATEAR. Interestingly, even HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL gets flushed here occasionally. Species that are rarely seen here are BLACK-NECKED GREBE, BLACK HARRIER and CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER.
Interesting waterbirds that visitors might want to take note of are MACCOA DUCK, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, SOUTHERN POCHARD, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE SHOVELER. Waders on record include COMMON GREENSHANK, KITTLITZ'S, THREE-BANDED and WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS, CURLEW and WOOD SANDPIPERS and BLACK-WINGED STILT. Fairly common birds of prey are JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED EAGLE, PEREGRINE FALCON, ROCK KESTREL, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER. STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE are present in summer.
An impressive list of birds for such a small reserve occur at the Koeberg Nature Reserve. Most impressively it features several species normally associated with West Coast and Karoo habitats in close proximity to Cape Town. This makes a visit to the reserve very worthwhile for birdwatchers visiting Cape Town.
Access to the reserve should be arranged through the security offices.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 553 2466 or +27 (0)21 550 4021 during office hours
|African Stonechat (JW)|
|Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler (RM)|
|Brimstone Canary (RM)|
|White-throated Canary (LA)|
TYGERBERG NATURE RESERVE Show details
The Tygerberg Nature Reserve is roughly 300 hectares in extent and is best known for conserving Swartland Shale Renosterveld, one of Cape Town’s most threatened habitat types. Due to this the reserve has been extended to now also include a wetland. An amazing 460 different plant species grow on the Tygerberg, and of these 12 are threatened with extinction, 8 are endemic to Cape Town and 3 only occur on the Tygerberg. The Tygerberg Nature Reserve is very popular with the local birdwatching fraternity as it is easily accessible within the suburbs. It offers outstanding views of Cape Town and Table Bay, several hiking and running trails and picnic facilities. The well-known Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre is utilised by many conservation agencies, clubs and schools from the region.
Many birders regard this little reserve as one of the most underrated birding destinations in Cape Town. It features the majority of waterbirds to be found in the region, together with most of the common garden birds and canaries. In summer large numbers of martins, swallows and swifts are also available. Popular birds found here include ACACIA PIED BARBET, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and SWEE WAXBILL. The reserve is, however, best known for species that one would not expect to find easily in Cape Town and here CAPE BUNTING, FAIRY FLYCATCHER, BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD, GREATER and LESSER HONEYGUIDES, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON, CAPE PENDULINE-TIT, CAPE ROCK-THRUSH, KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN, CHESTNUT-VENTED and LAYARD'S TIT-BABBLERS and GROUND WOODPECKER serve as examples.
Birds of prey include JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES, LANNER and PEREGRINE FALCONS, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS. Surprisingly BLACK HARRIERS are also recorded from time to time. In summer expect to find STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE. SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL, FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJAR and BARN OWL are also common. These are but a few of the species that are to be found at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve and it is truly remarkable that such quality of birding is to be found within the urban sprawl.
DIRECTIONS: From the N1, turn into Jip de Jager Road towards Durbanville. Turn left into Kommissaris Street and follow the brown Tygerberg Nature Reserve signs. The main gate is in Totius Street, Welgemoed.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 913 5695
|White-necked Raven (CN)|
|Lesser Honeyguide (AO)|
|Cardinal Woodpecker female (RM)|
|Acacia Pied Barbet (RM)|
TYGERBERG BIRD CLUB Show details
TYGERBERG BIRD CLUB
The Tygerberg Bird Club was started 28 years ago in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. The club's meetings are usually held on the third Thursday of every month, at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve in Welgemoed, starting at 19h30. (See website for more details).
The Tygerberg Bird Club is a friendly club, where members are encouraged to enhance their knowledge of birds by attending meetings and outings and assisting with bird counts and bird related conservation projects. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Club members share a common love of nature – thus bringing together a wonderful mix of interests such as for birds, plants, trees, photography, etc. Monthly talks focus on conservation projects, and ‘birding holidays’ with excellent pictures to be enjoyed by all.
MOBILE: +27 (0)82 5700 808
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Ionè Vanderwalt email@example.com
|TBC logo bird: Black-shouldered Kite (CN)|
|Chairperson doing bird ringing demonstration (AO)|
DURBANVILLE NATURE RESERVE Show details
The Durbanville Nature Reserve is a small 6ha reserve next to the Durbanville Racecourse in the heart of Durbanville. It is preserved as critically endangered Swartland shale renosterveld and Cape Flats sand fynbos meet at the site. Approximately 130 species of indigenous plants grow here. The reserve features picnic sites, wheelchair-friendly pathways and a small environmental education facility that is available for meetings and functions. Educational programmes for primary schools are available, but booking is essential.
Durbanville Nature Reserve is a popular spot for local birders as more than 100 different types of birds have been identified in this very small reserve right in the middle of Durbanville. YELLOW BISHOP, BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, CAPE CANARY, WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD and MALACHITE SUNBIRD are common here. Interesting endemic species include ACACIA PIED BARBET, FAIRY and FISCAL FLYCATCHERS, KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD. DIDERICK and KLAAS'S CUCKOOS are very active in spring and early summer and larger species include HELMETED GUINEAFOWL, CAPE SPURFOWL and SPOTTED THICK-KNEE. The blue-gum trees towards the racecourse should be scanned for raptors such as AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK SPARROWHAWK have been recorded.
DIRECTIONS: From the N1 take Exit 23 (Durbanville/Bellville). Turn left into Durban Road and pass the Tyger Valley Shopping Centre on the left. Further on the rose garden is also passed on the left. Once the traffic light at an Engen Service Station has been passed, take a slipway to the left into Tindale Way. At the T-junction turn right into Racecourse Road and the entrance to the reserve is 200 metres further on the left.
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Racecourse Road, Durbanville
PHONE: +27 (0)21 979 0060 or +27 (0)21 970 3097
GPS: 33°84'08.72”S 18°64'45.44”E
|African Harrier-Hawk (CM)|
|Spotted Thick-knee (CM)|
|Cape Bulbul (WC)|
EDITH STEPHENS WETLAND RESERVE Show details
Two highly threatened vegetation types, Cape Dune Strandveld and Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, are found in the Edith Stephens Wetland Reserve. A small seasonal wetland supports 7 red data plant species, and about 100 bird species have been recorded. The reserve also supports a large heronry. Features of the reserve include a large flood retention pond with a bird hide, an indigenous plant nursery, and the offices of Cape Flats Nature Conservation and the Primary Schools Science Programme. Edith Stephens Wetland Reserve provides local residents and schools with conservation, recreation and educational opportunities, from teacher workshops to picnics and children’s holiday programmes.
Birds found here regularly include BLACK CRAKE, GREAT CRESTED and LITTLE GREBES, GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE, AFRICAN SNIPE and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN. WHITE-WINGED TERNS are also present seasonally. Species such as LITTLE BITTERN, YELLOW-BILLED EGRET, PURPLE HERON and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON are found in the area around the heronry. Add to this FULVOUS, WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS, as well as SOUTHERN POCHARD.
Terrestrial species recorded include CAPE BUNTING, CAPE SISKIN and ORANGE-BREASTED and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS, while the reeds fringing the ponds could produce AFRICAN REED-WARBLER, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER. Birds of prey include VERREAUX'S EAGLE, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, PEREGRINE FALCON, ROCK KESTREL, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWK.
This highly underrated birdwatching destination certainly deserves more attention from discerning birders. The nearby seasonal Phillipi Wetlands, falling within what is called the Phillipi Horticultural Area, also holds much potential, particularly in late winter and early spring.
DIRECTIONS: Travel south along Vanguard Drive (M7) and take the Landsdowne Road off-ramp to the left. The entrance to the reserve is in Landsdowne Road between Vygekraal Road and Duinefontein Road.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 691 7137
CELL: +27 (0)82 622 0473
|Common Sandpiper (CM)|
|White-faced Ducks (AO)|
|Little Grebe (CM)|
|Cape Teal (AO)|
GREATER ZANDVLEI ESTUARY NATURE RESERVE Show details
The Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve protects the only functioning estuary along the False Bay coast. In addition small areas of Strandveld vegetation occur. The land around Zandvlei was used for cattle farming before the residential areas of Lakeside, Marina da Gama and Steenberg were developed. Most of the natural vegetation around Zandvlei has been destroyed and several agencies are working towards restoring it. Zandvlei is a popular recreational area for water sports and picnics.
The northern part of Zandvlei was initially protected as a bird sanctuary, and in 2006 the Provincial Government increased the size of the nature reserve to 76 hectares. It is now proclaimed as a Local Authority Nature Reserve. Zandvlei has an Environmental Education Centre that is within walking distance from the Steenberg railway station. Learners and the public are exposed to marine, estuarine, freshwater and Strandveld ecosystems all within the immediate area. This is unique when compared to other wetlands in the region, as it is an estuary. The Westlake Wetlands form the upper western reaches of the estuary and are also of interest.
A walk along the trails from Zandvlei's parking area will be rewarded with sightings of a variety of waterbirds such as RED-KNOBBED COOT, GREAT CRESTED and LITTLE GREBES, COMMON MOORHEN and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN, together with most of the ducks to be expected in the region. GIANT, MALACHITE and PIED KINGFISHERS are common and CASPIAN TERN often patrols the waterways. LITTLE EGRET and PURPLE HERON are often recorded here and LITTLE BITTERN, BURCHELL'S COUCAL and WATER THICK-KNEE are more difficult to find. REED and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS and AFRICAN DARTER are numerous and larger species include GREAT WHITE PELICAN, GREATER and LESSER FLAMINGOS (less often) and AFRICAN SPOONBILL. In summer expect to find many of the migratory waders.
The thicket and vegetation along the trail should be scanned for species such as BOKMAKIERIE, KLAAS'S CUCKOO, COMMON FISCAL, CAPE LONGCLAW, SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, CAPE SPARROW, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, COMMON WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and PIN-TAILED WHYDAH. AFRICAN FISH-EAGLES are very active at Zandvlei and several reports descibe them constantly being bombarded by HARTLAUB'S GULLS as they forage across the water. Other bird of prey species have also been recorded, of which PEREGRINE FALCON and AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER are most noteworthy. Vagrant species recorded at Zandvlei in recent years include SQUACCO HERON, AFRICAN JACANA, and KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN.
DIRECTIONS: The entrance to the reserve is off Coniston Avenue, Marina Da Gama. Pass the Nature Conservation Office and Evvironmental Education Centre and continue until the parking area is reached. A variety of trails are available from here.
ADDRESS: Coniston Avenue, Marina Da Gama, Steenberg
PHONE: +27 (0)21 701 7542
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of the Zandvlei Trust help with conservation, education and awareness projects
ENTRANCE FEE: None
|Common Tern (CM)|
|White-winged Tern (CM)|
|Caspian Tern (AO)|
|Malachite Kingfisher (CM)|
- SQUACCO HERON AT ZANDVLEI
- A MORNING AT ZANDVLEI BY MARGARET MCIVER
- A RARE VISITOR TO THE ZANDVLEI ESTUARY NATURE RESERVE
- THE ZANDVLEI ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTRE
- BIRDING ON PARK ISLAND
- INTRODUCTION TO THE ZANDVLEI ENVIRONMENT
- THE FISH EAGLES THAT HUNT AT ZANDVLEI
- KAROO SCRUB-ROBINS MOVE INTO ZANDVLEI
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
RONDEVLEI NATURE RESERVE Show details
Rondevlei Nature Reserve, forming part of the False Bay Nature Reserve, allows for casual birding as the wheelchair-friendly pathways lead from one hide and viewing decks to the other. It is clearly marked and not strenuous at all. A small museum is situated close to the entrance, as well as picnic and public toilet facilities. Boat trips are also available allowing for closer views of the bird colonies on the islands. A small entry fee is charged.
When approaching the vlei a variety of terrestrial species are on view. These could include endemics or near-endemics such as ACACIA PIED BARBET, CAPE BULBUL, CAPE GRASSBIRD, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE SPURFOWL, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, CAPE WHITE-EYE and many more.
Rondevlei is, however, best known for its broad expanse of reed beds and open water in a picturesque setting. The hides and viewing decks are ideally situated to allow for brilliant relaxed birding. The reed beds allow sightings of PURPLE HERON, LESSER SWAMP WARBLER and bishops and weavers. Watch out for BLACK CRAKE, COMMON MOORHEN and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN foraging along the water's edge close to the base of the reeds. Most of the ducks and grebes found in the Cape can be viewed on the open water. GREAT WHITE PELICAN, CASPIAN TERN and WATER THICK-KNEE and several species of ducks, egrets and herons can often be seen resting on the exposed sandbanks. A variety of waders can also be found in summer when water levels are low. The reserve is also known for the huge numbers of swallows, swifts and martins that freaquent the area at this time of year.
More elusive species include LITTLE BITTERN, GOLIATH HERON, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, AFRICAN RAIL and AFRICAN and PAINTED SNIPES. It is also significant that at least 11 species breed here communally, making it one of the most important breeding areas for waterfowl in the region. Add to this raptors such as AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE and AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER that are present for most of the year and PEREGRINE FALCON, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and BLACK and RUFOUS-BREASTED SPARROWHAWKS that are seen fairly regularly. It is little wonder that this reserve with its 225 bird species and hippopotamus population is regarded as one of the prime birding destinations in the Western Cape.
DIRECTIONS: The route to Rondevlei starts with the turn-off to the left into Victoria Avenue off Prince George Drive (M5) when travelling south towards Muizenberg. From here turn right into Fisherman's Walk and the reserve gate is a short distance further on. If travelling north from Muizenberg turn right at the Nando's into 5th Avenue and then right into Perth Road which leads directly to the main gate.
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Cnr of Perth Rd and Fisherman’s Walk, Grassy Park
PHONE: +27 (0)21 706 2404
GPS: 34° 3' 30.40"S 18° 29' 55.25"E
|African Fish-Eagle (LA)|
|Lesser Swamp-Warbler (AO)|
|Black Crake (RM)|
STRANDFONTEIN SEWAGE WORKS Show details
The CAPE FLATS WASTE WATER TREATMENT WORKS, or simply STRANDFONTEIN as it is known to birders, also forms part of the False Bay Nature Reserve. Birding opportunities here are outstanding for novice birdwatchers and serious twitchers alike. Vast numbers of shore and waterbirds are on view. More than 200 species of which 11 are red data species have been recorded here – little wonder that Strandfontein is regarded as one of the top birding destinations in the Western Cape. A further advantage is that a visit can comfortably be combined with birding at the adjacent Rondevlei Nature Reserve. Note, however, that water levels and the number of birds can vary depending on the season and climatic conditions.
Strandfontein features more than 300 hectares of reed-fringed detention ponds and dunes connected by gravel roads that are usually in good condition. This network of tracks might be confusing to the first-time visitor, with the result that the use of a map of the area is strongly advised. Also ensure that the area is left well before dark. In summer the gates are open between 07h00 and 19h00. It is possible to see at least 70 bird species from the comfort of a vehicle during a morning outing to Strandfontein. Photographic opportunities are excellent. A comprehensive description of all the nooks and crannies within the works is not possible and the brief overview given herewith should merely be seen as a guideline to get the most out of birding in the area. Allow at least four hours to bird the works properly.
A variety of bird species are common at Strandfontein throughout the year. These include ducks such as YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, EGYPTIAN and SPUR-WINGED GEESE, CAPE SHOVELER and CAPE and RED-BILLED TEALS, together with birds found closer to the base of the reeds along the water's edge like BLACK CRAKE, COMMON MOORHEN and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN. RED-KNOBBED COOT, HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS and BLACKSMITH LAPWING are plentiful, as are BLACK-HEADED, GREY and PURPLE HERONS, all three ibises, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and CASPIAN TERN. Large flocks of PIED AVOCET and GREATER FLAMINGOS are found seasonally and many BLACK-WINGED STILTS are present throughout the year.
Strandfontein also hosts a diversity of terrestrial species and most of the region's doves and sparrows are to be found in the vegetation around the ponds. LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, COMMON FISCAL, BROWN-THROATED MARTIN and COMMON WAXBILL are very common and the reeds and fynbos remnants fringing the ponds should be searched for LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER.
The summer months see a huge influx of migrants and most of the region's martins, swallows and swifts, as well as waders are usually present in vast numbers. Look out for WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS breeding under the culverts and BARN SWALLOWS, which are particularly abundant. Large numbers of waders can be present when conditions are favourable for foraging and roosting. Recent highlights included sightings of SAND MARTIN and PECTORAL SANDPIPER. WHITE-WINGED TERNS are seen occationally, but COMMON, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS are most abundant at this time of year.
Birding at Strandfontein starts along the access road to the works itself. ZITTING CISTICOLA, FORK-TAILED DRONGO and BLACK-HEADED HERON are common along here and JACKAL and STEPPE BUZZARD (summer), AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE and BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE often perch in the trees. The two pans that are passed after the environmental centre can often be very productive. Upon entering the Strandfontein Works travel towards the plant buildings with pan 7 (P7) on the left and pan 6 (P6) on the right. BLACK-NECKED and GREAT CRESTED GREBES, MACCOA DUCK, SOUTHERN POCHARD and CAPE TEAL are often present in good numbers on P7. Also look out for HOTTENTOT TEAL that occur here occasionally. Large numbers of PIED AVOCET, GREATER FLAMINGO and BLACK-WINGED STILT are often present on P6. In summer the area around pans 6 and 7 supports many waders.
Turn right at the Plant buildings and pass the control boom with P6 to the right and P5 to the left. The smaller reed-fringed pond at the beginning of this stretch of road often produces SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL, PURPLE HERON, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and WATER THICK-KNEE and GREATER STRIPED SWALLOW in summer. Turn left at the centre of the 'wagonwheel', now travelling with P5 to the left and P4 to the right. Several duck species are usually on view along P5, together with LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER within the reeds. MACCOA DUCK, GREATER FLAMINGO, BLACK-NECKED GREBE and GREAT WHITE PELICAN often feature on P4.
Turn left at the end of this road and circle the northern and eastern sides of settling pond 7 (S7). Target species here include PIED AVOCET, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE and HOTTENTOT TEALS. Continue down the road separating S6 to the left and S7 to the right. Ducks and grebes are common in this area. Also keep in mind that S8 often hold large numbers of PIED AVOCET and GREATER FLAMINGO. Several reports of MOCCOA DUCK and HOTTENTOT TEAL have been received from this stretch and the reeds are very good for warblers. Also be on the lookout for AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER.
Now travel towards the coast with S5 on the left and S4 on the right and then travel west alongside Baden Powell Drive along a road that could be rather sandy at times. Caution is advised here. Several settling ponds should be scanned to the north (right) as AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER is often present. In summer the latter species can often be seen in very large roosts together with SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS. Martins, swallows and swifts are abundant along this road at this time of year. This stretch is also very rewarding for waders such as KITTLITZ'S and WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, WOOD SANDPIPER and LITTLE STINT. Check the road verges for CAPE LONGCLAW and AFRICAN PIPIT. A pair of SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL has been resident along these dunes for a long time.
Turn north along the road that transects S2 to the right and S1 to the left and then return to the plant buildings with P3 to the right and P2 to the left. P2 can be very productive and often features large tern roosts and a good variety of waders in summer if conditions are favourable. Notable species to look for along here include WHITE-FACED DUCK, PURPLE HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, CAPE SHOVELER, AFRICAN SPOONBILL and WATER THICK-KNEE.
Birds of prey are also well represented at Strandfontein and a casual overview of trip reports reveal species such as JACKAL and STEPPE BUZZARDS, PEREGRINE FALCON, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, AFRICAN MARSH HARRIER, BLACK-SHOULDERED and YELLOW-BILLED KITES (summer) and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS.
Vagrants and other species reported include BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, BLACK-HEADED and FRANKLIN’S GULLS, GOLIATH HERON, SAND MARTIN, AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, RUFOUS-TAILED SCRUB-ROBIN, BLACK TERN and YELLOW WAGTAIL. A TEMMINCK'S STINT, the first birds of the species to be seen in South Africa for more than 25 years caused a sensation in birding circles in November 2016.
DIRECTIONS: Strandfontein lies southeast of the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. From Cape Town travel along the N2 following the signs to the Cape Town International Airport. Turn left onto the M5 to Muizenberg and follow this freeway until the Ottery Road turn-off is reached and turn left here. Continue along this road to the intersection with Strandfontein Road (M17). Turn right into Strandfontein Road and continue until the sign for Zeekoevlei is reached. Turn right into Zeekoevlei Road through the blue-gum trees. Follow the road past the Cape Peninsula Aquatic Club and into the Strandfontein Waste Water Treatment Works. From Muizenberg travel east along Baden Powell Road and turn left into Strandfontein Road (M17). Travel further along this road until the Zeekoevlei Road turn-off is reached on the left.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 396 4283
EMERGENCY: +27 (0)83 499 1717
CONSERVATION MANAGER: +27 (0)21 396 4283
GPS COORDINATES: 34° 4' 45.89"S 18° 31' 10.15"E
|Waterbirds everywhere (MM)|
|View towards the Hottentots Holland mountains (CC)|
|Western Osprey (CM)|
|Red-billed Teal (CM)|
- SEVEN DAYS BIRDSEEKERS TOUR OF THE WESTERN CAPE (INCLUDING A VISIT TO STRANDFONTEIN)
- CITRINE WAGTAIL AT STRANDFONTEIN
- CAPE BIRDING ROUTE: DESCRIPTION OF STRANDFONTEIN BIRDING
- TEMMINCK'S STINT AT STRANDFONTEIN
- THE FIRST EVER RUFOUS-TAILED SCRUB-ROBIN IN SA
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- BIRD LIST FOR STRANDFONTEIN
- GUIDELINES WHEN VISITING STRANDFONTEIN
PAARDEVLEI Show details
Paardevlei forms part of the old AE&CI factory property and there is currently uncertainty regarding access and developments around the site. It is on the western side of the Lourens River Estuary and in close proximity to the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary. It is undoubtedly worth a visit as large numbers of waterfowl occur here seasonally. Hundreds of GREATER FLAMINGO can often be found, with LESSER FLAMINGO occuring less often. MACCOA DUCK, SOUTHERN POCHARD, CAPE SHOVELER and all three teals are often recorded, as are BLACK-NECKED, GREAT CRESTED and LITTLE GREBES. It is suspected that WHISKERED TERNS breed here, WHITE-WINGED TERNS have been recorded and a pair of BLUE CRANES is even seen at times. Large numbers of swallows, swifts and martins and good numbers of waders are present in summer and the usual bishops, cisticolas, waxbills, weavers and so on are on display. Raptors could include JACKAL BUZZARD, ROCK KESTREL and BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE. A trail can be followed around most of the vlei and from the parking area it is possible to scan most of the water mass with a spotting scope. This site should not be underestimated as it allows comfortable access to a wide selection of waterfowl and other species. Bird hides would be of great advantage at this location and apparently the development of is being considered.
DIRECTIONS: Leaving from the Somerset Mall: Get back onto the R44, in the direction The Strand. At the first traffic lights just beyond the mall boundary where De Beers Road joins the R44 from the left, turn right into the AE&CI property, known as 'HEARTLAND', and approach the booms about 100 metres further on. Entry is controlled, but easy and the parking area is on the right some 500 metres down the road. Cheetah Outreach offers some parking, but just beyond that group of buildings a small road, not very obvious, leads off to the right. At the parking space some 100 metres along this road, and at the edge of the vlei, there are open views of the vlei and virtually the whole surface can be scoped.
Contact Duncan and Ines Cooke of the Somerset West Bird Club
PHONE: +27 (0)83 453 0038
|African Reed-Warbler (AO)|
|Common Ringed Plover (AO)|
|Cape Longclaw (CM)|
|Eurasian Curlew (CM)|
- BIRDING AT PAARDEVLEI
- BIRDING PAARDEVLEI AND MACASSAR (22 FEBRUARY 2014)
- BIRDING AT PAARDEVLEI
- WINTER BIRDING - HELDERBERG AREA
- MORE ON HEARTLAND PROJECT
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB AT PAARDEVLEI - JULY 2014
- REPORT ON THE HEARTLAND PROJECT AT PAARDEVLEI - OCT 2014
- THE HEARTLAND PROJECT REPORT - SEP TO DEC 2014
DICK DENT BIRD SANCTUARY Show details
The Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary used to be an old wastewater treatment works that is now home to many coastal and wetland birds. It is managed by Cape Town City Parks and forms part of the Lourens River Protected Natural Environment. Members of the Somerset West Bird Club regularly visit the area and undertake monthly bird counts. The sanctuary is about 10 hectares in extent, contains six ponds and is in close proximity to the Lourens River estuary where the well-known summer tern roost is located. The control of reeds and grass lands is being studied to maintain Dick Dent's value as a sanctuary for birds.
Most birds are to be found at the largest pond on the western side of the sanctuary. Upon entering the sanctuary at the pedestrian gate, follow the track, parallel to the river, until some steps to the right becomes visible. These lead to the bird hide. Be on the lookout for species such as CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE WEAVER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER. From here, follow the path beyond the hide until the main central track is reached. There are ponds on either side of this track and a line of ironwood and other trees should be investigated as raptors seen here include PEREGRINE FALCON, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK SPARROWHAWK. Also look for BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON.
Carry on until a fairly steep embankment is reached on the left. This is a good viewing spot overlooking the largest pond. Visitors are free to walk along any of the berms to explore all parts of the sanctuary. Wetland birds abound here and can include BLACK CRAKE, AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, HARTLAUB'S GULL, GIANT, MALACHITE and PIED KINGFISHERS, CAPE SHOVELER, AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN and SWIFT TERN. The sanctuary also produced some Western Cape specials such as FULVOUS DUCK, AFRICAN JACANA and RED-BACKED SHRIKE in the past. It is certainly one of the best birding destinations in the Helderberg basin. The current list of birds recorded stands at 162 species.
DIRECTIONS: The Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary can be reached from the N2 by either driving towards the Strand along Broadway Boulevard (R44), or by taking Victoria Road from Somerset West towards the Strand. Care should be taken at the intersection of these two roads. Carry on straight through the intersection (if approaching on the R44 from the west, turn tight at the lights), then immediately left on to the grass track, parallel to the fence, towards the river. Park near the pedestrian gate. No entrance fee applies.
Contact John Clements of the Somerset West Bird Club
PHONE: +27 (0)21 850 2216
GPS: 34°09'83.01”S 18°82'38.47”E
|Pied Avocet (JW)|
|Common Greenshank (AO)|
|Yellow-billed Duck (AO)|
|Cape Shovelers (RM)|
HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE Show details
The Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West has for many years been regarded as one of the most popular birding destinations in the Western Cape. The reserve features a diversity of habitats, dominated by sprawling mature fynbos. The central area allows access to parking, picnic sites (no braai facilities), a restaurant, herbarium and information centre and indigenous nursery, as well as an evironmental education centre.
This area with its large trees should be scanned for most of the common garden birds associated with the area and species such as BAR-THROATED APALIS, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, CAPE SPURFOWL, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED and MALACHITE SUNBIRDS are easily found. The duck pond is just beyond the restaurant and most of the common waterbirds (coots, ducks, geese, moorhen and even BLACK CRAKE) can be studied there, and there are occasional sightings of PURPLE HERON and MALACHITE KINGFISHER. In addition, a vagrant GREEN-BACKED HERON was found here some time ago! Several lily ponds with convenient benches are located a bit further on towards the mountain, and these, together with the thickets along the streams, also need to be investigated. Look out for CAPE BATIS, FAIRY FLYCATCHER and SOMBRE GREENBUL, as well as AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER in summer.
Several hiking trails of varying length are available and the higher sections of the one leading up to Disa Gorge have in the past yielded BLACK CUCKOOSHRIKE, BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD, LESSER HONEYGUIDE, YELLOW-THROATED WOODLAND-WARBLER and OLIVE WOODPECKER. The rocky slopes below the mountain can produce GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, as well as CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES.
The reserve is also known for its raptors: FOREST and JACKAL BUZZARDS, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, as well as BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS are found regularly and sightings of BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and BLACK HARRIER are occasionally reported. A vagrant LONG-CRESTED EAGLE has also been spotted. (These sightings may become more unusual with the progressive removal of the alien pine forests).
The Helderberg Nature Reserve's reputation as a top birding destination, however, revolves around the ease with which most of the 'fynbos specials' can be found. Aim for PROTEA SEEDEATER and CAPE SISKIN in the taller plants along the streams. CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD are most active when they breed between April and August and in recent years AMETHYST SUNBIRD has also been found. Listen for the call of VICTORIN'S WARBLER along the upper streams between August and October.
The Helderberg Nature Reserve represents one of the best opportunities for birding that the Western Cape has to offer in a relatively small area and is certainly worth visiting.
A small entrance fee applies. Visitors are required to take away with all the rubbish they bring in – there are no bins in the reserve.
DIRECTIONS: The location is in Verster Avenue, Somerset West – to get there from the N2 take the R44 turning towards Stellenbosch, then turn right into Main Road. At the fourth Traffic light turn left into Lourensford Road, then after about 2 km, left again into Hillcrest Road. At the 4-way stop (0,9 km) turn right and then left at the next 4-way stop into Verster Avenue. Follow Verster Avenue to the reserve gate.
PHONE: +27 (0)21 851 6982 (Reserve Management)
+27 (0)21 851 4060 (Information Centre)
GPS: 34°06'25”S 18°87'22”E
|Amethyst Sunbird (RM)|
|Greater Double-collared Sunbird (MCB)|
|Cape Rock-Thrush female (CM)|
|Peregrine Falcon (CM)|
- BLO AT HELDERBERG NR 2015
- BIRDING REPORT FROM HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE
- TYGERBERG BIRD CLUB AT HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE (AFRIKAANS)
- MORNING OUTING TO HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE: APRIL 2010
- MORNING OUTING TO HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE: MARCH 2005
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB AT VERGELEGEN ESTATE
- TBC AT HELDERBERG NR 2014
SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB Show details
The main activities are:-
Well attended evening meetings with interesting and popular talks on local and international subjects. We meet at 20h00 in the Somerset West Library Hall on the first Thursday of every month. Visitors are always welcome.
Monthly outings to birding locations under a guide to organize and help newer birders. Most outings are to local places of birding interest.
Also a short afternoon outing is held on the second Saturday of every month to the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary.
The Batis is a popular and informative Club magazine published quarterly in either hard copy or e-mailed formats, which includes forthcoming club activities and articles of local birding interest. An e-mail advisory system is used for quick and short communications to members.
An important sector for the Club activities is to support conservation especially in bird related issues in and near the Helderberg basin. The Somerset West Bird Club was a founder member of the Western Cape Birding Forum, which under the sponsorship of Birdlife South Africa coordinates Western Cape Bird Clubs and regional birding activities and conservation programmes.
The Somerset West Bird Club is working actively with the Cape Town City Parks Department to revive the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary as a worthwhile birding conservation site and a small wetland which is attractive for local and visiting birders. The Bird Rehabilitation Centre is also supported by the Club.
The Somerset West Bird Club was also the founder of the Helderberg Environmental and Educational Project which finances transport for less privileged school children to visit and enjoy bird and wildlife educational programmes at the Helderberg Nature Reserve.
The Club has a strong Committee which meets regularly to manage the Club activities and finances. Enquiries regarding membership, activities or advertising in the Batis are welcomed. Please contact:-
- Brian Dennis, Chairman. Tel 021 855 3945, 083 458 3806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sakkie Krynauw, Treasurer and Membership. 021 852 3613, 082 904 5363 or email@example.com
- Melanie Britz, Secretary, 021 852 3613, 082 706 4342 or Melanie1.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bryan Butler, Batis Editor, 021 851 6707, 082 957 7448 or email@example.com .
The Club postal address is PO Box 394, Somerset Mall 7137
|Logo bird: Cape Batis (AO)|
|White-rumped Swift (CM)|
|Cape Sugarbird (AO)|
|Orange-breasted Sunbird (AO)|
SIR LOWRYS PASS Show details
SIR LOWRY’S PASS has long been recognised as one of the top birding spots in the Western Cape. However, a stern warning is necessary before continuing: the site is reached from the parking area at the lookout point at the summit of the pass. The N2 has to be crossed on foot and there is a very dangerous blind corner at this point. It should also be mentioned that birdwatchers have been mugged at this spot recently and birding in groups is advised.
It is recommended that access to the Sir Lowry's Pass site be gained by driving past the view site, turning left opposite the entrance to the Steenbras Dam, and parking at the gate. (34° 09' 00.61”S 18° 56' 03.57”E). A walk along the railway line, or along a broad gravel track just to the west of the railway line often produces VICTORIN'S WARBLER. Also look for this elusive bird in the thicket along the stream beneath the powerlines further on along the gravel track. The rocky terrain to the left of the track and up towards the summit of Kanonkop is ideal habitat for CAPE ROCK-JUMPER. The Sir Lowry's Pass site is regarded as one of the best places to look for these two hugely sought-after species.
Other breathtaking species to be found include CAPE ROCK-THRUSH, SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSH (not too regularly), CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and GROUND WOODPECKER. More common birds include YELLOW BISHOP, FAMILIAR CHAT, GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, CAPE GRASSBIRD, NEDDICKY and KAROO PRINIA. STRIPED FLUFFTAIL has been recorded in the area along the railway line, but it is almost impossible to find this species in daytime. Raptors that are encountered regularly include JACKAL BUZZARD, ROCK KESTREL and PEREGRINE FALCON. BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and RED-CHESTED SPARROWHAWK are less common at this site and BLACK HARRIER has been recorded on the odd occasion. Sir Lowry's Pass site remains one of the top destinations to search for several of the Western Cape's special birds, but extreme caution is advised when birding in the area.
From Sir Lowry’s Pass the N2 continues eastwards, taking birders to many of the diverse birding hotspots of the Overberg and the Garden Route. Consult the web pages for these two regions on this website for detailed information on many of the top birding destinations in the Western Cape.
PARKING AREA: 34° 08' 58.82”S 18° 55' 41.02” E
GATE ACROSS FROM STEENBRAS DAM ENTRANCE: 34° 09' 00.61”S 18° 56' 03.57”E
|BirdLife Overberg birders (AO)|
|Cape Sugarbird (AO)|
|Cape Rock-jumper (AO)|
|Cape Rock-Thrush male (AO)|
- VICTORIN'S WARBLER AT SIR LOWRY'S PASS
- BIRDING AT SIR LOWRY'S PASS
- BIRDING IN THE OVERBERG REGION OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
- BIRDING IN THE GARDEN ROUTE AND KLEIN KAROO REGIONS OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
- CAUTION ADVISED WHEN BIRDING AT SIR LOWRY'S PASS
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD LOCATED
STEENBRAS NATURE RESERVE AND KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE Show details
The Steenbras Nature Reserve and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve both fall within the boundaries of the City of Cape Town, but are unfortunately relatively inaccessible from a birdwatching perspective. The R44, a scenic mountain drive from Gordon’s Bay to the Overberg, is one of the most spectacular coastal routes in the world, and takes visitors past the Steenbras Nature Reserve and the large Kogelberg Nature Reserve. The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve itself is fynbos dominated and 1 600 plant species have been identified within the reserve. Little wonder that it is the first such UNESCO designated reserve in South Africa.
The R44 leads to some of the top birding destinations in the Overstrand local municipal region, now referred to as the CAPE WHALE COAST. Three of these destinations are very close to the City of Cape Town and deserve investigation by avid birdwatchers. The famous ROOIELS site (34˚18’28.23”S 18˚49’03.86”E) presents many endemic species usually associated with fynbos habitats and here CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD, VICTORIN'S WARBLER and GROUND WOODPECKER should be mentioned. A very exciting site where most of the endemics associated with the Benguela current could be found is STONY POINT in Betty's Bay. (34˚22’26.58”S 18˚53’46.72”E). Expect to find BANK, CAPE AND CROWNED CORMORANTS here. The breeding colony of AFRICAN PENGUIN however dominates this hugely underrated site. The HAROLD PORTER NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS (34˚21’08.89”S 18˚55’37.74”E) is in close proximity and brings a different suite of birds associated with forest and mountain habitats into play. A visit to these three sites is strongly advised as essentially it offers a thorough summary of some of the best birding that the Cape Town region has to offer.
In-depth descriptions of these site are available under the CAPE WHALE COAST section of the OVERBERG BIRDING ROUTES at the following link:
KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE CONTACT DETAILS
PHONE: +27 (0)21 856 5605
|Cape Rock-jumper (CM)|
|Yellow Bishop (RM)|
|Cape Grassbird (AO)|
- BIRDS OF THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE
- DRAFT KOGELBELBERG BIOSPHERE MANAGEMENT PLAN: 2011
- BIRDING AFRICA DAY TRIP REPORT IN THE HOTTENTOT'S HOLLAND REGION
- CAPE WHALE COAST BIRDING
- CAPE ROCK-JUMPERS AT ROOIELS ON 1 JANUARY 2014
- IN SEARCH OF THE LOST ROCK-JUMPER & RED DIZAS
- ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB AT STEENBRAS DAM
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details
Members of BirdLife Overberg have provided the text for these birdfinder descriptions for the City of Cape Town region. BirdLife Overberg was formed with the following aims in mind:
- To allow people in the Overberg with an interest in birds to become involved in bird-watching by participating in the typical activities associated with BirdLife South Africa and its international partners;
- To place strong emphasis on educational programmes in order to get participants involved in the meaningful conservation of birds and their habitats;
- To market the Overberg as a top birding destination, thus contributing to the region's already impressive tourism infrastructure.
Further information on birding along the Cape Whale Coast and the activities of BirdLife Overberg can be obtained from:
MOBILE: +27 (0)82 550 3347 or +27 (0)82 455 8402
CLUB WEBSITE: http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/overberg/clubs.php?cid=1&clubpage=news
The members of BirdLife Overberg would like to thank and congratulate WESGRO for the wonderful initiative of sponsoring the development of this web page. The hope is expressed that this page will contribute to the further development of the City of Cape Town as one of the top birdwatching and ecotourism destinations in Southern Africa.
The following individuals and organisations are thanked for having produced earlier material describing the birding delights of the Cape Town region. Many of these publications and websites were used extensively during the background research phase of this project:
BirdLife South Africa Avi-tourism web pages
Cape Bird Club website
Patrick Cardwell of Avian Leisure
City of Cape Town Nature Reserves publication
Callan Cohen of Birding Africa
Bryn de Kocks of the Somerset West Bird Club
Trevor Hardaker of Zest for Birds
Mel Tripp of the Cape Bird Club
Several individuals scrutinised and commented on the text of specific sections of this web page and we express our sincere appreciation to them:
Trevor Hardaker of ZEST FOR BIRDS
Sally Joan Hey
The following photographers are thanked for the use of their images:
BIRDLIFE OVERBERG MEMBERS:
GA: Craig Adam
LA: Louis Alberts
MCB: MC Botha
CC: Chris Cheetham
WC: Wilfred Crous
MG: Mike Graham
CG: Christine Griffiths
IG: Ingrid Grundlingh
CM: Carin Malan
DM: Dawid Malan
RM: Richard Masson
CN: Charles Naude
AO: Anton Odendal
EO: Elaine Odendal
BZ: Bob Zylstra
JF: Jan Fourie (Lakes Bird Club)
MM: Margaret McIver
The late Basie van Zyl
RW: Ross Wannless (BirdLife South Africa)