Birding Routes

Birds and birding in the central Karoo region Show details

The Central Karoo district municipal region is generally regarded as an arid wasteland to be driven through extremely fast when travelling between Cape Town and Gauteng. There is though a growing awareness of the vast tourism potential of the region. Think of the spectacular landscapes and sunsets, unique guest farms, Karoo mutton – the list goes on. One of the region’s little known assets is the diversity of species found here. Conservation International has proclaimed just two botanical Biodiversity Hotspots in Southern Africa, the Cape Floral Kingdom and the Succulent Karoo. Both of these unique plant kingdoms are well represented in the region. The Succulent Karoo region boasts several unique bird species, such as Cinnamon-breasted and Rufous-eared Warblers, Karoo and Tractrac Chats, Karoo and Karoo Long-billed Larks and Karoo and Yellow-bellied Eremomelas. The Cape Floral Kingdom, found along the Swartberg Mountains, hosts a diverse range of sought-after endemic bird species such as Cape Sugarbird, Protea Seedeater, Cape Rock-jumper, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Victorin’s Warbler. There is a wonderful variety of birds of prey and after good rains exciting water birds can also be found. 

This birding brochure, developed by Anton Odendal on behalf of BirdLife Overberg, and sponsored by the Cape Town Routes Unlimited, introduces visitors to some of the special birds of the region, and describes locations where they can be found. The reference numbers on the map are reflected in both the text and index. Both GPS reference points and the contact details of tourism offices are provided. More comprehensive descriptions are regularly updated on the Birding Routes section of the Karoo Birding Route web pages ( The brochure places strong emphasis on the Karoo National Park as the ‘flagship birding destination’ of the Karoo but also describes birding along the N1 freeway. Several other entry points into the Karoo are described to assist visitors to gain easier access to the region in order to experience the unique birds of the Karoo. 

NOTE: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this brochure, the members of BirdLife Overberg, Cape Town Routes Unlimited and/or the Central Karoo District Municipality can not be held responsible for any omissions or errors, or any misfortune, injury or damages that may arise there from.

Endemic and other special birds of the Karoo Show details

The Karoo National Park Show details

Cape Town to Beaufort West Show details

Birding at Beaufort West and surroundings Show details

From Beaufort West to the North Show details

Tanqua National Park Show details

The Tanqua Karoo to Sutherland and beyond Show details

Seweweeksport to Laingsburg Show details

The Swartberg Pass Show details

From Meiringsport to Prince Albert Show details

Prince Albert and surroundings Show details

The Karoo plains to the east of Beaufort West Show details

Murraysburg and surroundings Show details