The West Coast Flamingo Birding Route is one of six birding routes in the Western Cape province being developed under the auspices of BirdLife South Africa's Avitourism division. It stretches from Cape Town on the R27 coastal road northwards along the Atlantic seaboard to the mouth of the Olifants River, westward into the hinterland including the Cederberg Mountains and then turns southward along the N7 highway back to Cape Town. The route has been divided in five sections for ease of reference.
A visit to the Cape West Coast of South Africa represents a celebration of diversity of peoples, landscapes, culinary delights, internationally recognized wetlands and spectacular wildflower displays. This arid region offers splendid white beaches and coastal plains dominated by strandveld fynbos studded with picturesque granite outcrops. Inland, the Cederberg is recognised as the best example of the rugged and unique Cape Fold Mountains. The tourism infrastructure is well developed with quaint seaside fishing villages and inland country towns. The area is well known for its “salt of the earth” unpretentious locals, exquisite cuisine and fine award-winning local wines. Tourist attractions vary from famous eco-tourism destinations such as the West Coast Fossil Park, the West Coast National Park, Penquin Island and the Berg River and Olifants river estuaries, through to upmarket facilities such as Club Mykonos, Paternoster and Port Owen.
The West Coast has a number of different eco-systems and offers the enthusiast the opportunity of birding in mountain, coastal, sandveld and estuarine habitats. The entire region offers excellent birding opportunities for local and international birders.The region is blessed with an abundance of birding “hotspots” that include eight Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) and two internationally protected wetlands registered as RAMSAR sites.
Birders will delight in the many special and endemic birds, including the Blue Crane, Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Penduline Tit, Protea Seedeater, Cape Siskin and Cape Rockjumper. These terrestrial species are often overlooked as the West Coast has the reputation for being the home of rare, migrating waders during summer. Here “mythical” names such as Common Redshank, Pectoral and Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope and Dunlin spring to mind.