Birding Routes

Introducing the Flamingo Birding Route Show details

Birds and Birding along the West Coast Show details

The West Coast National Park: Geelbek and Surrounds Show details


The WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK (S33º 14’643” E18º 12’145”) is an Important Bird Area (SA 105) and a RAMSAR site. The Park includes the beach and dune land between the villages of YZERFONTEIN and LANGEBAAN, the beautiful lagoon and the Saldanha Bay Islands. More than 300 bird species have been identified here, and the Park is probably best known for the thousands of migratory waders in summer. Terrestrial birding should, however, not be underestimated. The Rhenosterveld (a type of fynbos) of the Park represents of the last large remnants of this habitat type, and hosts good numbers of the vulnerable Black Harrier. Other sought-after species include White-throated Canary, Grey-winged Francolin, Karoo Lark, White-backed Mousebird, Karoo Prinia, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Grey Tit and many more.

Birding around the Geelbek area is superb. The TWO GEELBEK HIDES (S33º 11’417” E18º 07’477”) are situated in close proximity to the historic GEELBEK HOMESTEAD AND RESTAURANT. (S33º 11’43.22” E18º 07’23.15”) These hides overlook salt marshes and mudflats and are the best spots to view waders. The hides are best visited at ebb tide - four and a half hours after high tide and two hours after low tide in Table Bay. Do not underestimate the boardwalks to these hides, as these offer very good birding and photographic opportunities. In summer expect to find Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Greenshank, Red Knot, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Ruff, Sanderling, Curlew and Marsh Sandpipers, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone and Common Whimbrel. Special birds seen here in recent years include Common Redshank, Terek Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers and Black Tern. Look out for resident species such as African Fish-Eagle, Greater Flamingo, Purple Heron, African Marsh-Harrier, Osprey, Great White Pelican, Kittlitz’s Plover, African Spoonbill and African Purple Swamphen. Also take a fifteen minutes walk from the homestead to the TWO HIDES IN THE SALT MARSHES (S33º 12’21.69” E18º 07’24.50”) where the waders go when it is high tide at the two Geelbek hides. This can be very rewarding, with interesting birds along the way.

The area at and around the trees leading to the Geelbek homestead brings another suite of species into play: look out for Cape Batis, African Hoopoe, Rock Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Longclaw, Cape Penduline Tit and Cardinal Woodpecker. It is also worthwhile to take in tea or lunch at the homestead, as a variety of garden birds is on offer here: Yellow Bishop, Cape Bunting, Rock Martin, Wattled Starling, Cape Wagtail, Cape Weaver and the usual doves and sparrows are often plentiful.

This panel clearly emphasizes that the diversity of species to be found within walking distance of the Geelbek homestead is simply outstanding, making this one of the main birding hotspots in the Western Cape Province. It is worth participating in the annual ‘Wader Bash’ that is presented here by the SANParks Honorary Rangers. 

The West Coast National Park: The Outlying Areas Show details

The Swartland Local Municipal Region: Malmesbury, Hopefield and Moorreesburg Show details

The Swartland Local Municipal Region: Darling and Yzerfontein Show details

The Saldanha Bay Local Municipal Region: Langebaan and Surrounds Show details

Saldanha Bay Local Municipal Region: Saldanha to Velddrif Show details

The Berg River Local Municipal Region: Porterville to Velddrif Show details

The Berg River Local Municipal Region: The Lower Berg River Wetlands Show details

The Berg River Local Municipal Region: Laaiplek & Rocherpan Show details

The Cederberg Local Municipal Area: Cederberg Wilderness Area Show details

The Cederberg Local Municipal Area: Citrusdal to Verlorenvlei & Elandsbaai Show details

Cederberg Local Municipal Area: Clanwilliam to Lambert Show details

The Matzikama Local Municipal Region: Olifants River Estuary Show details

The Matzikama Local Municipal Region: Vanrhynsdorp and the Knersvlakte Show details