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: 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


Once the Lower Berg River Wetlands at Velddrif are reached, the first birding hotspot along the R399 is DE PLAAT. (S32º 48’05.62” E18º 12’53.45”) These mudflats are ideal for viewing waders and is best visited 3.5 hours after high tide, or 1 hour after low tide in Table Bay.

This Important Bird Area (IBA SA 104) stretches from Cloeteskraal and Kruispad in the east, Varkvlei in the south, and the salt-pans along the R27, towards Dwarskersbos in the north. 127 waterbird species and 93 terrestrial species have been recorded here. These include 25 species of national importance and at least 5 Red Data listed species. An application for this wetland system to be awarded RAMSAR status is being considered. The area of the Lower Berg River which includes a variety of habitat types is well known as a hotspot for rarities.

Excellent birding is to be had at various spots along the river. The estuary is saline and tidal, and interesting at all tidal stages. Between October and April many migratory waders visit the area. It has been shown that the mud banks along the river support the highest diversity of waders along the Atlantic seaboard.

The next site to be visited after De Plaat is Bokkom Alley, which is clearly signposted along the R399. A stopover at the traditional fishing businesses is worthwhile. Birding here can be superb, and birds seen here regularly include Great White Pelican and Giant, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers. Birds can be viewed throughout the year from the area which overlooks the inter-tidal mud flats and salt marshes towards the Riviera Hotel. Look out for Pied Avocet, African Darter, several egrets, Black-headed, Grey and Purple Herons, African Spoonbill, and in summer, vast numbers of waders. Common Greenshank, Grey Plover, Ruff, Curlew and Marsh Sandpipers, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone and Common Whimbrel are but a few of the species that can easily be observed and photographed here. Rarities found here in the past include Black-tailed and Hudsonian Godwit, Little Blue Heron, Common Redshank and Lesser Yellowlegs.

The R27 ROAD BRIDGE (S32º 47’19.04” E18º 10’07.91”) (Carinus Bridge) can offer outstanding birding opportunities, although one cannot stop here safely, and it is best to bird on foot. Large numbers of Lesser and Greater Flamingos overwinter here, Black-necked Grebes are often particularly numerous, as are Caspian and Swift Terns.

Two birding sites on the southern side of the Berg River and the Carinus bridge need to be highlighted. FLAMINKEVLEI ‘A’ (S32º 47’56.88” E18º 09’14.76”) is reached from the R199 to Vredenburg. It features a mixed heronry in the blue gum trees between July and December. During spring African Sacred Ibis breed on the islands, and Swift Terns do so in summer. African Marsh-Harrier and Marsh Owls often fly over the reed beds towards evening.

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