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

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


To the north-east of VREDENDAL (S31º 39’52.00” E18º 30’21.03”) lies VANRHYNSDORP, (S31º 36’40.36” E18º 44’24.88”) where a tourist information hub is available. From here the N7 leads to Namibia, but many Western Cape birders also take the R27 for birding excursions to the Augrabies National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Beyond the Vanrhyns Pass, with magnificent views over the Knersvlakte, are NIEUWOUDTVILLE (S31º 22’35.31” E19º 06’45.34”) and the OORLOGSKLOOF NATURE RESERVE, (S31º 27’40.25” E19º 04’33.63”) which lie in the Northern Cape Province. A visit here is strongly recommended. Nieuwoudtville is world renowned for its flowering bulbs during spring, and Oorlogskloof offers hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty. The deep ravines formed by the river lie on the transition zone between fynbos and Karoo biomes, and are recommended for a visit by anyone interested in birds, plants and astonishing landscapes.

The KNERSVLAKTE is in the extreme north of the Western Cape Province and is in the centre of the semi-desert Succulent Karoo Biome. It is home to a third of the world’s dwarf succulents, which contains the largest population of endangered plant species. We spent a few days at LANKVERWACHT GUESTFARM (S31º 30’18.24” E18º 54’57.49”) along the R27 on the edge of the Knersvlakte between Vanrhynsdorp and Nieuwoudtville. This is an ideal spot to experience this part of the Karoo firsthand. The self-catering cottages are well appointed, and there were Rock Martins and Grey Tits breeding on the patio, with Freckled Nightjars calling at night.

We found Ant-eating, Familiar, Karoo, Sickle-winged and Tractrac Chats, as well as Capped and Mountain Wheatears. To these were added Cape Clapper, Karoo, Large-billed, Red-capped and Spike-heeled Larks and Grey-backed Sparrowlark. Of all the places that we visited, this is one of the best places to study LBJ’s.

The Acacia dominated river courses and drainage lines produced Acacia Pied Barbet, Bokmakierie, Cape and Red-eyed Bulbuls, Long-billed Crombec, Fairy Flycatcher, Red-faced, Speckled and White-backed Mousebirds and Chestnut-vented and Layard’s Tit-Babblers.

The dams in the area also host a good selection of waterfowl, most notably Maccoa and Yellow-billed Duck, SA Shelduck and Cape Shoveler. Waders regularly include Pied Avocet, Three-banded Plover and Black-winged Stilt.

Ludwig’s Bustard and Karoo Korhaan were seen a few times, and raptors included Jackal Buzzard, Verreaux’s Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, African Harrier Hawk, Greater and Rock Kestrels and Secretarybird. Birding here is simply superb!