Birding Routes

BIRDING IN THE WITZENBERG REGION - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL SPECIES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details

THE MOUNTAIN PASSES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 1 - GENERAL INTRODUCTION Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 2 - THE TWEE JONGEGEZELLEN ROAD Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 3 - THE THEUNISKRAAL ROAD Show details


THE THEUNISKRAAL ROAD ENDING AT THE FOOT OF THE WINTERHOEK MOUNTAINS
This road meanders north from the village towards the mesmerizing Winterhoek Mountains. (Exit the town from Van Der Stel Street). It is highly recommended as it passes through a number of different habitat types, which result in a plethora of birds. Extensive vineyards and orchards are interspersed by streams and lush vegetation, of which mature trees with their associated forest species dominate. The TAMBOURINE DOVE, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS are present. The AFRICAN BLACK DUCK is frequently seen in the rapidly flowing sections of rivers and look out for the HAMERKOP, GREY HERON and AFRICAN SPOONBILL at rivers and dams. The PIED and GIANT KINGFISHERS are also reported regularly. The thickets and reeds along the water's edge often house the ACACIA PIED BARBET, LONG-BILLED CROMBEC, SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL, NAMAQUA WARBLER and most of the flycatchers of the region. Resident ROCK and BROWN-THROATED MARTINS are abundant, as are the gorgeous migratory swallows and swifts during summer.

The THEUNISKRAAL WINE ESTATE (33° 13′41″S 19° 8′7″E) is certainly worth a visit. “Theuniskraal, one of the town of Tulbagh’s best-known wine farms and South Africa’s very first white-wine estate, has a history as interesting, and as old, as the village itself.” Garden birding at this estate is undoubtedly recommended and the edges of the river superb for waterbirds. The owners will allow birding along the river on the farm if this is organised with Flippie Jordaan.
CONTACT DETAILS: Tel: +27 (0)73 774 5007 E-mail: flippie@tkl.co.za Website: http://www.theuniskraal.co.za/

A river with flourishing vegetation runs along the road between Theuniskraal and the beguiling Welbedacht Private Nature Reserve. Pay particular attention to species that are associated with forest habitats and thickets, such as the BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, TAMBOURINE DOVE, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON and AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER in summer. More elusive birds include the SOUTHERN BOUBOU, LONG-BILLED CROMBEC, GREATER HONEYGUIDE, GREATER DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD and CARDINAL WOODPECKER.

THE WELBEDACHT PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE is regarded as the finest eco-tourism destination in the Tulbagh Valley and for this reason this text was taken directly from their website: “Nestled at the foot of the majestic Winterhoek Mountains in the Tulbagh Valley, only an hour and a half from Cape Town, Welbedacht Nature Reserve is a 153 hectare declared nature reserve under a long term stewardship agreement with CapeNature. Originally part of Winterhoek West, a family estate & fruit farm, Welbedacht was largely uncultivated due to its rocky mountainous slopes higher up and seasonal wetlands lower down. Although smaller parts of Welbedacht were under fruit, and some smaller areas still are, these parts are now being gradually returned to their natural state once more in an effort to restore and protect the high diversity of indigenous plant and animal life within the reserve. The reserve itself offers a diverse range of vegetation including mountain fynbos, renosterveld and the wetland’s red-listed aluvium fynbos. Within these wonderful, wild areas you will find an abundance of different bird-life, plant species and a range of flowers for each season. There are several dams as well as a combination of marked and maintained walking trails traversing the reserve along which many different species of small game can be spotted; there are also springbok, bontebok, wildebeest and zebra. At Welbedacht, we offer self-catering cottage accommodation as well as accommodation for bigger groups at The Blue Butterfly. There are marked trails for walking, dams for swimming and an abundance of bird life and plant life. Birding here is superb. From tall, leafy trees that provide shelter, to the fynbos with its vast variety of plant life, and the savannah wetland grasses that provide an abundant food source for dozens of species of raptors and hundreds of other species, Welbedacht is a haven for birds and bird-watchers alike.” The reserve hosts a myriad of varied habitat types and many local birders describe it as the crème de la crème of birding destinations in the region. Species of note in this area include the GROUND WOODPECKER around the Oukloof MTN tower and the VICTORIN'S WARBLER, which is easily found along the bracken covered slopes. However, knowledge of the bird's call is advisable when trying to locate this highly desired endemic species. Day visitors are, unfortunately, not accommodated.
CONTACT DETAILS: Tel: +27 (0)83 952 5448 E-mail: info@welbedachtfarm.co.za Website: www.welbedachtreserve.co.za

More active bird-watchers should consider birding along the MURLUDI HIKING TRAIL. (33° 11'41”S 19° 10'12”E). Trails of varying length and levels of endurance are available. The shorter trail runs along the river and exposes hikers to farming activities and beautiful mountain fynbos. The longer trail, the Elsbos route, incorporates the shorter river tail, but then continues for another 6 km through mature fynbos along the lower hills of the picturesque Witzenberg Mountains.
CONTACT DETAILS: Permits are available from the Tulbagh Tourism Office +27 (0) 230 1348 or from the owners at +27 (0)23 230 0732.

(Note that there are links to more information, trip reports and the like below the photographs that may be used to further plan a visit to the area).

Tulbagh seen from Oudekloof Pass (Image by AO)
Tulbagh sunset  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow-billed Kite  (Image by CA)
Karoo Prinia  (Image by CN)

 

 

 

 

Cape Grassbird  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Crake  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

Great Crested Grebe  (Image by CA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TULBAGH REGION 4 - THE ROAD TO WOLSELEY Show details

BAINSKLOOF PASS AND BERGSIG WINE ESTATE Show details

BERGSIG WINE ESTATE TO WOLSELEY - AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Show details

WOLSELEY AND MICHELLS PASS Show details

BIRDING IN CERES Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - CERES TO KAROOPOORT Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - KAROOPOORT TO TANKWA FARM STALL Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - KATBAKKIES TO OP-DIE-BERG Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - OP-DIE-BERG TO CERES Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 2 - SWAARMOED PASS & BO-SWAARMOED FARMING AREA Show details

CIRCLE ROUTE FROM CERES 2 CONTINUED - THE DROEHOEK ROAD TO GYDO PASS Show details

THE TANKWA-KAROO NATIONAL PARK - THE P2250 GRAVEL ROAD Show details

THE TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK 2 - OUDEBAASKRAAL AND SURROUNDS Show details

THE TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK 3 - THE INTERIOR ROADS AND ACCOMMODATION Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details