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 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


An apt variety of accommodation options is available in and around Wolseley. These may be scrutinised in one of the dropdown menus below. Only three destinations that have been visited are highlighted. Two of these are in close proximity of each other on both sides of the magnificent Breede River and essentially feature the same species composition. The WHITEBRIDGE FARM (33° 25'33"S 19° 15'41"E) is reached along the R43 at the start of MICHELL'S PASS. Rustic self-catering cabins are positioned along the river and the verandas offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, TAMBOURINE DOVE, AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, GIANT KINGFISHER, STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER and CAPE SISKIN were all seen from a veranda one late afternoon and researchers were delighted to find two pairs of BOOTED EAGLE breeding on the cliffs on both sides of the river. Other raptors include the VERREAUX'S EAGLE and PEREGRINE FALCON, both of which were breeding in the sensational surrounding mountains. In summer, survey the area for the PIN-TAILED WHYDAH parasitizing COMMON WAXBILL and RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Piet-my-vrou) parasitizing CAPE ROBIN-CHAT. The White Bridge Farm also features a popular wedding destination. Visit www.oliverock.co.za
CONTACT DETAILS: Tel: +27 (0)23 231 0705 E-mail: stay@whitebridge.co.za Website: www.whitebridge.co.za

Another rustic destination that features impressive Breede River frontage is RIVER SIDING (33°25'12''S 19°15'28''E) that is reached along the R46 just west of MICHELL'S PASS. River Siding, tucked away amongst trees and virtually in the water, offers tranquillity, wooden fires, nature walks and much more. Kindly note, that during dry years the level of the river drops quite low and free flowing water cannot be guaranteed at either White Bridge Farm, or River Siding during midsummer. The dams, fortunately, remain constant. Myriad numbers of canaries including the BLACK-THROATED, BRIMSTONE, CAPE and WHITE-THROATED CANARIES, as well STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER and most excitingly CAPE SISKIN have been recorded. Most of the region's ducks are present and the CAPE BATIS and AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER are common. Regular summer migrants include the AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER, BANDED MARTIN, BLACK SAWWING and GREATER STRIPED SWALLOW. A gripping recent sighting was that of an otter killing an EGYPTIAN GOOSE.
CONTACT DETAILS: Tel: +27 (0)23 231 0726 E-mail: info@riversiding.co.za
Website: www.riversiding.co.za

Both of these facilities are conveniently, centrally situated to explore the scores of stellar destinations on offer in the Witzenberg region. The WAVERLEY HILLS ORGANIC WINES (33° 24'57”S 19° 14'06”E), just west of the River Siding deserves particular mention. It was awarded the Best Of Wine Tourism prize for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices in 2011 and 2012. This first-rate cellar remains committed towards conservation and sustainable practices, whilst the wine tasting is simply divine. An added bonus is a substantial patch of fynbos on the estate offering nothing short of exceptional viewing and photographic opportunities of some of the top species associated with this habitat type.
CONTACT DETAILS: Tel: +27 (0)23 231 0002 E-mail: info@waverleyhills.co.za Website: www.waverleyhills.co.za

From here this birdfinder description continues to MICHELL'S PASS and CERES.
MITCHELL'S PASS
The charming town of Ceres is reached from Wolseley and Tulbagh by travelling through the stupendous MICHELL’S PASS. This is yet another of the transcendent passes in the region and time should be spent admiring the Ceres Mountain Fynbos Reserve from any of the lay-bys or picnic spots. The parking area at 33° 22'55”S E19° 17'22”E offers a divine view of the waterfall and the CAPE BUNTING, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLE, ROCK KESTREL, CAPE ROCK-THRUSH and STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER are encountered regularly. In summer, one may expect to find large numbers of the common swallows, swifts and martins to be found in the region. The majority of fynbos associated species may be found here and records indicate that the PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER, as well as the CAPE GRASSBIRD and MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS occur. Some reports of GROUND WOODPECKER sightings have been received. 

Be certain to stop for a meal at DIE TOLHUIS restaurant and sample their traditional 'Boerekos'. Birding along the trails in the verdant gardens is marvellous. The arboraceous trail that leads to the railway line hosts the PROTEA SEEDEATER along the Protea-clad slopes. The BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON, CHESTNUT-VENTED TIT-BABBLER and SWEE WAXBILL, together with the AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER during summer, inhabit the dense bush around the Tolhuis. 

(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).

African Paradise-Flycatcher  (Image by CM)
The Ceres Mountain Fynbos Reserve  (AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitchell's Pass waterfall (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Familiar Chat  (Image by CM) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Cardinal Woodpecker  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

Cottage at White Bridge Farm (Image by EO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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