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

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


The quaint village of OP-DIE-BERG is located at the end of the Swartruggens Road. A regionally rare, solitary SHAFT-TAILED WHYDAH was seen at Op-die-Berg recently. From Op-die-Berg, one can travel north towards CITRUSDAL and the rugged CEDERBERG WILDERNESS AREA. Find out more about bird-watching opportunities in the Cederberg Wilderness Area at the links in the dropdown menu below. 

When travelling south along the R303 from Op-die-Berg to Ceres, particular attention should be given to waterfowl. The RED-KNOBBED COOT, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, EGYPTIAN and SPUR-WINGED GEESE, COMMON MOORHEN, CAPE and RED-BILLED TEALS, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE SHOVELER are all eminently common at the various dams along this road. Make sure to investigate the ROCKLANDS DAM at S33° 05'50.13” E19° 20'34.80”, where profuse numbers of waders are frequently present in summer. Expect to find the COMMON GREENSHANK, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, CURLEW, MARSH and WOOD SANDPIPERS and sundry other waders. LITTLE EGRETS and GREATER FLAMINGOS occur seasonally while decent numbers of bishops, grebes, warblers and weavers are usually present. Special species to look out for at this location include the MACCOA, WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS and BLACK STORK. WHISKERED TERNS occasionally breed here in summer. 
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Shaft-tailed Whydahs  (Image by CM)
Common Greenshank  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-winged Stilt  (Image by CA)
Common Ringed Plover  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the top of Gydo Pass, the road to the Witzenberg Valley turns off at S33° 13'20” E19° 19'23”. Travel slowly down this precipitous mountains pass as the winding road may produce electrifying bird-watching. The CAPE BUNTING, CAPE and WHITE-THROATED CANARIES, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD, MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR and GROUND WOODPECKER are common. The CAPE ROCK-JUMPER is one of the central attractions near the upper reaches of this pass and the scattered rocks should be scrutinised for this vexingly tricky bird. The fynbos dominated seeps and streams towards the lower end of this meandering road are fitting for the CAPE GRASSBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER. Watch the skies for raptors such as the JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and ROCK KESTREL as these frequently soar along the cliffs and rocks. The roads along the Witzenberg Valley run through some of the most productive fruit growing areas in the region. This, however, is privately owned farmland and caution is advised to not transgress on farmers' properties. The various streams and small dams along these roads may produce species such as the AFRICAN BLACK and YELLOW-BILLED DUCKS, a variety of herons, the CAPE SHOVELER, AFRICAN SNIPE and CAPE and RED-BILLED TEALS. The roads through the Witzenberg Valley eventually lead to the bottom of the Grootwinterhoek Wilderness Area, which is yet another immensely underrated bird-watching region. The Grootwinterhoek Wilderness forms part of the Bergrivier local municipal region and is managed by CapeNature. It is reached more readily from Porterville. Find out details from the links in the dropdown menu below.

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Ground Woodpecker  (Image by AO)
Cape Bunting  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Grassbird  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

Grey-backed Cisticola  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The attractive GYDO PASS takes visitors from the Koue Bokkeveld down to Prince Alfred Hamlet and Ceres. The pass was originally built by Andrew Geddes Bain in 1848 to connect the so-called Warm Bokkeveld with the Koue Bokkeveld. There are several convenient picnic spots and view points along the pass where bird-watching may be very rewarding. The view over the Ceres Valley is simply breathtaking. It is, however, recommended that time is spent at the superb main picnic area at S33° 14'01.73” E19° 19'58.69”. Many of the endemic species associated with fynbos habitats are to be found along the pass with the CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD making wonderfully frequent appearances when the Proteas are blooming. The MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS are particularly numerous. This is probably one of the best spots in the region to look for the elusive PROTEA SEEDEATER, moreover, the 'wabome' along the higher slopes of the pass should be inspected for this species. The rocky outcrops and cliffs should be investigated for the CAPE BUNTING, ROCK MARTIN, WHITE-NECKED RAVEN, CAPE ROCK-THRUSH, MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR and GROUND WOODPECKER. Other exceedingly popular species include the CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SISKIN and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSH. Birds of prey regularly encountered are the JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES, ROCK KESTREL, with the YELLOW-BILLED KITE and STEPPE BUZZARD being common in summer.
(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).

Alpine Swift  (Image by CA)
White-rumped Swift  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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