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

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


THE INTERIOR ROADS
The TANKWA-KAROO NATIONAL PARK is criss-crossed by a number of vehicle tracks, but several are not accessible to the general public. Kindly take 'no access' signs seriously. The quality of the tracks may differ markedly depending on the time of year or season. Also note that localised storms may make certain roads inaccessible due to washed away and disintegrated roads. It is best to enquire about the conditions of the various roads at the Park Reception and Information at ROODEWERF.

However, do not underestimate the remarkable birding potential at Roodewerf itself and the Rhenoster River, which is in close proximity. Reports indicate sightings of the BLACK-HEADED CANARY, DUSKY and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, CHESTNUT-VENTED TIT-BABBLER and NAMAQUA WARBLER. In summer, look out for EUROPEAN BEE-EATER and DIDERICK CUCKOO.

An array of accommodation options are now available in the Tankwa-Karoo National Park. These may be studied at the link in the first item of the dropdown menu below. Only two options (possibly on opposite ends of a financial scale) are mentioned with text provided by SANParks: “VARSCHFONTEIN/PAULSHOEK and DE ZYFER – three renovated farmsteads which are quite rustic and charming, without electricity, but with hot water from a donkey boiler. Many people prefer these to anything else, being very romantic and secluded. ELANDSBERG COTTAGES – the smart, upmarket cottages known as the ELANDSBERG WILDERNESS CAMP, each with private plunge pool. They are modern, with a respectful nod to the many clay and stone ruins of the past that is found in the Park. Comfortable, well appointed and charming, with great views towards the Roggeveld Mountains and Gannaga Pass. The vegetation in this part of the park is also more lush. There are five cottages of differing configurations and capacities and plans are underway to expand this popular camp in the Park.” 

(The text continues below these photographs).

Pied Starling  (Image by AO)
Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey-backed Sparrowlark  (Image by AO)
Black-eared Sparrowlark (Image by Japie Claassen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When driving to the Elandsberg Wilderness Camp be on the lookout for the KAROO, SICKLE-WINGED and TRACTRAC CHATS and RUFOUS-EARED WARBLER. This road is also known for consistent sightings of the KAROO LONG-BILLED LARK. The GREY-BACKED SPARROWLARK is common, but pay close attention to the appealing possibility of finding the extremely popular and nomadic BLACK-EARED SPARROWLARK. The so-called 'trash birds' around the cottages at Elandsberg may easily produce brilliant species such as the PRIRIT BATIS, FAIRY FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN, DUSKY and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS and NAMAQUA WARBLER.

All the interior roads and tracks of the park cannot possibly be discussed in a web page of this nature. Therefore, only two alternatives are suggested – the one being fairly short and the other significantly longer. From Roodewerf, a track leads north-east to the accommodation at PYPER SE BOOM and later LANGKLOOF CAMPSITE. This short route has the advantage of passing through a wide range of habitat types, thus enabling birders to study the various species associated with each habitat type.

The longer, recommended route runs north from ROODEWERF along the P2250 and then turns left to MAANSEDAM. Turn-off to the left before Maansedam and travel past SKAAPWAGTERSPOS to PRAMBERGFONTEIN. Next, travel north-east towards VARSCHFONTEIN. Birds to keep your eyes open for along here include the ANT-EATING CHAT, MARTIAL EAGLE, KAROO EREMOMELA, KAROO LONG-BILLED LARK, SPIKE-HEELED LARK, BLACK-EARED SPARROWLARK and NAMAQUA and RUFOUS-EARED WARBLERS. Travel south from Varschfontein towards LUIPERDSKOP and then north-east towards either the BIESJESFONTEIN- or the VOLMOERSFONTEIN INFORMAL CAMPSITES. Return to Roodewerf from here. This circle route essentially offers the finest experience in the Tankwa-Karoo National Park as it meanders through different habitat types with truly amazing birds to be found. For this reason, it is advised that a full day is allocated to travel along here at low speeds.

Sizeable parts of the Tankwa-Karoo National Park had for long been relatively inaccessible, but this has now thankfully changed with the development of a variety of accommodation options by SANParks. Therefore, whether one visits the area on a day outing from Ceres or stays over for an extended period – the Tankwa Karoo has much to offer every bird-watching enthusiast. 
(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).

Black-chested Snake-Eagle  (Image by AO)
African Pipit  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Spurfowl  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

Grey-winged Francolin  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tankwa Sunset  (Image by AO)

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details