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Berg River Bird Hides - Velddrif Tel 022 783 1821
This site on the estuary of the Berg River is an Important Bird Area(IBAs) and a proposed RAMSAR site. A hide is situated off Voortrekker Road, past the Riviera Hotel where the key to the hide is kept. The key is available every day at the reception of the Hotel. The hide overlooks an area of intertidal mudflats and saltmarshes, where more than 200 species of birds can be viewed. Birds like blackwinged stilts, purple gallinule, moorhen, flamingoes and pelicans, Caspian tern and kingfisher, can also be viewed on the farms Bloemendal (11-12km from Velddrif on the Velddrif/Hopefield Road) and Langrietvlei (±19km from Velddrif on the Velddrif/Hopefield Road). Both the farms are situated on the banks of the Berg River. Birdwatching at Swartjiesbaai, phone 022 783 3088. It is important to phone before visiting the farms.
Bird Island - Lambert’s Bay Tel 021 659 3500
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The island is linked to the shore by a breakwater connected to the harbour and is therefore easily accessible to the public. The viewing platform on the Island has recently been replaced with a state of the art sunken hide, designed to blend in with the rocks of the area and situated in such a way as to allow the colony to expand. It is an important breeding site for Cape gannets and the mass of birds that congregate there, is an amazing sight. The island is also important for other marine birds such as African penguins, kelp gulls, white-breasted cormorants and common tern.
Swartland Birding Route - Tel 022 487 2989 www.swartlandtourism.co.za/birds.htm At least 250 bird species can be found in this vast differentiated landscape from sea, to coastal plains and mountains. Download the Swartland Birding Checklist from the website which provides birders, beginners as well as serious twitchers, a wide range of birds to be ticked.
Darling Bird Route Tel 022 492 3361
The wide diversity of vegetation in the Darling area offers birders a large variety of birds from larks and pipits to lesser flamingoes and great white pelicans. The area stretches from the strandveld of the Darling Hills Rd and Groote Post to the renosterveld of Waylands and Oudepost wildflower reserves. The beauty of the flowering bulbs and the diversity of the wildflowers offer the birder a unique springtime experience. In the summer large numbers of blue cranes may be seen in the wheatfields along the Darling / Malmesbury and Moorreesburg roads. The Tienie Versfeld Reserve and the !Khwa ttu San Culture & Education Centre enable to the visitor to further enjoy the diversity of Darling.
Rietvlei & the Milnerton Lagoon Tel 021 557 5509
The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is situated beside the R27 coastal road only 15km from the city centre of Cape Town. The Reserve encompasses the Milnerton Lagoon and Flamingo Vlei. Access is via the Milnerton Aquatic Club (follow the road signs to the right of the R27 and turn right at next traffic lights onto Pentz Drive). There are 173 species to be seen including whitebacked ducks, which are common seasonally in the permanent pools near the Beach Hotel. There are picnic and toilet facilities, eight information panels and a hide overlooking the pans.
Olifants River Estuary Tel 027 213 1045
The estuary and its associated wetlands are earmarked for future RAMSAR listing as an Important Bird Area. Flamingoes, sandpipers and many other migratory and resident waders can be seen (183 species have been recorded to date). The small settlement of Papendorp is situated overlooking the Olifants River Estuary where the river enters the sea. A variety of marine birds can be seen on the hiking trail between Strandfontein, Ebenhaezer, Papendorp and Doringbaai, situated just south of the Olifant’s River Estuary.
Porterville Blue Crane Route Tel 022 9313732
Rocherpan Marine & Nature Reserve Tel 021 659 3500
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This Reserve consists largely of a seasonal vlei (wetland) which is usually dry
between March and June. The adjacent section of the Atlantic Ocean was declared a marine reserve in 1988. The Reserve provides a sanctuary for one of South Africa’s most endangered coastal birds – the African black oystercatcher. Additional attractions include whales from June to December. Picnic sites are available. R30 entrance fee per vehicle.
SAS Saldanha Nature Reserve Tel 022 702 3523
This Reserve is controlled by the South African National Defence Force and is accessed via their property at Saldanha Bay. The hiking trails are open seven days a week throughout the year but the best times to visit are after good rains in winter up until mid-summer. Approval is required before entry as the shooting range may be in use. Bookings for groups are essential.
Verlorenvlei - Elands Bay / Redelinghuys Tel 022 962 1650
The famous Verlorenvlei is the largest Wetland on the West Coast and drains into the Atlantic Ocean at Elands Bay. This 30km Vlei is RAMSAR protected and is well renowned for its rich diverse birdlife such as African spoonbill, African fish eagle, European bee-eaters, white pelican, etc, a variety of fynbos and untouched nature. Redelinghuys is situated in the upper reaches and thus the ideal location for birdwatchers.
Vredenburg/ Saldanha Golf Course Tel 022 715 3003
The two hides overlooking the dam on the northern boundary of the golf course can be visited with permission from the Club Manager. A colony of blackcrowned night herons is established in the surrounding trees while yellowbilled duck, Cape weavers, Cape shovellers, redknobbed coots and breeding African shelducks can be seen on the dam.
West Coast Fossil Park Tel 022 766 1606
Run by the South African Museum the Fossil Park is open to visitors by prior arrangement. It covers a large area, some of which has been excavated for its fossil animal remains, exposed during previous mining activities. A large dam attracts many bird species and a hide has been built there. A variety of duck and open veld species can be seen.
West Coast National Park Tel 022 772 2144
Langebaan Lagoon in the West Coast National Park was registered as a wetland of international importance for birds, with the RAMSAR Convention, which came into force in 1988. A number of bird hides overlook various areas of the Lagoon. Another feature of the National Park’s birding is the important breeding colonies on the Malgas, Jutten, Schaapen and Marcus Islands, near the mouth of Saldanha Bay. Malgas Island is home to one of only six colonies of Cape gannets in the world and tens of thousands of pairs breed here. The island can be visited by boat under the guidance of a Park guide.