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Cape Town to Vanrhynsdorp:

Heading north on the N7 from Cape Town, you will initially pass through the wheat-growing area of the Swartland (Malmesbury, Moorreesburg and Piketberg). The small patches of unassuming, greyish vegetation holding out between the wheatfields and on the lower hill slopes (best viewed from the Piekenierskloof Pass beyond Piketberg) are lowland ‘renosterveld’ (p.7), one of the most threatened vegetation types in the world. From a distance, the vegetation on the hill-slopes appears to be covered with large spots, which are in fact subterranean termite mounds (see p.103).

The Piekenierskloof Pass lifts you from the lowlands into the fynbos, and proteas line the road. Over the pass lies the fertile and intensively cultivated Olifants River valley, one of South Africa’s main citrus-growing areas, and the fruit stalls along the road to Clanwilliam are well worth a stop. Dominating the eastern horizon are the majestic Cederberg mountains, the haunt of Leopard (Panthera pardus) and also of the rare Clanwilliam cedar tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), endemic to this range. These mountains are also legendary in rock climbing and hiking circles. Ten kilometres before Clanwilliam, look out for the Paleisheuwel road (p.56), an excellent site for Protea Canary (p.57*).

Beyond the Olifants River, you leave the Cape Floral Kingdom behind and the fynbos gives way to progressively drier semidesert vegetation (see p.7). The petrol station at the entrance to the town of Klawer is an excellent place to refuel and take a refreshing break. Continuing towards Vanrhynsdorp, you may wish to bird the sweet-thorn (Acacia karroo) thickets at the Wiedouw River, 11.6 km north of the Klawer filling station. Pririt Batis (p.85*) is common here, and is best detected by its call. From Vanrhynsdorp, turn eastwards along the R27 (following the signs to Nieuwoudtville/ Calvinia) and head towards the Vanrhyns Pass. Look for Greater Kestrel and Black Crow on the telephone poles in the open areas around Vanrhynsdorp (see p.104).

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4 Crassula Way, Pinelands, 7405, Cape Town, South Africa

27/09/09: Dalton Gibbs reports back from Gough Island! Read the blog!

26/09/09: New Cape Town Pelagics trip report from trips of 12 and 19 September 2009.

30/08/09: British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water proved very successful, with sunny weather and over 20,000 visitors. Callan's "Birding Namibia and the Okavango" was the most highly-attended lecture on the Saturday, with over 240 people. Congratulations to the winners of the Birding Africa competition and the African Bird Club raffle that we helped sponsor!

12/08/09: New Cape Town Pelagics trip reports from August and July 2009. Highlights: Little Shearwater and more!

07/08/09: The sub-adult Black Sarrowhawk visits our garden again! Read on about Raptor Research in the Western Cape.

27/07/09: Cape Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has grown! And its sibling never had a chance to hatch. See the pictures of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.

27/07/09: To follow modern nomenclature and systematics, we've adopted the IOC World Bird List, Version 2.1.

13/07/09: The 8th African Bird ID Challenge has launched! Win a 50% discount on a Cape Town Pelagics trip, a copy of Southern African Birdfinder, or African Bird Club membership for 1 year.

6 July 09: Cape White-eye research in our garden.

2 July 09: Cape Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has hatched! See the pictures of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.

2 July 09: Campbell Fleming, a Cape Town scholar, avid birder and photographer, joined Birding Africa last month as an intern. Click here, to see what he got up to.

2 July 09: New pelagic trip reports from the Cape Town Pelagics trips in June 2009. Highlights: Slenderbilled Prion and Leach's Storm Petrel

30 july 09: Our latest Cape Fynbos and Karoo trip reports feature Hottentot Buttonquail, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and other fynbos and Karoo endemics...

26 June 09: Tungsten mining threatens RAMSAR site, South Africa's Verlorenvlei. Read the Media Release.

22 June 09: Claire Spottiswoode, one of the Cape Birding Route founders, was part of the exploratory team at Mount Mabu. The mountain is part of the newly discovered largest rainforest in Southern Africa.

11 June 09: A colour-ringed Black Sparrowhawk visits the Birding Africa office garden. Read why it's a 10 months old male!

14 June 09:
Wildlife at the office of The Cape Birding Route, Birding Africa and Cape Town Pelagics.

31 May 09:
Michel Watelet wins the 7th African Bird Club & Birding Africa ID Challenge. Test your African birding skills and WIN a Birding Africa Cape town day trip or a copy of the Birdfinder!

30 May 09: A tragedy unfolds at Kommetjie south of Cape town as 44 beached False Killer Whales were shot. Click here for more details and pictures.

14 March 09: Raptor Watch in Cape Town on 14 March 09