Town to Vanrhynsdorp:
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
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 Africas 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
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
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
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
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.
Shearwater and more!
sub-adult Black Sarrowhawk visits our garden again! Read
on about Raptor Research in the Western 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
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:
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
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
Killer Whales were shot. Click here for more details and
14 March 09: Raptor
Watch in Cape Town on 14 March 09