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Karoo National Park:

The park protects an exceptionally fine tract of mountainous Karoo landscape near the town of Beaufort West, and is well-stocked with game — including Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis), Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou), Gemsbok (Oryx gazella) and Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra). It also boasts an excellent selection of Karoo specials, providing you with easy access to three tricky rock-loving species, namely Cinnamon-breasted Warbler (p.85*), African Rock Pipit (p.125*) and Short-toed Rock Thrush. Another of the park’s attractions is the opportunity to join guided night-drives and go spotlighting for some exciting Karoo mammals, among them Aardvark, Caracal and Aardwolf (see section on Nocturnal Mammals of the Karoo). Cape Eagle Owl (p.105*) may also, very occasionally, be seen on these night drives.

The entrance to the national park is on the N1 national road, 5 km south of Beaufort West. A tarred road leads to the park’s headquarters and rest camp (1 on map overleaf), where Mountain Chat, Red-eyed Bulbul and Cape Bunting are tame and conspicuous. Black Eagle regularly passes overhead. Take an amble around the nearby campsite (2), set in dense acacia thicket, as it offers some of the best birding in the park. Namaqua Warbler (p.85*), Southern Tchagra, Acacia Pied Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Dusky Sunbird, Pririt Batis, Titbabbler and Fairy Flycatcher are all vocal but inconspicuous thicket dwellers. Rather more obvious are all three South African mousebird species.

Klipspringer Pass drive, which winds up the escarpment of the plateau behind the rest camp, provides access to the three specials of rocky country. Check the slopes at the base of the pass (in the vicinity of 3) for Layard’s Titbabbler, African Rock Pipit and Short-toed Rock Thrush. The latter occurs scarcely but regularly along the length of the meandering road up to the pass; the birds here are of the central dryland subspecies pretoriae, which has been regarded as a full species by some authors (see p.13). The vicinity of the fenced lookout point at the summit of the pass at 4 is a good site for both Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and African Rock Pipit, neither of which is likely to be seen without staying very alert to their calls, which drift across from the cliff faces. The pipit also occurs on the rocky hillocks of the plateau itself, alongside the similarly rock-loving Long-billed Pipit. Other mountain species that are typical of the cliffs along the Klipspringer Pass are Black and Booted Eagles, Ground Woodpecker (p.105*) and Pale-winged Starling. Continue on to the plateau, where the road moves into more open country and Sickle-winged Chat and Chat Flycatcher occur.

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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