At the eastern end of the Garden Route lies the Tsitsikamma
National Park, incorporating a stretch of coastline altogether
more rugged than that of the Wilderness region. Excellent
forest birding arguably the best along the Garden Route
is easily accessible in the parks western De
Vasselot section. Here, large tracts of pristine forest surround
the strikingly picturesque coastal village of Natures
Valley. To reach the latter, follow the N2 national road east
of Plettenberg Bay for 28 km, and turn south onto the R102
just before the toll gate. The road winds down the densely
forested Grootrivier Pass for 12 km before reaching the coast
and Natures Valley village. Continue a few hundred metres
past the village and park at the De Vasselot campsite, where
you need to obtain a permit at the National Parks office.
The Grootrivier Trail, looping a gentle 4.5 km around the
forested Groot River lagoon, offers convenient access to fine
forest birding. The marked trail begins on the eastern side
of the Groot River bridge, a minutes walk further along
the tar road. African Finfoot occurs scarcely along
this stretch of river: from the bridge, carefully scan overhanging
vegetation at the river edges, and check the series of pools
between the river and the campsite. Half-collared Kingfisher
is also occasionally seen here. All the forest species listed
on p.118 for Wilderness National Park occur commonly close
to this bridge. Additionally, at Natures Valley there
is an increased likelihood of encountering Crowned Eagle,
Little Sparrowhawk, Emerald Cuckoo (summer),
Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Knysna Woodpecker
and Starred Robin. At night, you are likely to hear
Wood Owl and Buff-spotted Flufftail, although
the latter is notoriously difficult to see (see Cape
Peninsula / Constantia Greenbelts for some tips).
De Vasselot and east of Natures Valley, the R102 winds
up the spectacular Bloukrans Pass, which provides a good vantage
point from which to scan for Crowned Eagle. Victorins
Warbler (p.73*) occurs in the dense fynbos at the
roadside. Shortly before the R102 rejoins the N2 national
road there is a sawmill, adjacent to the road, where Black-winged
Plover is occasionally seen.
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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