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Nature's Valley:

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 park’s western De Vasselot section. Here, large tracts of pristine forest surround the strikingly picturesque coastal village of Nature’s 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 Nature’s 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 minute’s 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 Nature’s 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).

Beyond De Vasselot and east of Nature’s Valley, the R102 winds up the spectacular Bloukrans Pass, which provides a good vantage point from which to scan for Crowned Eagle. Victorin’s 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

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