mere two and a half hours drive from Cape Town to the
Tanqua Karoo leads you through everything from the majestic
peaks of the Du Toits Kloof mountains (burrowed through
by the 4-km Huguenot Tunnel) to the pleasingly geometric vineyard
mosaic of the Hex River Valley. Fynbos grades into progressively
drier scrub, and one ultimately emerges through a gap in the
mountains onto the arid, scrubby plains of the Tanqua Karoo.
venturing into the Karoo, it is well worth stopping at Karoopoort,
the gateway to the Karoo, for a number of dryland specials.
To reach it, take the N1 from Cape Town and, 10 km before
Touws River, turn left (north) onto the R46 (signposted Ceres/Hottentotskloof).
At the T-junction 33 km further on (75 on map, opposite),
turn right (east) onto the R355. Along the R46, and particularly
in the vicinity of this T-junction, tense coveys of Grey-wing
Francolin are regularly seen feeding on the roadside in
the early morning. From here, the R355 follows a reed- and
thicket-lined riverbed, which passes though a gap in the mountains
before reaching the open Karoo.
essential Karoopoort species for many visitors will be Namaqua
Warbler, which is a common and noisy bird of the Phragmites
reedbeds and adjacent acacia thicket (see p.85*). A good area
to look for it is opposite the oak-shaded farmhouse (1 on
map above). Though noisy, it sometimes requires a little effort
other typically dry west-ern species of the acacia thicket
are White-backed Mousebird, Titbabbler, Fairy
Flycatcher and White-throated Canary. Mountain
Chat occur on the rocky hillsides flanking the road and
a pair resides along the first kilometre of gravel road. Flocks
of Red-winged and, notably, Pale-winged Starlings
fly purposefully overhead, balance on the cliff-faces, or
feed on the fruiting fig trees next to the farmhouse. Cinnamon-breasted
Warbler (p.85*) does occur here (especially at the
picnic site at 2), but is more reliably found at Katbakkies,
a little further north (p.79).
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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