The Western Cape is the southern most province of South Africa and houses a diverse group of bird species. Pelagic boat trips off of Cape Point during the winter months often reveals rare sea birds, while the Cape Point reserve itself sees it’s own variety of species.
There are a number of good birding locations throughout the Western Cape, the most famous of which is likely the large stretch of reserve land on the West Coast, aptly named the West Coast National Park. The West Coast National Park is a hot spot for migrant birds during the South African summer months, but still has it’s own resident species which keep the area interesting all year around. Closer to the city of Cape Town, Intaka Island is a popular spot for photographers as several well-placed hides get one in close range of the beautiful little Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and a number of other species, though it is a small area in comparison with the likes of the West Coast National Park, if you don’t want to take the hours drive up the coast, it can often produce a good day in it’s own right. Kirstinbosch Gardens is located at the foot of Table Mountain and while entry fees are slightly more than most of the other reserves, this is a popular raptor location in the summer months with Jackal Buzzards, Forest Buzzards, Steppe Buzzards and a number of Eagles seen here. Boulders Beach is a common location for spotting penguins with the rare odd sighting of the Rockhopper and Macaroni Penguin.
Strandfontein, on the other side of the Cape also has two very popular birding locations in the forms of Rondevlei Bird Sanctuary and Strandfontein Sewage Works. These are definitely high up there on the list of places to visit, especially if you’re looking for water birds, or the often present Marsh Harrier.
To the east of Cape Town you arrive at the Winelands areas. In Somerset West the Helderberg Nature Reserve and Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary bring together the chance to see a number of species, with over 170 species of birds recorded at the Helderberg, common residents including the Jackal Buzzard and Black Sparrowhawk. Past Stellenbosch you can reach another popular biding location, the Paarl Bird Sanctuary. The Paarl Bird Sanctuary is a waste treatment area with several large pans teeming with a variety of water birds.
There is a lot more to the Western Cape with plenty more reserves and species to be found past Worcester near the Breede River Valley. Reserves along the south coast past Hermanus also provide a home to some rare sea birds. Further north towards Beauford West there is also plenty of birding to be done.
For detailed information on birding locations in the Western Cape simply navigate using the main menu above, clicking on the ‘Birding’ tab and following the location drop down.