Eastern Cape Bird Watching... Spoilt For Choice
Birding In The Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape is my favourite place in South Africa to go birding or bird watching. The Eastern Cape might not have as many bird species, lets say, as KwaZulu Natal, but you are in for a great bird watching experience. The Eastern Cape has a lot of opportunity areas for you, the bird watcher, to view some amazing and rarely seen bird species of South Africa.
Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant National Park is covered in dense bush and thicket with some rocky and grassland areas. In the Addo Elephant National Park, the best time to go birding is in the Spring and Summer months, however, it is a good bird watching reserve all-year round. The special species of the Addo Elephant National Park include the Blue Crane, Denham's Bustard and Pale-Chanting Goshawk.
Mountain Zebra National Park
The Mountain Zebra National Park is a very scenic reserve and as it is in the Karoo area it is a good area for dryland bird species. The Mountain Zebra National Park is also a very mountainous (As the name suggests) and so holds a lot of rare mountain dwelling birds and raptors.
Kariega Game Reserve
The Kariega Game Reserve is half way between Grahamstown and the coastal town of Kenton-on-sea and is a great bird watching area. The Kariega Game Reserve is a superb example of the Eastern Cape bushveld and supports breeding and nesting Martial Eagle, Crowned Eagle, African Fish Eagle and many Kingfisher species.
Thomas Baines Nature Reserve
The Thomas Baines Nature Reserve has a small stretch of forest and fynbos regions present in the reserve but the main habitat type is valley bushveld. The Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is an excellent area all year round to see all sorts of different bird species. Settler's Dam is a must see!
Nyala Valley Game Park
Nyala Valley Game Park is a magnificent game reserve and you just get such a great feel when you are inside of it, the birding is just a huge bonus! In Nyala Valley Game Park there are breeding Crowned Eagles which you can get very close to. There are also numerous Kingfishers and ground birds.
The Alexandria Forest is a zone of temperate forest and is a good area for rare often unseen forest bird species. Birds like the Brown Scrub-Robin, Red-Backed Mannikin and the Black-Bellied Starling occur in the Alexandria Forest.
Bird Island, a few kilometers off the Eastern Cape coast, is home to the largest breeding colony of Cape Gannets in the world and is a must visit for all seabird lovers. Roseate Terns are also present on Bird Island, best visiting times are September to early December.
Sunday's River Estuary
The Sunday's River Estuary is made up of inter-tidal mudflats and indigenous bush and is a good place to see wader species. The Sunday's River Estuary, in summer, is home to a feast of migratory waterbirds and waders.
St Croix Island
Bosberg Nature Reserve
The Bosberg Nature Reserve is a reserve that starts off as evergreen forest which goes into Karoo scrubland. It is best to visit the Bosberg Nature Reserve in the Spring and Summer months where you might get the opportunity to see the Bush Blackcap, Cape Eagle Owl and the Buff-Streaked Chat.