South Coast birding

The Cape South Coast has some spectacular birding sites, with main areas near Betty’s Bay, Bredasdorp (Agulhas Plains), and Swellendam. Three days allows sufficient time to explore these areas, but selected sites can be visited in one or two days.


Rooi-Els is known for its Cape Rockjumpers, a family of two species endemic to South Africa. Many other special birds can be found by walking for 2 kms or so, including Orange-breasted Sunbird, Familiar Chats, Cape Siskins, Grassbird, Cape Rock-thrush and other species.

Cape Rockjumper
Cape Rockjumper (ringed)


Stony Point – African Penguins

Stony Point is worth visiting if you have not been to Boulders. In addition to the African Penguins, one can also see the marine cormorants like Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant and Bank Cormorant.

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

The Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay are great for a variety of birds, including Paradise and Blue-mantled Flycatcher, Black Sawwing Swallow, Cape Canary, Cape Siskin, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Batis, Speckled Mousebird, and others.

African Paradise Flycatcher
African Paradise Flycatcher, male


Bredasdorp farm roads

A series of farm roads on the Agulhas Plains provides for larks like Red-capped Lark and Agulhas Long-billed Lark. Crowned Plovers, Blacksmith Lapwings and Blue Cranes abound, and a varitey of korhaans and bustards may be seen such as Karoo Korhaan, Denham’s Bustard, and Southern Black Korhaan. Wattled Starling and the more common Pied Starling occur. Waterbirds may be seen on the farm dams.

Denham's Bustard
Denham’s Bustard, female


Wattled Starling
Wattled Starling flock


De Mond Nature Reserve

De Mond Nature Reserve has a large number of waders, including Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Kittlitz Plover, and White-fronted Plover. Terns include Caspian, Swift, Damara and Little. Black Oystercatcher and Greater Flamingo may be seen. Aerial foragers include Barn Swallow and White-rumped Swift.

White-fronted Plover
White-fronted Plover


De Mond Nature Reserve
De Mond Nature Reserve


De Hoop Nature Reserve

In De Hoop Nature Reserve it is worth walking along the river trail from the Visitor’s Centre,  overlooking the scenic river. Waterbirds include White Pelicans, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, ducks, Ruff and other waders, Hamerkop, and Great Crested Grebe.

In the trees and bushes along the walk one can see Southern Tchagra, Long-billed Crombec, Bokmakierie and other species. Cape Weavers and Spotted Eagle-Owls breed around the fig trees.

Southern Tchagra
Southern Tchagra


Potberg Cape Vultures

Potberg is part of De Hoop but has a separate access road. From the Potberg parking lot one can scan overhead for Cape Vultures soaring during the warm part of the day. Cape Vultures may also be seen in the general area.

Cape Vulture
Cape Vulture


Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve provides some special forest birds like Sombre Greenbul, Knysna Woodpeker, and Narina Trogon.

Sombre Greenbul
Sombre Greenbul

Additional sites

Some other sites that could be visited include Bontebok National Park, Helderberg Nature Reserve, and Paardevlei.



 To see amazing Cape South Coast birds, book a birding trip with Birds4Africa !