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Eastern Baviaanskloof Birding

The Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area stretches from beyond Patensie in the Gamtoos River Valley to the Karoo at Willowmore. 

The Eastern end is great for a long day outing or weekend. The gateway to the Baviaanskloof is at Komdomo, where camping facilities are available. Komdomo is on the Groot River just before it joins the Kouga River. There is riverine forest and thorn trees around the camping area.

Good birds seen at Komdomo include African Pied Wagtail, Grey and Black Cuckoo shrikes, Brown Scrub-Robin, Dark-backed Weaver, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Crowned Hornbill, Knysna Warbler and Olive, Knysna and Cardinal Woodpeckers. There is a bird hide at the river. A colony of Village Weavers is in the trees overhanging the far side of the river. Raptors include Little Sparrow hawk, Peregrine Falcon and African Harrier-Hawk. At night Buff-spotted Flufftail and African Wood Owl can be heard.

African Pied Wagtail – Corné Erasmus

From Komdomo carry on up the Grootwaterspoort with its stunning scenery. There are magnificent cliffs on either side of the river. Look for Mocking Cliff-Chats, and flocks of African Black and Alpine Swifts. African Fish, Crowned and Verreaux's Eagles occur. On the river look out for Half-collared Kingfisher (five species of kingfisher are found here), White-backed Night Heron and African Finfoot. A pair of the latter were seen once at the weir a few kilometres upstream from Komdomo near the start of the Grootwaterspoort. Local people say the White-backed Night Heron and African Finfoot are resident here. 

Carry on up the road past Cambria though drier open veld to a section called “Poortjies” where you cross the river fourteen times. Lovely riverine forest occurs here.

After this you ascend the pass to the top of the mountain. It is a bit scary – hairpin bends with thousand foot drops on one side. Towards the top there is pristine montane fynbos'. Look out for Cape Sugarbirds, Orange-breasted Sunbirds, Protea Canary and Cape Siskin. Incidentally Cape Rockjumpers occur in the Western side of the Baviaanskloof nearer Willowmore. On a private farm.

On top of the mountain are the remains of a farm called Bergplaas. The vegetation is rank long grass. Birds that have been seen here include European Roller, and African Snipe and African Jacana at a small dam, also Blue Crane.

Blue Crane – Corné Erasmus

This route can be done there and back in a day. Turn back before the road goes down after Bergplaas to the valley on the far side. Apparently the road further on has deteriorated and is in bad condition.

View the complete bird list here.

Through the club's monthly e-newsletters and bi-annual magazine, the Bee-Eater, we aim to stimulate continued interest in birds and their habitats.