Birding

The town of Velddrif forms the backdrop for the birding region classified IBA SA104.  This IBA stretches from Cloeteskraal and Kruispad in the east, Varkvlei in the south and the salt pans on the R27 towards Dwarskersbos in the north, approximately 24,000 ha.

The area of the Berg River Estuary has become well known as a “hot spot” for rarities and more than 200 different species are to be found here.  Between October and April the migratory waders are present.  It has been shown that the mudflats along the river, support the highest diversity of waders along the Atlantic seaboard.

The wide range of habitats including sandveld, river flood plain, estuarine, coastal and urban, makes for excellent birding. The estuary is saline and tidal, therefore interesting at all tidal stages. 

The salt pans are non-tidal where amongst others the Chestnut-banded Plover, Red-necked Phalarope and Cape Long-billed Lark can be found.

Birds can be viewed throughout the year from the hide close to the R27 road bridge, which overlooks the Riviera inter-tidal mudflats and salt marshes which stretch further up the river at “De Plaat”.  The best times are 1.5 hours after high tide or 1 hour after low tide in Table Bay.

From the water one can see the Purple & Grey Herons and recently a Goliath Heron was spotted, as well as Spoonbills, Darters, Avocets, Stilts, a variety of plovers and many other birds. 

Both Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Pelicans, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Red Bishops and Grey-headed Gulls are but a few of the birds to be seen from Bokkom Laan, along the river.

A spectacular sight to see is the more than 30,000 (at times) Cape Cormorants entering the harbour going to the Salt Pans to roost in the late afternoon.  An electronic bird list is available from the Velddrif Tourism Office.

The nearby village of Aurora is home to the European Bee Eaters in spring and early summer.  This mountainous area gives access to many of the Western Cape specials. One report describes sightings of Booted and Verreaux’s Eagle, Cape Grassbird, Cape Rock-jumper, Streaky-headed and Protea Seedeaters, Cape Siskin, Cape Sugarbird, a vagrant Palm-nut Vulture and Ground Woodpecker.