Our favourite place to go bird-watching is the dirt road that runs parallel to the beach en route to St Helena Bay. We have seen the most incredible birds there – from owls (in the middle of the day) to falcons. The Rooivalk is also a regular visitor. The snag is that you need a 4x4 to traverse this road – we honestly don’t recommend it for normal road-going vehicles.
If you don’t have a 4x4 though, we recommend a visit to the Fossil Park, which is also home to numerous birds (there are numerous other good reasons for visiting this park, more information appears below). A large dam, which attracts many bird species, and a hide have been built at the Fossil Park. A variety of duck species can be viewed including Yellow-billed and Maccoa Ducks, Cape Teal, Cape Shoveller and South African Shelduck are also common. Open veld species to be seen include Cape Francolin, African Hoopoe, Karoo Robin, Redcapped, Longbilled and Thick Billed Larks, White Throated Canary, Southern Black Korhaan, Spotted Dikkop, Bokmakierie, Malachite Sunbird, Fiscal Flycatcher, Crowned Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Helmeted Guineafowl, Cape Wagtail and Spotted Prinia.
Yet another good bird-viewing location is the Vredenburg/Saldanha Golf Club (0ff the R45, approximately 4 km from Vredenburg). Enquiries: Tel: 022-715-3003. The two hides overlooking the dam on the northern boundary of the golf course can be visited with permission from the Club Manager. A colony of Blackcrowned Night Herons is established in the surrounding trees while Yellowbilled Duck, Cape Weavers, Cape Shovellers, Redknobbed Coots and breeding African Shelduck can be seen on the dam. Spurwinged and Egyptian Geese and Sacred Ibis can be seen in the surrounding fields and Red Bishops, Cape Reed Warblers and Levaillant's Cisiticolas forage in the reeds.
The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve and West Coast National Park (for more information on both, see below) are also excellent for birding. The nature reserve is right on our doorstep; it will take you about 45 minutes to reach the national park.