Paarl Mountain Reserve, Paarl, Cape Winelands
The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is dominated by the huge massif of Paarl Rock and offers good fynbos birding where you may spot the inconspicuous and elusive Protea Canary.
The reserve includes a small wildflower garden where large numbers of Cape Sugarbirds and Orange-breasted Sunbirds congregate. Other common species to be found in the garden are Black Saw-wing Swallow, Cape Bulbul, Bar-throated Apalis, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Batis, Malachite Sunbird and an assortment of canaries, including the Streaky-headed Canary and, towards the top of the garden, the occasional Protea Canary.
Just beyond the wildflower reserve, you can turn left up into the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve. At the entrance gate, a left turn takes you along a good gravel road to the base of Britannia Rock. A path up to the crest of Britannia Rock is well worth the climb. There are sweeping views over wine lands and wheat fields with the Cape mountains in the background. Raptors such as Black Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Peregrine Falcon are often seen wheeling about the rock domes and Ground Woodpecker, African Black Swift and Cape Siskin may also be spotted.
The road that turns right at the entrance gate leads on to the network of roads that encircles the rolling plateau of the mountain top and is recommended more for its scenic attraction than birding.
Directions: The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is easily reached from the R45 (Main Road). Turn left off Main Rd onto Jan Phillips Mountain Drive. The drive winds up through vineyards, then contours northwards, passing the wildflower garden before turning into the reserve.
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