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Birding at Grootvadersbos Nature Reserve, Heidelberg

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve Birding

Grootvadersbosh Nature Reserve in the heart of the magnificent Langeberg Mountains, is a unique Afromontaine forest of 250ha surrounded by the 14 000ha Boosmansbos Wilderness Area. The pristine natural beauty not only makes for excellent birding, but for some special hiking too. This spot is a birder’s paradise – particularly for its forest species, with about 200 species in total. The reserve is about 22km from Heidelberg.

There are two bird hides set within the forest and the habitats include Afromontaine forest, plantations of exotic trees, fynbos and disturbed forest edges. The edges of the forest and the nearby mountain fynbos provide some particularly good examples of endemic bird species such as the Knysna woodpecker, Knysna and Victorin’s warblers, the forest canary and the Cape siskin.


Narina Trogon, Knysna Woodpecker, Forest Canary, Knysna Warbler, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Siskin, Lemon Dove, Grey Cuckooshrike, Forest Buzzard, African Wood-Owl, Amethyst Sunbird, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Martial Eagle, Brimstone Canary, Red-necked Spurfowl, African Crowned Eagle, Greater Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird.

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve Forest BirdingTime of year for your visit is important, with forest birds being at their most active in spring, but October  can be rainy. It is often easier to see forest birds in the clearing and around the forest fringes.

The countryside, from the time you turn off the N2, is productive. Watch the telephone lines and near Suurbraak you may want to pull over and scan the flowering Coral Trees for Amethyst Sunbird. The farm dams and fields along the way are all potential habitats.

Once you reach the campsite, get a map of the birding walks to the hides, and a bird list.

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve EntranceThe attractive campsite, which overlooks the forested valley and Langeberg Range, is situated at the reserve entrance. The campsite has large lawns, braai facilities, ablutions (with hot water) and a rustically furnished thatched lapa. The lapa has a refrigerator (in which campers may store perishables or refreshments). The campsite is popular and should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.

Grootvadersbosch is approximately 3 ½ hours drive east of cape Town, along the N2. At the settlement of Buffeljags, 11km beyond Swellendam, turn left off the N2 onto the R324 towards Suurbraak and Barrydale. Continue past the Tradouw Pass/Barrydale turnoff and drive through the rural town of Suurbraak. You then come to a fork in the road – take the left hand fork and follow the small signposts to Grootvadersbosch/Boosmansbos Wilderness Area.

Gate opening times: Mon – Fri: 08h00 – 16h00: Sat-Sun: 08h00 – 18h00

Grootvadersbosch Telephone: +27 28 722 2412: Bookings at Cape Nature: National callers: (021) 483 0190: International callers: 0027 861 227 362 8873: Email Website

For detailed information on birding Grootvadersbos.

More info on the town of Heidelberg More info on the Garden Route area

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