Swartland Birding Route

The Swartland Birding Route begins some 50 kilometres north of Cape Town and consists of the regions between the towns of Malmesbury in the south, Darling and Yzerfontein in the west, Moorreesburg and Koringberg in the north and Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel in the east.

The area has a varied landscape from sea, coastal plains, wild flowers (including Fynbos), to wheat fields on the fertile plain, interrupted by vineyards, olive farms and mountains.

It is said that you can find at least 250 bird species in this vast differentiated land scape. This will provide birders, beginners to serious twitchers, with a diverse range of birds to be ticked. The rare Black Harrier and the endangered South African National bird, the Blue Crane, which are both seen on the Swartland Birding Route, will generate significant interest for both local and international tourists.

The diversity of vegetation in the Darling area presents birders with a wide range of different birds from larks and pipits to lesser flamingoes and great white pelicans. The area stretches from the strandveld of the Darling Hills Rd and Groote Post to the renosterveld of Waylands and Oudepost wildflower reserves. The beauty of the flowering bulbs and the immense variety of wildflowers create a unique springtime experience. During summer months large numbers of blue cranes may be seen in the wheatfields along the Darling / Malmesbury and Moorreesburg roads.

Just as dear to our heart as our birds is our flora. Jan van Riebeeck called this softly undulating country between the mountain ranges “Het Zwarte Land” (the Black Land) because of the endemic Renosterbos-veld. (Directly translated as rhinoceros bush.) These dark grey shrubs and bushes turn almost black in summer, resembling the colour of Rhino hide. Although only less than 10% of the Renosterveld remains, the area was almost covered with it in the 1650’s when settlers started to move into the West Coast area.

Today less than 2% of Renosterveld vegetation types are formally conserved, and these are some of the most threatened types of vegetation in the world. We kindly request that visitors to our beautiful, fragile area, leave nothing but their foot prints behind and take only good memories to bring them back for another visit.

Happy birding!


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