Voëlvlei Floodplains

The Voëlvlei floodplain is situated approximately 30km west of Mossel Bay in the Western Cape province of South Africa. During abundant rain seasons, this floodplain transforms into a haven for birdwatchers. However, as enchanting as it can be, it can also turn into a dry desert during times of sparse rainfall.

This magical period in summer unveils the vibrant presence of various bird species, including Kittlitz’s Plover, Three-banded Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Spur-winged Goose, South African Shelduck, White-winged Tern, Cape Shoveler, Yellow-billed Duck, Red-billed Teal, Cape Teal, Grey Heron, various Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Red-capped Lark, Karoo Scrub Robin, White-throated Canary, African Fish Eagle, Booted Eagle, Cape Eagle Owl, and many more.

While navigating through pentads 3410_2155 and 3410_2150, with BIRDWATCHER as your guide, the area offers potential sightings of Blue Crane, Yellow Canary, Cape Canary, Bokmakierie, Cape Longclaw, Capped Wheatear, Large-billed Lark, African Pipit, Nicholson’s Pipit, Cloud Cisticola, Denham’s Bustard, Rock Martin, Brown-throated Martin, and other intriguing bird species.

Voëlvlei, covering pentads 3415_2150 and 3415_2145, has long been celebrated as a birding paradise, transforming into a desolate space during drier rain cycles. Currently, in November 2023, it has reclaimed its status as a birding wonderland, bustling with avian life due to ample water.

Traveling the road through Voëlvlei necessitates respect for the rules and privacy of local farmers. Stick to designated tracks and ensure to close gates after passing through.

The next leg of our birding journey involves a 12 km drive to Gouritz, with several captivating stops along the way. Keep an eye out for raptors such as the Black Harrier and African Fish Eagle. A brief walk toward the river mouth may result in sightings of White-fronted Plover, Whimbrel, and other summer visitors.

It’s crucial to note that there are no facilities, including toilets or places to purchase refreshments, along this route. Therefore, please bring an ample supply of food, water, and any necessities.

Ben Fouche (Birdwatcher)

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