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Birding

The Karkloof is a dream location for birders or “twitchers” and boasts a number of rare and endemic species. There are over 185 bird species listed for Karkloof Nature Reserve. Birding on the forest fringes can offer some excellent rewards.

The Reserve provides an important breeding site for wattled crane (critically endangered), as well as, foraging habitat for grey crowned and blue cranes. The nature reserve provides opportunity for the rehabilitation of previously drained wetlands in an attempt to attract new breeding pairs to this historical breeding sites.

Cape parrots, also critically endangered, have been recorded in the Karkloof Nature Reserve.

The Karkloof Conservation Centre has these tips for those wanting to start birding:

  • Birding Kit Contents: Invest in a pair of good binoculars (8 x 42 are good), a field guide (Robertson’s Bird Guide as found in all our lodges), a pen and a notebook.
  • Identifying a bird: Jot down the bird’s size, shape, bill, feet, habitat and “jizz” (the way it generally behaves e.g. hopping, running, hovering or gliding) which is especially helpful in identifying other birds of the same species. Listening to the birds call is also a useful tool.
  • Learn from other birders: Spend time and ask for advice as you learn and soon you’ll be able to pass your knowledge off to someone else starting out!
  • Exercise your birding muscles: Hearing and vision are the two most important senses involved in birding, so exercise them well to keep them finely honed.

Click to view the Karkloof Nature Reserve Bird List.

It's not every day that you can view an Orange Ground Thrush from your bedroom as you wake up. The Buff-spotted Flufftails were calling in the evenings and I even heard a Spotted Eagle Owl.

Anneke van de Wetering, Rockwood Forest Lodge