Find out more about the birds you should look out for during this year's Garden Route Walking Festival. Binoculars are essential...
The Garden Route is arguably one of the most beautiful areas of South Africa. From the old holiday town of Mossel Bay, to the heights and chasms of Storms River Mouth, the Garden Route encapsulates all that is lush bush and endless coastline in our country. Stretching across two provinces, the Garden Route offers gorgeous views, unique flora and fauna, fresh air and avian serenades.
If this sounds like paradise to you then the Garden Route Walking Festival is an adventure that you need to include in your calendar. This year, the festival kicks off over Easter weekend from the 30th March to the 2nd April. No matter what your level of fitness, there are numerous trails that vary in difficulty, so this is the perfect excuse to get out there with your family and learn a little bit more about South Africa’s most pristine coastline.
Follow the birds
The Garden Route is home to many endemic bird species, some found nowhere else in the world. The rich yearly rainfalls, particularly along the coast means that this is a bird watching haven for young and old. Should you choose to take up the Garden Route Festival challenge and join others from all over the world, then spotting the following birds on your adventure should be easy.
Keep a lookout for our top four Garden Route birds:
1. Knysna Turaco
This bird is hard to miss in these areas with its conspicuous green crest. They also have a characteristic bird call that you are most likely to hear at some point during your visit. They frequent forested areas and you are therefore more likely to spot them along tree-lined trails, showing off their red wing feathers.
2. Little Bittern
This is one of the smallest of the African herons. These brown little fellas are often seen wading through water, or perched cheekily on bending marsh reeds. You’ll be most likely to see them on a trail that leads you along riverbanks or pools of water where there are plenty of amphibians to satiate the Little Bittern’s appetite.
3. Cape Grassbird
These small birds and might be a little harder to spot due to their perfectly camouflaged brown plumage that allows them to blend into the wooded environment. However, a sighting will be a real treat, as these beauties are very shy.
4. Cape Sugarbird
With the very unique and beautiful tail feathers on the sugarbird, it should not be too hard to spot. You are likely to find them in flower-laden fields as they are nectar-feeders, or perched on a protea, an iconic Garden Route sight. Be fast as these guys are very quick and might just flit away in the blink of an eye.
In addition to walking along the unspoilt trails, the Garden Route’s vast and changing landscape means plenty of activities. Take an early autumn swim in Plettenberg Bay, bungee jump from the highest bridge in Africa or simply enjoy a great meal in Knysna. With so much to see and do, the Garden Route Walking Festival should not be missed. So clear up your schedule and get this festival on your Easter weekend bucket-list; you definitely won’t regret it.