Bosch Luys Kloof Private Nature Reserve

About the Birding

Bosch Luys Kloof is located near the scenic Seweweekspoort, just off the famous R62. The lodge is nestled in an isolated valley in the Karoo, north of the Great Swartberg. It is surrounded by unspoilt mountain wilderness and more than 130 different bird species, including a number of endemics have been recorded. The two bird hides, the lodge’s garden and any one of our guided drives or various hiking trails will provide you with ample opportunity to see a number of different bird species. The lodge and Reserve do not allow day visitors, but a drive along the main gravel road ending at Gamkapoort dam on the border of our eastern boundary is accessible to the public, allowing the opportunity for great sightings.

The Reserve lies in the Cape Fold Belt and is stretched out from east to west covering around 13 700ha of mostly mountainous terrain in the Karoo. The main road through the Reserve is a servitude road providing access to the Dept Water Affairs run Gamkapoort dam and is accessible to the general public. All other roads leading off the main road are private property and no access is allowed there to day visitors. There is good birding to be had driving along the Reserve main road. Entering at the main gate close to the northern entrance to Seweweekspoort you will travel along an elevated plateau for around 1km through mixed Inland Renosterveld and Mountain Fynbos. Grey-backed Cisticola frequent this area and in summer months Booted Eagle can be seen. Cape Eagle Owl have been heard here at night, and one of their favoured prey items, the Hewitt’s Red Rock Rabbit is regularly seen on the road here at night. The descent down the Bosch Luys Kloof pass transports you through a different vegetation type, Karroid Thicket, into the valley below. Keep your eyes open for Rock Kestrel during the descent, and Verreaux Eagle are often seen soaring here too scanning the cliffs for their favourite prey, Rock Hyrax. Be on the lookout for amongst others Southern Tchagra, White-backed Mousebirds and Pririt Batis amongst the thickets lower down approaching the lodge. At an area signposted ‘Dassiedraai’ Red-Winged Starling are common, as are Rock Martin.

The lodges garden attracts many species including Sombre Greenbul, Cape Rock Thrush, Karoo Thrush, Cape Spurfowl, Mountain Wheatear, Cape Bulbul, Malachite Sunbird, Bar-Throated Apalis, White-Throated Canary, Fiscal Flycatcher, and many more. Unfortunately, the lodge does not allow day visitors, but overnight guests can enjoy some great birding from the garden.

Driving from the lodge towards the Gamkapoort dam to the east you will pass one of our bird hides (only accessible to overnight lodge guests) signposted ‘Prammetjie Waterhole and Birdhide’. The hide is located in Acacia Riverine Thicket, a left-turn off the road at this point and keeping left roughly 400m along a jeep track you will see the watering hole ahead. On this short approach to the watering hole, it is common to see Black-headed Canary and Familiar Chat. The watering hole at the hide itself often attracts a number of different species of waterfowl such as South African Shelduck, Egyptian Goose and African Black Duck to Acacia Pied Barbet, Cape Wagtail, Fairy Flycatcher, Streaky-headed Seedeater, Fiscal Flycatcher, Pririt Batis, Cape Bunting, all three species of Mousebird (Speckled, Red-faced and White-backed), Hamerkop, White-throated Canary, occasionally Brown-Hooded Kingfisher, Spur-Winged Goose and Rock Martins amongst many other species.

Common sightings on either side of the Acacia Riverine Thicket in more open veld further along the road towards Gamkapoort dam are Pale Chanting Goshawk, Karoo Prinia, Karoo Chat and Karoo Scrub Robin, with White-Necked Raven pairs commonly seen flying overhead. Black Stork and Martial Eagle have also been spotted along this section on more than one occasion.

Long-billed Crombec, Bokmakierie, Cape Penduline Tit and Southern Grey Tit have been spotted close to the gate between the Reserve and the Gamkapoort dam, roughly 9km from the lodge, as well as in the lodge’s garden.

The dam itself was built for flood control, damming up the Dwijka and Gamka rivers, and water stored here is frequently released for irrigation downstream. For this reason, the water levels can vary, but African Fish Eagle are commonly encountered here along with a host of other waterfowl (African Darter, White-Breasted Cormorant, Red-billed Teal, South African Shelduck, Yellow-billed Duck, African Spoonbill, Black-Headed Heron, Blacksmith Lapwing and Three-banded Plover to name just a few).

About the Birding Site

There are a number of different vegetation types on the Reserve in turn creating a diversity of habitats for different bird species. Mountain Fynbos dominates the higher reaches along the southern border just north of the well-known Gamkaskloof (Die Hel), while Karroid Thicket makes up the rest of the Reserve south of the Bosch Luys Kloof River. A band of Acacia Riverine Thicket runs east to west along the centre of Bosch Luys Kloof on either side of the river all along the central valley floor and provides ample nesting sites for many bird species. Karroid Broken Veld and Inland Renosterveld dominate the northern section of the Reserve leading up to the Witteberg mountain.

Other Related Information

The Bosch Luys Kloof lodge and Reserve is not open for day visitors, but the main gravel road running all the way through the Reserve from our entrance gate (-33.350428, 21.457776) near to Seweweekspoort on the west to the Gamkapoort dam (-33.2992223, 21.625787) on the eastern end is accessible and provides great birding opportunities.

Text prepared by: Bruce Garven, Reserve General Manager, Bosch Luys Kloof

Key species:

Verreaux’s Eagle, Pririt Batis, Layard’s Tit-babbler, Karoo Prinia, Black-headed Canary, Southern Tchagra, Fairy Flycatcher, Spotted Eagle Owl, Karoo Chat, Grey-backed Cisticola

Contact details:

Bosch Luys Kloof Private Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)23 581 5046
Email: / 

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