Western Cape – Knysna – Brenton on Lake and Brenton on Sea

About the Birding

Driving toward Brenton on Sea, one passes through moist Knysna dune fynbos. There are two viewpoints along the road where you can stop to pick up some fynbos birds. The first one at -34.05315, 22.99038 offers basic Western Cape endemics such as Cape Bulbul and Karoo Prinia, and if you’re lucky, Southern Tchagra.

At the second viewpoint at -34.05976, 22.99759, the fynbos is more developed, and Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Grassbird become possible. When the proteas are flowering, Cape Sugarbird might also be seen.

Raptors are quite prolific all along the road between the turn-off from the N2 and the towns of Brenton. Look out for Jackal, Common, and Forest Buzzard, as well as Black-winged Kite.

Brenton on Lake is situated in a stunning indigenous forest on the edge of the Knysna Estuary. Walking through the streets on the northern parts of the town, especially Steenbras and Tuna Street, can provide one with birds such as Knysna Woodpecker and Knysna Turaco.

On the corner of Tuna and Steenbras Street at -34.05883, 23.02185 is a patch of untouched forest called Yellowwood Park. There are a few short trails leading through the forest here which is good for Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler and Scaly-throated Honeyguide, among other forest species.

The last section of Kaptein W.A. Duthie Avenue (-34.05769, 23.02073) offers a slightly denser thicket, and here one can look out for Olive Bushshrike and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher.

Mudflats around Brenton on Lake can hold several waders, and one should look out for Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and Grey Plover. The best places to view the estuary are along the railway line at -34.05730, 23.01919, or by walking a short path at -34.05831, 23.02852. The fisherman’s pier at -34.05881, 23.03329 is another good place to watch out for waterbirds such as Cape Cormorant.

Just around the corner from Brenton on Lake is another small town called Brenton on Sea. The best place to access the beach is in the south-western corner at -34.07338, 23.02019. Walking along the beach here can provide birds such as African Oystercatcher.

In the middle of the town at -34.07511, 23.03307 is a network of trails known as the Fisherman’s Walk. The thicket along these trails is good for Knysna Warbler, which might be heard at a few points along the paths. Views over the ocean and coast can offer Cape and White-breasted Cormorant, while Cape Gannet could be seen further out at sea.

Another short trail called the Protea Walk at -34.07115, 23.02943 meanders through coastal fynbos, where one can look out for birds such as Karoo Prinia and Cape Bulbul.

About the Birding Site

Situated on the western side of the Knysna estuary, Brenton on Lake and Brenton on Sea boasts numerous habitats and special birds. Birding can be done on the streets of the towns itself, or along a handful of trails in the area.

The main habitats on offer are indigenous forest, dune fynbos, estuary and coastline. Up to 70 species is possible in a morning in the Brenton area.

Other Related Information

The trails are free to use.

Due to the nature of the terrain, the trails are not accessible to wheelchairs.

There are a handful of shops and restaurants available at Brenton on Sea, however the nearest fuel stations are in Knysna.

Text prepared by:

Justin Ponder

Key species:

Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird, Olive Bushshrike, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Knysna Turaco, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper, Cape Cormorant

Contact details:

Brenton on Lake and Brenton on Sea

If you have contact details for this site, please email: gobirding@birdlife.org.za