Cape Peninsula – Intaka Island

About the Birding

This unique reserve is wholly surrounded by the office and residential buildings of Century City. Parking available near the visitors centre on Park Lane.

Start birding as soon as you cross the wooden bridge at the entrance, continuing through the visitors centre (-33.8883, 18.5134) and along the well maintained path that skirts the edge of the first wetland. The adjacent reed beds typically hold Cape, and Southern Masked Weavers, Southern Red Bishops, Levaillant’s Cisticolas, and both Lesser Swamp, and Little Rush Warblers. African Reed Warblers are present in summer.

There are several route options further along this trail. A sandy path (-33.8878, 18.5149) circles a large seasonal pan which usually fills after the winter rains. Waterfowl species like Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Shoveler and Red-knobbed Coot are common. The shoreline is home to a variety of waders including Blacksmith Lapwing, Black-winged Stilts and both Water, and Spotted Thick-knees. Common Sandpiper, a rare species for Cape Town, is occasionally seen.
The single hill (-33.8888, 18.5166), known as Bird Mountain, gives a fine view across Cape Town to Table Mountain. This viewpoint offers overhead views of waterbirds around the reserve, and is a great spot to scan for aerial insectivores, including Brown-throated Martins, Little and White-rumped Swifts, and summer migrants like White-throated and Barn Swallows. The adjacent Strandveld scrub is particularly good for both Malachite, and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds.

Continue along the path, stopping at the bridge (-33.8887, 18.5158). This is a favoured drinking and bathing spot for a variety of passerines like Cape Robin-chat, Cape White-eyes as well as bishops and weavers.

The reserve’s two hides are the birding centrepieces of the reserve. The Heron hide (-33.8897, 18.5152) overlooks the largest area of open water. The innovative artificial breeding sites are covered by African Darters and both White-breasted and Reed Cormorants. Patient scanning of the fringing shoreline may turn up Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, and Little Bittern. Giant Kingfishers are also possible. The open water is home to a wide variety of typical waterfowl.
The appropriately named Kingfisher Hide (-33.8897, 18.5149) is arguably one of the best places in the region to reliably see the diminutive Malachite Kingfisher, as well as the larger Giant and Pied Kingfishers. The hide overlooks an artificial kingfisher/martin breeding bank and during the summer breeding season is a hive of activity. The adjacent marsh is especially good for rallyids like African Swamphen, Common Moorhen, and Black Crake. Sought-after species like Greater Painted Snipe and Baillon’s Crake are present but very secretive.

The final section of trial leads you along the artificial canal and back to the visitors centre. From here you have the possibility of booking a boat ride to the nearby Canal Walk shopping mall.

Key species:

Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, African Spoonbills, Little Bittern, African Darter, Purple Heron, Water and Spotted Thick-knees, Greater Painted Snipe

About the Birding Site

Intaka Island is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Century City development. This 16 hectare reserve offers a mix of habitats, with the wetland sections drawing the most attention. Strandveld scrub and areas of woody vegetation are also to be found.

The reserve is disabled- and family friendly with a well maintained series of paths. The two excellent bird hides are especially popular with bird photographers.

The reserve, with its educational facilities, is popular with organized school groups, which generally visit mid-morning on school days.

Key species:

Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, African Spoonbills, Little Bittern, African Darter, Purple Heron, Water and Spotted Thick-knees, Greater Painted Snipe

Other Related Information

Admission:
Adult admission R 25 (R75 if boat ride taken)
Pensioners R 15 (R65)
Children under 12 R15 (R65).
It is possible to take an escorted boat ride around the canal system, with the opportunity to embark/disembark at the up-market Canal Walk shopping centre.

Key species:

Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, African Spoonbills, Little Bittern, African Darter, Purple Heron, Water and Spotted Thick-knees, Greater Painted Snipe

Contact details:

Intaka Island
Tel: +24 (0)21 552 6889 for general inquiries
Website: intaka.co.za

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