Free State (East) – Fouriesburg

About the Birding

Meiringskloof Nature Park has a network of walking trails (map can be found on their website). Mountain Wheatear and Ground Woodpecker often greet visitors at the entrance to the kloof and a pair of African Harrier-Hawks has bred here successfully for years. Other raptors include Lanner Falcon, Rock Kestrel, Jackal Buzzard, Verreaux’s Eagle and both Black and Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk. Red-chested, Diederik, Klaas`s and sometimes Black Cuckoos call in summer and African Paradise and Fairy Flycatchers are seen alongside Greater Double-collared Sunbird.

A variety of hole-nesters such as Black-collared and Crested Barbets can be found here and Cardinal and Olive Woodpeckers may be heard calling from the poplars. Both Greater and Lesser Honeyguide can be heard during the breeding season, usually in the vicinity of their host species. Swee Waxbill is frequently encountered, while Cape Grassbird and Karoo Prinia are also conspicuous. The real specials for Meiringskloof must include Buff-spotted Flufftail, African Olive Pigeon, Southern Bald Ibis (off which a few pairs are still breeding in the kloof) and Barratt’s Warbler, with the latter easily seen during the day in bushy thickets. Other species to look out for around Meiringskloof include Natal Spurfowl, Cape Batis, Southern Boubou and Cape Eagle Owl.

Birding around Fouriesburg town and the road leading to Meiringskloof can be equally productive for various species such as Karoo Prinia, Karoo Thrush, Cape Robin-chat, Southern Boubou, African Red-eyed Bulbul, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Speckled Mousebird, Streaky-headed Seedeater, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, African Harrier-Hawk, Speckled Pigeon, Malachite Sunbird, Black-throated Canary, Black-collared Barbet, Pied Starling and Red-winged Starling.

The grasslands, farmlands and dams in the areas surrounding Fouriesburg offer good birding with Southern Bald Ibis, Southern Red Bishop, Zitting Cisticola, Greater Striped Swallow and Barn Swallow (summer), Bokmakierie, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cape Weaver, Amur Falcon (summer), Cloud Cisticola, Common Quail (summer), Cape Crow, Helmeted Guineafowl, Red-billed Quelea, Black-winged Kite and African Quail-finch. African Black Swift are often seen overhead and even the occasional Bearded Vulture.

Key species:

Barratt’s Warbler, Southern Bald Ibis, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Cape Grassbird, Karoo Prinia, African Olive Pigeon, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Swee Waxbill and Jackal Buzzard

About the Birding Site

Fouriesburg is nestled in stunning sandstone mountains of the eastern Free State. The town environs and surrounding areas offer great birding, mostly on tarred roads and good district gravel roads, the best of which is certainly to be found at the nearby Meiringskloof Nature Park. This site, hidden in a kloof, is easily accessible from town and is situated in a valley bounded by impressive sandstone cliffs

The resort itself is mostly enshrouded in exotic trees and shrubs, but higher up in the kloof indigenous species such as ouhout (Leucosidea sericea), sagewood (Buddleja salviifolia), dogwood (Rhamnus prinoides) and many other species of shrubs and small trees typical to the area can be found. Big old stinkwood trees are sheltered by the many sandstone overhangs.

Key species:

Barratt’s Warbler, Southern Bald Ibis, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Cape Grassbird, Karoo Prinia, African Olive Pigeon, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Swee Waxbill and Jackal Buzzard

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
Meiringskloof Nature Park (-28.603611, 28.224556) is signposted from Fouriesburg. Entrance fee is payable.
Fouriesburg town: -28.624528, 28.208417

Other related information:

Recommended accommodation nearby:
Fouriesburg is a town with a lot of character and has a range of B&Bs and self-catering options such as:

Fouriesburg Country Inn
www.fouriesburgcountryinn.co.za; +27 (0)58 223 0207

Sandstone Chameleon Guest House
https://sandstonechameleon.co.za/; +27 (0)79 898 4905

Die Ou Pastorie
https://www.die-ou-pastorie.com/; +27 (0)5 822 30672

Di Plaaswerf
http://www.diplaaswerf.co.za/; +27 (0)82 927 6712

MeiringsKloof Nature Park
Self-catering chalets and caravan/camping sites in attractive surroundings
www.meiringskloof.co.za

No Birder Friendly Establishments are currently available in the area.

Local guide information:
No Birder Friendly Tour Operators or local guides are currently available in the area.

Text prepared and edited by:
Martin Benadie | Specialist Birding Guide

Key species:

Barratt’s Warbler, Southern Bald Ibis, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Cape Grassbird, Karoo Prinia, African Olive Pigeon, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Swee Waxbill and Jackal Buzzard

Contact details:

Meiringskloof Nature Park
Tel: +27 (0)58 223 0067
Website: http://www.meiringskloof.co.za/

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