Knysna, Western Cape – Goukamma River and Blackwaters Lodge
About the Birding
Just outside of Blackwaters River Lodge, there is a public road that crosses the Goukamma river at -34.03155, 22.93878. This is a good spot to look out for African Finfoot and African Black Duck, among other river species like cormorants. The bush on the side of the river can hold good birds at times such as Tambourine Dove and Brown-backed Honeybird.
In summer, this bridge as well as the bridge over the N2 becomes a hub of swifts and swallows. The majority are Greater-striped Swallow, Little, and White-rumped Swift, however Alpine Swift, and Lesser-striped Swallow are often mixed in too.
Blackwaters River Lodge is situated in between forest and the Goukamma river, and many forest birds cross into the Lodge. Knysna Turaco and Black-bellied Starlings can be seen around the whole property, while patches of bush on the edge hold Blue-mantled Crested Flycatchers and Collared Sunbirds. The calls of Olive Bushshrike often echo across the Lodge, which is often joined in summer by a plethora of Cuckoos, especially the African Emerald Cuckoo.
Traveling upstream by boat or Kayak can offer one better chance at seeing specials such as African Finfoot and Half-collared Kingfisher, which generally tend to shy away from the busier sections of the river.
About the Birding Site
On the northern side of the N2 highway, Blackwaters lodge is nestled in between the Goukamma river and indigenous forest. Many species cross over into the lodge, making a great spot for birding.
Although the main habitats here are indigenous forest and forest river, there are also patches of thicket and alien vegetation, throwing in a few different species. Up to 100 species is possible in a day in summer in this area, making it a very diverse site.
Other Related Information
Blackwaters Lodge is accessed at -34.02988, 22.93904 (https://maps.app.goo.gl/qUNbZFe7q2Hp4U4a7)
The lodge does not charge an entrance fee to birders, but request that they report to reception beforehand and encourage guests to stop at the restaurant for coffee or a meal.
The Lodge is open for day visitors from 09:30 – 17:00 on weekends and weekdays.
Most of the lodge is accessible to wheelchairs, however some areas of the property are not.