Western Cape – Garden Route Gouritz Estuary 

About the Birding

A quick stop on the R325 about 4km from the Gouritz town will produce typical fynbos specials such as Cape Grassbird, Cape Bunting, Cape Clapper Lark and Orange-breasted Sunbird. There is a small WWTW at the turn-off from the R325 to the boat launching site where waterfowl such as South African Shelduck, Cape Teal and Water Thick-knee can be observed. The mix fynbos/thicket vegetation surrounding the WWTW has Southern Tchagra, Cape Sugarbird, Karoo Scrub-Robin and Cape Grassbird. Drive down to the boat launching site for some birding along the estuary shoreline. Be mindful of where you park as this is an active boat launching site.

Birding can be done along the shores of the Estuary, ideally when it is low tide. Birding downstream to the river mouth will result in Grey-back Cisticola, Kittlitz’s Plover and Whimbrel. The closer you get to the sea, you will start finding White-fronted Plovers, Kelp Gulls and Tern roosts. Be on the lookout for Black Harriers as they frequent the vicinity of the Salt Marsh vegetation on the flood plains adjacent to the estuary.

You can conclude your birding in the small town of Gouritz or take a gravel road hugging the coast. The picturesque coastal road is ideal for some coastal birding.

About the Birding Site

The Gouritz Estuary is where the large Gouritzriver meets the ocean and is situated adjacent the small town of Gouritsmond. The estuary is a good combination of a marine habitat with typical thicket habitat on the estuary banks, surrounded by farmlands on the northern side and typical Fynbos habitat on the southern side. The combination of these 4 habitat types makes for a great combination of birding in the immediate surroundings of the estuary. There is a single-lane bridge that crosses the Gouritzriver about 10km upstream of the small town, and worth including in your birding trip.

Other Related Information

Turn off the R325 at this point (-34.34396, 218677) to get to the boat launching site. The WWTW is 150m from the R325 en route to the boat launching site. The bridge is at (-34.2825, 21.8272).

Key species:

Black Harrier, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Grassbird, Cape Clapper Lark, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Southern Tchagra, Cape Sugarbird, Yellow Canary, White-throated Canary, Caspian Tern, Eurasian Whimbrel, White-fronted Plover, Kittlitz’s Plover & Cape Cormorant.

Contact details:

For more information on Gourtismond, you can visit https://www.garden-route-info.co.za/routes/town/147/gouritsmond.

Rudi Minnie
Cell: +27 (0)72 837 0242
Email: rudi.minnie@gmail.com