Western Cape, Garden Route – Greater Great Brak and Estuary

About the Birding

The larger Great Brak area and the Estuary area offer excellent birding opportunities, especially for waterbirds and raptors. Start your birding adventure at the estuary mouth (-34.0557, 22.2364), where you can often spot an African Fish-Eagle or a Western Osprey soaring overhead. Malachite Kingfishers are commonly seen darting over the water, while Giant Kingfishers can be seen perched on the wires or Trees adjacent to the estuary.

For a closer look at waterbirds, follow the waterside upstream. Look out for African Spoonbills feeding in the shallows, Caspian Terns diving for fish and Common Ring Plovers roosting on the small grassy islands. Pied Kingfishers are a frequent sight, hovering over the water before plunging in to catch their prey. If you’re lucky, you might spot a Common Sandpiper bobbing along the water’s edge or a Little Egret stalking fish in the shallows. Keep an eye out for Southern Red Bishops and Cape Weavers in the surrounding grasslands, adding splashes of red and yellow to the landscape.

The thicket vegetation (-34.0546, 22.231642) is a great stop for Cape Batis, Terrestrial Brownbul and the timid Knysna Warbler, before moving further upstream via Lang St or Station Rd. From there, you have 2 options to choose from, either the farmlands road leading to Friemersheim or the forest section leading to the farmlands near the Wolwedans Dam entrance.

If you choose the Friemersheim route, take the Amy Searle St at the top of Lang St (-34.0415, 22.2194) where the road will lead you to the farmlands on the plateau. Look out for farm dams and wetlands next to road for a quick stop. Denham’s Bustard, Black-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Kite and African Harrier-Hawk are often seen on this road. However, if you choose the Forest route, take the Charles St near the bridge (-34.0412, 22.2220) which will become a gravel road within 500m. Take a slow drive and be careful of other vehicles on this gravel road. This winding gravel road will produce various forest birds such as Forest Canary, Black-backed Puff-back, Knysna Turaco and Grey Cuckooshrike. Be on the lookout for Little Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk.

About the Birding Site

The larger Great Brak and Estuary area is located near Mossel Bay. The estuary is surrounded by reed beds, grasslands, and patches of forest, providing a variety of habitats for a wide range of bird species. The estuary itself is a key feature, attracting numerous waterbirds throughout the year.

Other Related Information

Access to the larger Great Brak and Estuary area is easy via the N2 highway. Responsible birding practices are encouraged, and visitors should refrain from using playback or disturbing sensitive breeding sites.

Key species:

African Fish Eagle, African Spoonbill, Water Thicknee, Southern Tchagra, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Warbler, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Caspian Tern, Eurasian Whimbrel and White-fronted Plover.

Contact details:


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