Greater Karoo – Moordenaarskaroo

About the Birding

The Moordenaarskarro is an expansive area and is best explored by exiting Laingsburg in a northerly direction. Birding is conducted mainly from the main gravel road that runs through the area. Be aware of sharp curves and steep hills. The karoo veld is host to Karoo Korhaan, Karoo Eremomela, Karoo Chat and Karoo Long-billed Lark. When you reach a river crossing, stop and listen to the calls of birds. You may hear Namaqua Warbler and Pririt Batis, while Dusky Sunbird feeds on the flowers of perennial plants. At the river crossings look for perennial pools in the river where you may see African Black Duck, Malachite Kingfisher and Black Stork.

The scenery is beautiful, especially after the rain. Keep an eye on the sky where you may spot Verreaux’s Eagle, Booted Eagle (summer), and Alpine Swifts. The bigger shrubs along the road will host Layard’s Warbler and Grey-backed Cisticola.

After about 70 km the area opens more and there are bigger flat areas where you can look for Karoo Lark, Black-headed, Yellow & White-throated Canaries, Karoo Eremomela, and Ludwig’s Bustard (after rain).

You are leaving the Moordenaarskaroo when you climb the Komsberg Pass to the top of the Roggeveld Mountains (-32.683, 20.764).

About the Birding Site

The Moordenaarskaroo is the area due north of Laingsburg and situated between Laingsburg and Sutherland. It starts about 5 km north of Laingsburg on a gravel road and that is one of the most remote areas in South Africa. This area stretches for the next 120 km until you get onto the Roggeveld Mountains.
This is a mountainous area which is crossed by several dry riverbeds. The Buffels River is the main river which runs from North to South through this barren area.
The veld is Karoo veld, so birds are typical Karoo birds with a variety of other birds in the riverbeds with it thorn trees.

Other Related Information

Text prepared by:

Japie Claassen

Key species:

Verreaux’s Eagle, Booted Eagle (summer), Karoo Long-billed Lark, African Black Duck, Fairy Flycatcher, Namaqua Warbler, Layard’s Warbler, Dusky Sunbird, Black Stork, Karoo Korhaan, Karoo Eremomela.