Jeffrey’s Bay and St Francis – Humansdorp and surrounds

About the Birding

The extensive grassland and farmlands to the south of the small village of Humansdorp support an incredible diversity of bird species. Drive slowly along the detailed network of gravel roads through this area and scan the surrounding grasslands for the Blue Crane, Denham’s and White-bellied Bustards and Secretarybird; all of which are fairly common in the area. The White-bellied Bustard is easiest to find in the early mornings when they are most vocal.

White Stork arrive in immeasurable numbers during the summer months, with small numbers overwintering. Temminck’s Courser, Black-winged Lapwing and Abdim’s Stork are all occasional visitors.

An assortment of larks, pipits and cisticolas abound throughout these grasslands. The African and Plain-backed Pipits co-occur here. Rufous-naped Lark is conspicuous in spring, when the display calls of Cape Clapper Lark can also be heard echoing throughout. Yellow Bishop, Long-tailed Widowbird, Cape Grassbird, and African Stonechat are all abundant. Listen for the calls of Red-winged Francolin, which sometimes emerges at the roadside in the early mornings, though this species is notoriously difficult to see. Isolated remnant patches of fynbos also support the Cape Sugarbird and Orange-breasted Sunbird.

Key species:

Red-winged Francolin, Blue Crane, Denham’s and White-bellied Bustard, Secretarybird, Cape Clapper Lark

About the Birding Site

Located roughly 60Km to the west of Port Elizabeth, the small coastal villages of St Francis and Jeffreys Bay are popular among holidaymakers. The area is perhaps best known for their uncrowded pristine beaches and surf conditions. However, in an ecological sense, the region is perfectly situated in a transitional zone between the summer and winter rainfall areas of the Eastern Cape. As such, several notable habitats meet within this broad area include up to 5 distinct biomes!

This habitat diversity translates to an incredible diversity of bird species, amounting to roughly 300 bird species, and several notable endemics and highly threatened species are easily found in the area. Top among these are the White-bellied Bustard, Cape Clapper Lark, Black Harrier, Red-winged Francolin, Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker and Southern Tchagra. The region is best visited in the summer months when the resident bird species are supplemented by large numbers of migrant waders and the possibility of finding vagrants provides a constant level of interest and excitement when visiting the region.

Key species:

Red-winged Francolin, Blue Crane, Denham’s and White-bellied Bustard, Secretarybird, Cape Clapper Lark

Other Related Information

Humansdorp is located roughly 89Km to the west of Port Elizabeth, following the N2. Follow the R330 south from Humansdorp in the direction of St Francis Bay. Gravel roads running west from here, in the direction of Oyster Bay, are all productive and should yield the full compliment of special birds for the area.

Access and facilities:
The small villages of Humansdorp and St Francis both support a variety of shopping facilities, banks and fuel stations.

Other related information:

Recommended accommodation nearby:
The only Birder Friendly Establishment within the wider area is the 4-star rated Oyster Bay Lodge, located within a 235 hectare coastal reserve. A variety of activities are on offer through the Oyster Bay Lodge including horse riding, several hiking trails, sand boarding, and guided birdwatching outings. For more information or to make a reservation, contact:

Oyster Bay Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)42 297 0150
Fax: +27 (0)42 297 0150
Mobile: +27 (0)82 700 0553

A variety of alternate accommodation options are available in Humansdorp, St Francis and Jeffrey’s Bay to suit all requirements and budgets.

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

Text prepared by:
Daniel Keith Danckwerts (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours)

Key species:

Red-winged Francolin, Blue Crane, Denham’s and White-bellied Bustard, Secretarybird, Cape Clapper Lark

Contact details:

For more information, contact:

Jeffrey’s Bay tourism

Tel: +27 (0)42 293 2923
Fax: +27 (0)42 293 2924