Kariega and Bushmans – Thomas Baines Nature Reserve
About the Birding
Just 12km outside Grahamstown, Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is an ideal destination for those wanting to explore the rich historical, cultural, and geological history of South Africa’s famed Frontier Country. Originally established as a municipal nature reserve in 1961, it was declared a provincial nature reserve in 1980. The reserve is named after the 19th century artist, Thomas Bains, and comprises a number of farms bordering and incorporating Howison’s Poort Reservoir and Settlers Dam – both important water sources for the nearby town of Grahamstown.
About the Birding Site
The Bushmans and Kariega Rivers drain two small basins in the Eastern Cape, both entering the Indian Ocean on either side of the small coastal town of Kenton-on-Sea. Both rivers flow permanently across much of their lengths, supporting large agricultural and conservation areas. The Bushmans and Kariega triangle is of ecological significance, supporting several endemic and highly threatened species. This includes the almost mythical nominate race of the African Barred Owlet – which likely constitutes a true species and would thus be endemic to the area – as well as the critically endangered Eastern Cape Cycad (Encephalartos altensteinii).
Other Related Information
From Grahamstown, travel south along the N2 in the direction of Port Elizabeth. After roughly 14Km turn to the left along the R343 in the direction of Salem and Kenton-on-Sea. The entrance to Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is a further 2Km from the intersection on the left.
The nearest towns are:
Port Elizabeth: 110Km
East London: 180Km