Knysna Area: Western Cape – Lake Brenton and Yellow-wood Bird Sanctuary

About the Birding

From Knysna town drive along N2 west towards George, cross the White Bridge and turn left on the road marked Belvedere and Brenton on Sea. Carry on along this road, ignoring the turn off to Belvedere, go up the hill, and carry on down the other side until you see a turn on the left to Lake Brenton. At 6.4lms from the N2. Along this road look at the fynbos if it is flowering for Greater, Amethyst, and Orange-breasted Sunbirds. Just before you turn left to Lakes Brenton, the fynbos on the left-hand side of the road are good for Cape Grassbird, Victorin’s Warbler, Grey-backed Cisticola and Karoo Prinia. Drive slowly down the road to the bottom watching the bushes and power lines for interesting birds. At the T junction at the bottom turn right into Capt. W.A. Duthie Avenue and drive to near the slipway into the Lagoon. This area is good for looking to the mudflats for waders and often there are Pied Kingfishers and White-throated Swallows on the nearby jetty, as well as a huge number of Cape Cormorants at times. The surrounding bushes are very good for Fiscal Flycatchers and Orange-breasted Bush-shrikes. Turn back along Capt Duthie Drive and look for a small dam on the right, before a hump in the road over a culvert. This area is excellent for Spotted Thick-knees, and also Common Moorhen, and various species of duck in the water. Grey and Black-headed Herons nest in the trees. Turn left up Stompneus Ave, following the signs to Glen House Self-catering, then turn right and Glen House is on the left and Yellow-wood Bird Sanctuary is on the right. You can park on the grass here.

About the Birding Site

There is excellent forest birding here in this area of natural afro-montane forest with some large Yellow-wood trees. There is a bench near where you park, so you can sit and look and listen for Blue-mantled Crested Flycatchers all year as well as African Paradise Flycatchers in summer, Chorister Robin-Chat, Olive Thrush, Cape Batis, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Knysna Warbler, Knysna Turaco, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Olive and Knysna Woodpeckers and both Collared and Grey Sunbirds. There is a short walk called the David Davies Meander into some thicker bushes, which is good for Terrestrial Brownbuls, Common and Swee Waxbills, Forest Canary and Black-backed Puffbacks. You can walk through the trees to the gravel road that goes to the old railway line. This area is good for Black Cuckooshrike, Levaillants Cisticola and Yellow Bishop. In summer this whole area is excellent for cuckoos- African Emerald, Klaass’, Red-chested and Diederick.

After visiting Lake Brenton, you can drive back to the top of the hill and turn left to Brenton on Sea. In front of the hotel there are viewing sites with benches overlooking Buffalo Bay and the beach. Here you can see Kelp Gulls, African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers scurrying around on the sand. This is a good whale-watching site in winter.

Key species:

Cape Grassbird, Victorin’s Warbler, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Chorister Robin-Chat, Knysna Turaco, Knysna Warbler, Olive Wood-pecker, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Grey Sunbird, Black-cuckoo Shrike

Contact details:

Lake Brenton and Yellow-wood Bird Sanctuary

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