Sedgefield, Western Cape – Lake Pleasant and Groenvlei

About the Birding

After turning off from the N2, one quickly finds themselves at Lake Pleasant – a holiday resort on the western banks of Groenvlei. The resort is very foresty, and by being on the edge of a coastal milkwood forest, many bird species cross over into the resort.

In the camping area, African Hoopoe, Olive Thrush and several species of dove walk the lawns. Flowering trees attract a wide variety of Sunbirds such as Amethyst, Greater and Southern Double Collared. Grey Sunbird is also present, and their presence is made known by their loud, bossy call.

Woodpeckers have become resident in the camping area, most notably the Knysna Woodpecker. Lake Pleasant has become one of the best places to find this bird.

In thicker patches of bush on the edge of the resort, Cape Batis and Collared Sunbird might be seen.

Walking along the reeds by the lake can give one some new species as well, where Cape Canary and Cape Weaver can often be found.

In Summer, Lake Pleasant become a haven for cuckoos, and the calls of African Emerald Cuckoo, among others, echo across the campsite.

On the southern bank of Groenvlei at around -34.03398, 22.84799. are multiple Cape Nature trails. The road between Lake Pleasant and these trails pass through large areas of moist coastal fynbos, where one should look out for Southern Tchagra. Cape Bulbul and Karoo Prinia area also around and sometimes easier to find.

The first part of the trail is mostly situated in pristine coastal milkwood forest. The trails later branch off and go through more habitats. Although it doesn’t provide the full spectrum of forest birds, many incredible species can still be found. The most notable species to look out for here are the Olive Bushshrike and Knysna Woodpecker. Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher is also resident, and Black-bellied Starlings move through the area from time to time.

Other forest species can also be seen, including Chorister Robin-chat and Green-backed Camaroptera. Collared Sunbird has recently become resident in this area and can now be seen in several places along the trail.

Although the waterbird diversity on Groenvlei is not nearly as high as the other lakes in the Garden Route, some birds can still be seen. Views onto the lake are worth checking for Yellow-billed Duck and Little Grebe. Lesser Swamp Warbler and Little Rush Warbler are often heard calling in the reeds.

Raptors such as Jackal Buzzard and African Harrier Hawk are often seen flying overhead.

About the Birding Site

Groenvlei is unique in being the only freshwater lake in the Garden Route. Although species diversity on the Lake itself is not very high, the birding in the forest and fynbos around the lake is exceptional. Groenvlei falls under Cape Nature protection, and much of the area to the south and the east of the Lake is part of the same reserve.

The lake is mostly surrounded by coastal milkwood forest, with coastal fynbos higher up on the hills. Over 50 species can be recorded relatively easily in a morning.

The area is also particularly scenic and is always enjoyed by photographers.

Other Related Information

Lake Pleasant reception is at -34.02602, 22.83385 (

The resort welcomes birders, but request that you phone ahead of time to let them know you are coming.

Other related information:

If you plan of spending the whole day, there is a picnicking fee of R100 per adult, and R60 per child under 16.

Lake Pleasant offers many facilities including a restaurant, small shop, a braai area and bathrooms. Most of the site is accessible with wheelchairs.

The Groenvlei Cape Nature trails start at -34.03398, 22.84795 ( Due to the nature of the trails, they are not accessible with wheelchairs.

Text prepared by:

Justin Ponder

Key species:

Knysna Woodpecker, Southern Tchagra, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Olive Bushshrike, Grey Sunbird, Black-bellied Starling, African Emerald Cuckoo, Cape Bulbul, Karoo Prinia

Contact details:

Contact Lake Pleasant:


Tel: +27 (0)44 343 1985 / +27 (0)82 802 1160


Contact Cape Nature:

Tel: + 27 (0)87 087 3945 / +27 (0)87 087 3946