Namaqualand – Garies & surrounds

About the Birding

Nestled in on the western edge of the Kamies Mountain range, one finds the small town of Garies. This agricultural centre is a key stop on the famous Namaqualand Flower route and there are a few good birds one can target here too. A slow ride along the N7 with some careful scanning of both the surrounding hillsides dotted with ‘Heuweltjies’ created by termites as well as the roadside fences, can often yield Southern Black Korhaan, Chat Flycatcher, Bokmakierie, Greater Kestrel, Rock Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and Cape Crow.

Closer to rocky ridges, keep looking out for Mountain Wheatear. Areas of denser bush, like that of the along the Groen River, which is accessed at signposted turnoff at -30.5904 18.0077 can produce White-backed Mousebird, Pririt Batis and Grey Tit amongst many other commonly encountered species. Ludwig’s Bustard is another one to look for in the open plains, and become more common in the drier winter months. For those willing to put in the time, a visit to the Groen River estuary will add a few coastal species like Cape Cormorant, African Black Oystercatcher, White-fronted Plover and a variety of shorebirds, Greater Flamingo and occasionally waterfowl like Cape Teal and South African Shelduck. Cape Long-billed Lark occurs in the coastal scrub here, and is best picked up by listening out for their long descending whistle. A quick scan out to sea can produce Cape Fur Seal, and occasionally the beautiful Heaviside’s Dolphin.

Key species:

Southern Black Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Karoo Lark, Grey Tit, Chat Flycatcher, Bokmakierie, Pririt Batis, Cape Long-billed Lark, Lanner Falcon, Booted Eagle

About the Birding Site

Located at the foot of the Kamiesberg, Garies falls within the Namaqualand district and although scenic in its desolate appearance, it really comes alive in spring when the hillsides come alive with colour as the spring daisies begin to bloom.

Key species:

Southern Black Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Karoo Lark, Grey Tit, Chat Flycatcher, Bokmakierie, Pririt Batis, Cape Long-billed Lark, Lanner Falcon, Booted Eagle

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
Garies is situated in the Succulent Karoo Region which is very arid and due to this, extreme temperature fluctuations can be experienced. Pack sufficient warm and light clothing to accommodate for this. Dense fog also often rolls off of the ocean, which is not only cold, but wet, packing a raincoat is recommended.

Other related information:

Things to do in Garies:

  • Visit the nearby Namaqua National Park
  • Mountain Biking
  • 4×4 Eco Trails
  • Hiking
  • Spring Flowers

Important information:

  • Although this is a low risk malaria area, consult your doctor/chemist.
  • Accessing the area is easy, travelling along the N7 from Cape Town to Springbok, you will find yourself in Garies after 146km after leaving Vanrhynsdorp.
  • Kamieskroon is a further 50km north from Garies.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
There are a number of private Bed & Breakfasts and lodges in the area, which are all available through online booking sites. There are no BirdLife Recommended Accommodations listed for this area.

Local guide information:
There are no community bird guides available for this site. However, there are a number of BirdLife Recommended Tour Operators that can supply guides or guided tours for this site, Unearth Safaris.

Text prepared by:
Justin Rhys Nicolau (Unearth Safaris)

Key species:

Southern Black Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Karoo Lark, Grey Tit, Chat Flycatcher, Bokmakierie, Pririt Batis, Cape Long-billed Lark, Lanner Falcon, Booted Eagle

Contact details:

N/A

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