Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape – Nature’s Valley

About the Birding

Starting in the town itself, one can park at various spots along St Micheals Drive or in front of the restaurant at -33.98495, 23.54769. A lot of the town is situated in a forest, and simply walking the streets can yield many bird species such as Knysna Turaco and African Dusky Flycatcher.

Forest Drive at the top of the village is particularly good for forest birds, and Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler and Forest Canary can be prominent. In summer, the calls of Red-chested, Black, and African Emerald Cuckoo serenade the town.

The Nature’s Valley beach can be accessed from in front of the restaurant and a few other points along St Micheals Drive. African Oystercatcher and White-fronted Plover walk the beach regularly and looking out onto the ocean could produce Cape Cormorant or Cape Gannet.

On the eastern edge of the town is the mouth and estuary of the Groot River. Despite it being a somewhat small estuary, mudflats can sometimes have Eurasian Whimbrel and Common Greenshank. Giant Kingfisher and Pied Kingfisher can be found in-between the other fisherman. Sandwich and Swift (Greater-crested) Tern sometimes form a roost at the river mouth.

The Groot River itself is most easily viewed from the bridge at -33.96832, 23.55974 African Black Duck and Giant Kingfisher are regular along the river. African Finfoot is also reported occasionally as well.

The SANParks De Vasselot campsite sits on the western side of the Groot River bridge. Walking around the campsite can often turn up Lemon Dove and Chorister Robin-chat. Views onto the Groot River might produce Half-collared Kingfisher. Close to reception there is a small wetland where Yellow-billed Duck, among other species might be found.

Trails going through the forest, such as the Groot River route and parts of the Salt River trail offer a variety of forest birds. In sections of tall, open canopy forest, look out for birds such as Narina Trogon, Grey Cuckooshrike and Scaly-throated Honeyguide. In sections with denser vegetation, White-starred Robin might be found.

Trails going through the fynbos, such as the Kalanderkloof trail and sections of the Salt River trail add some more possibilities. When the Proteas and Ericas are flowering, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Sugarbird can be quite prominent, while Cape Siskin is often seen flying overhead. Victorins warbler is also often heard but can be quite tough to see.

Traveling down the Natures Valley Pass toward the town is a very scenic drive, with several places to stop along the roadside. Raptors such as African Cuckoohawk and Crowned Eagle might be seen soaring above the Valley.

About the Birding Site

Many days can be spent exploring this fairly extensive area, on the many trails available. One could also spend time canoeing the estuary and Groot River or driving and cycling the roads. Most of the Nature’s Valley area is comprised of forest, but there are extensive areas of fynbos on top of the hills as well. On top of this, there is a long section of rocky and sandy coastline, with the Groot River mouth, estuary, and river offering even more variety.

Over 100 species can be recorded in the space of a few days in this area, many of which are endemic.

Other Related Information

The Natures Valley De Vasselot Rest Camp reception sits at -33.97074, 23.56222 (

The shop and restaurant in the Natures Valley village are at -33.98495, 23.54769 (

A day visitors fee is payable at the Rest Camp reception to do the trails or explore the campsite. Alternatively, a Wild Card can also be used to obtain a day visitors permit.

To view prices, click this link:

Other related information:

The Rest Camp reception is open from 08:00 – 17:00.

A Map of the trails is available at the reception.

Most of the public facilities such as the reception and shop are accessible to wheelchairs. Most of the trails however have steep climbs or stairs and are not usable with wheelchairs. One exception of this is the first section of the Tsitsikamma Hiking trail at -33.96772, 23.55986, which has a wheelchair accessible boardwalk.

There are no fuel stations in Natures Valley.

Text prepared by:

Justin Ponder

Key species:

Narina Trogon, White-starred Robin, Lemon Dove, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Grey Cuckooshrike, Half-collared Kingfisher, Cape Siskin, Victorins Warbler, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird

Contact details:


Tel: +27 (0) 44 531 6700


Contact Natures Valley Trading store:

Tel: +27 (0)44 020 0172