Northern Cape – Pofadder & surrounds

About the Birding

Birding in the and around the town itself can be rewarding and species likely to be found here include Acacia Pied Barbet, African Red-eyed Bulbul, Pale-winged Starling, Sociable Weaver, Pririt Batis, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Bokmakierie, Cape Bunting, Black-throated Canary, Yellow Canary, Scaly-feathered Weaver, Northern Black Korhaan, Ashy Tit, Grey Tit and Orange River White-eye to name a few.

Pygmy Falcon occur in the area, and the best place to look for them is by heading at least 10km east towards Upington, looking for large stands of camelthorns house some enormous Sociable Weaver nests, and the falcons roost in these and can often be found perched out in the open whilst hunting. Whilst working all these areas around Pofadder, keep your eyes open for raptors, as Jackal Buzzard, Lanner Falcon, Greater Kestrel, Rock Kestrel, Martial Eagle and Southern Pale-chanting Goshawk all occur here.

From Pofadder, the 58km R358 dirt road leading to the Orange River at Onseepkans covers and array of habitats and thus produces some really good birds. Things to look out for here on the flat lands include Karoo Long-billed Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark, Red-capped Lark, the large-billed subspecies of Sabota Lark, Stark’s Lark, Karoo Chat, Karoo Korhaan, White-throated Canary, Burchell’s Courser, Lark-like Bunting, Sickle-winged Chat, Chat Flycatcher, White-backed Mousebird and Dusky Sunbird. Whilst the rocky ridges in the area, covered in charismatic Quiver Trees can add the likes of Short-toed Rock-thrush, Mountain Wheatear, Layard’s Tit-babbler, Pale-winged Starling, Nicholson’s Pipit, Rock Martin, Grey-backed Cisticola and Speckled Pigeon. Upon reaching the border on the banks of the Orange River, keep your eyes open for Rosy-faced Lovebirds at the southern extent of their range. Namaqua Warbler occur in the reed beds, and the rocky ridges just as you enter Onseepkans is a good place to look for Cinnamon-breasted Warbler.

Making your way back to Pofadder, enter town and make your way to Springbok Street and head west, turning left onto a gravel road at -29.1329 19.2884. Here you will start working your way to the Namiesberge, traveling through some desolate but interesting habitat along the way. Not far down the road, you’ll find some water troughs on the right hand side, these gravel plains are good for Sclater’s Lark and they’ll often come to drink here, be patient. Karoo Korhaan, Namaqua Sandgrouse and Stark’s Lark occur in the area, and Lark-like Bunting is common. Continue working your way to the Namies Mountains, where Cinnamon-breasted Warbler can be found on the rocky slopes near the road. Driving this road at night can yield Rufous-cheeked Nightjar and Cape Eagle-Owl, especially around the Namiesberge and the Ghaamsberge mountains near Aggenys.

From the Ghaamsberge, you continue west and at the large junction at -29.2768 18.9864, turn left and head south to Koa Dunes, the bright red sandy dune system is not only spectacular to look at, but it is also the best place to look for the red form of Red Lark, which is rather common here. Best located by call, early morning and late afternoon. Grey-backed Sparrowlark also occur here, as well as Fawn-coloured Lark and other common arid species. From here, you can either return to Pofadder the way you came, or turn left at the fourway stop to Aggeneys and return via the N14, making sure you have enough fuel to complete the 54km journey.

Key species:

Pygmy Falcon, Karoo Long-billed Lark, Red Lark, Sclater’s Lark, Stark’s Lark, Burchell’s Courser, Karoo Korhaan, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Cape Eagle-Owl

About the Birding Site

Named after a venomous snake found across much of the country, Pofadder, a quaint little Northern Cape town, is a key point for accessing all that the Bushmanland has to offer.

Key species:

Pygmy Falcon, Karoo Long-billed Lark, Red Lark, Sclater’s Lark, Stark’s Lark, Burchell’s Courser, Karoo Korhaan, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Cape Eagle-Owl

Other Related Information

Pofadder is situated in a semi-arid region, due to this, extreme temperature fluctuations can be experienced. Pack sufficient warm and light clothing to accommodate for this.

Pofadder offers a number of activities in the area, which include:

  • Self-drive game viewing
  • Hiking Trails
  • Night Drives
  • Mountain Biking
  • 4×4 Wilderness Routes
  • Fly Fishing

Other related information:

Access and facilities:
Fuel can be purchased in town, ensure you have enough to complete any loop roads taken.

Although this is a low risk malaria area, consult your doctor/chemist.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
There are a number of private Bed & Breakfasts and lodges in the area, which are all available through online booking sites. At present, 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:

Pygmy Falcon, Karoo Long-billed Lark, Red Lark, Sclater’s Lark, Stark’s Lark, Burchell’s Courser, Karoo Korhaan, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Cape Eagle-Owl

Contact details:

N/A

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