Overberg – De Mond Nature Reserve

About the Birding

The gravel road leading to the reserve travels through low-lying agricultural areas where species such as Stanley’s Bustard, Blue Crane and Secretarybird and the endemic Agulhas Long-billed Lark are often observed. During wet periods, these low-lying areas become flooded forming pans attracting a myriad of waterbirds. Be sure therefore to plan for stoppages en route to and from the reserve.

The picnic site at the entrance gate (-34.7100, 20.1046) is situated along the banks of the Heuningnes River, under Milkwood trees. Other than the more common coastal thickets birds like Cape Batis, Acacia Pied Barbet and Fiscal Flycatcher, Southern Tchagra can be found foraging in the leaf litter under the trees. Keep a lookout for the resident pair of Spotted Eagle Owls that breed in the vicinity of the picnic site, the youngsters often sitting quietly in the Milkwood trees. Along the river typical species like Pied Kingfisher as well as swifts and martins can be observed.

There are two boardwalks allowing the visitor access to various sections on the reserve. The boardwalk that begins behind the office (-34.7110, 20.1052) takes the visitor along the eastern edge of the estuary to the salt marshes and mudflats. Depending on water levels, during the summer months this area contains a host of migratory waders. While binoculars are sufficient, a tripod and telescope make the bird experience more rewarding. A summer visit should turn up a whole host of migrant waders like Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Sanderling, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank and Terek Sandpiper.

Next to the office a foot bridge (-34.7109, 20.1046) over the river provides access to the boardwalk on the western side of the estuary. This is also the start of the 6.7 km Sterna trail. The trail takes the visitor along the edge of the estuary to the coast and then westwards before turning inland to return to the footbridge through the dune vegetation. Sandbars and the edges of the estuary are favourite roosting sites for several coastal species of birds, most notably terns, gulls, and cormorants. The star species in the reserve is the diminutive Damara Tern which can be often seen foraging in the estuary mouth or just offshore along the coast. The section of the trail through the dune vegetation is host to a number of species including Black Harrier, which nest in the area.

African Grass Owl has been recorded breeding on the reserve and overnight visitors should be on the lookout for the species at dusk.

Key species:

Southern Tchagra, Greater Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew, Damara Tern

About the Birding Site

The De Mond Nature Reserve is situated about 23 km from Bredasdorp on the coast between the towns of Arniston and Struisbaai. The most notable feature is the Heuningnes River estuary that bisects the reserve. The associated salt marsh vegetation and floodplain/mudflats provide foraging areas for many migratory waders and roost sites for coastal birds, most notably gulls and terns.

Lowland coastal fynbos and thicket cover most of the reserve, providing habitat for a different suite of species, while the river upstream of the estuary and the coastal section attract other bird species. As a result of the variation in habitat types 224 bird species have been recorded in and around the reserve

Key species:

Southern Tchagra, Greater Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew, Damara Tern

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
Up to date information regarding admission costs as well as a downloadable brochure and public map can be found on the CapeNature website https://www.capenature.co.za/. The reserve is accessed by following the R316 from Bredasdorp to Arniston. About 9km outside Bredasdorp turn right onto a signposted gravel road which leads to the Reserve entrance gate (GPS coordinates 34 42’ 36.8”S and 20 06’ 17.4”E).

Other related information:

Access and facilities:
A reserve map is downloadable at: https://www.capenature.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/De-Mond-map-and-brochure.pdf

Recommended accommodation nearby:
Limited accommodation (single cottage that sleeps 6) is available on the reserve. There are various types of overnight accommodation on private properties in the vicinity of the reserve as well as in the nearby towns of Arniston, Struisbaai and Bredasdorp.

Local guide information:
Absolute Birding: https://www.birdlife.org.za/go-birding/bird-friendly-tour-operators/#1527800486296-4d544ea0-b3b6
Birding Africa: https://www.birdlife.org.za/go-birding/bird-friendly-tour-operators/#1527800843201-e0dd8be5-1491
Birding Eco-tours: https://www.birdlife.org.za/go-birding/bird-friendly-tour-operators/#1527837069054-d73b5915-e2a1
Cape Eco-tours: https://www.birdlife.org.za/go-birding/bird-friendly-tour-operators/#1527837703508-e06f57e0-d098
Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and custom Safaris: https://www.birdlife.org.za/go-birding/bird-friendly-tour-operators/#1527838131789-84d3b3f2-444d
Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures: https://www.birdlife.org.za/go-birding/bird-friendly-tour-operators/#1527838131789-84d3b3f2-444d

Text prepared by:
Kevin Shaw, Ecologist: CapeNature

Key species:

Southern Tchagra, Greater Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew, Damara Tern

Contact details:

De Mond Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)87 087 3931
Website: https://www.capenature.co.za/
Additional information can be sourced from the CapeNature website