Port Elizabeth and surrounds – Swartkops River Estuary
About the Birding
Situated to the east of the city of Port Elizabeth, the Swartkops Estuary is made up of several intertidal banks, salt marshes and salt pans. The river flows from its catchment in the Groot Winterhoek mountains to the west of Uitenhage, descending down a relatively steep and narrow valley. The estuary itself is considered the most important estuarine and salt-flat habitat anywhere in the Eastern Cape and is tidal for roughly 16km upstream, flowing through a permanently open mouth into the Indian Ocean.
About the Birding Site
Port Elizabeth, an idyllic coastal city, is perhaps the most accessible port of entry into the Eastern Cape. Known as the ‘Friendly City,’ Port Elizabeth offers a superb value-for-money holiday base with a diverse selection of attractions, within easy reach, including a number of scenic nature trails, historic heritage, cultural experiences and several bird and wildlife viewing hotspots. Perhaps most important are the core section of Addo Elephant National Park and the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Complex; both under 1hr drive from the city’s international airport.
Other Related Information
Travel east from Port Elizabeth towards Grahamstown. Swartkops and Bluewater Bay are both signposted from the national highway ‘N2,’ roughly 15km east of the Port Elizabeth harbour. In Swartkops, any turning to the right will lead to the river. In Bluewater Bay, any turning to the left will lead to the river. The best viewpoints are listed below:
- Off Mariners Road in Swartkops at -33.8671, 25.6054
- Off The Strand Street in Swartkops at -33.8606, 25.6008
- Off Amsterdamhoek Drive at -33.8523, 25.6039 and at -33.8550, 25.6177
- Off Edinburugh Drive at -33.8531, 25.6124