Knysna, Western Cape – Prince Alfred’s Pass and the southern R339
About the Birding
Turning off the N2 from Knysna, the birding only really starts once you hit the indigenous forest at around -33.99793, 23.11533. Throughout the forested areas, Knysna Turaco, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, and Cape Batis can be found. In patches of taller, more open forest, one should look out for Grey Cuckooshrike and Narina Trogon. Knowing the calls of the forest birds can be helpful, as some birds such as the Scaly-throated Honeyguide are easier to pick up by call. Patches of the denser forest should be checked for White-starred Robin and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher.
The habitat starts to change from around -33.92812, 23.16063 to fynbos, and patches of proteas and Erica’s should be checked for the likes of Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Sugarbird. Victorins Warber might also be heard.
At around -33.88786, 23.16443 is an old pine plantation, which has now become more of a wetland. Yellow Bishop can be found. Cape Grassbirds might also be heard from the bush. Small flocks of seedeaters can hold Common and Swee Waxbill, and African Firefinch in lower numbers.
About the Birding Site
The diversity of habitats, easily accessed by one long road, make this route an ideal, if not exceptional road to go birding along. Indigenous and alien forests, mountains, wetlands, and fynbos which changes to become more arid offer many bird species. Over 100 bird species are possible in a day along this route.
Due to the length of the road, as well as all the birding possibilities a whole day is recommended to do this route properly. The road passes through many protected areas, including the SANParks Diepwalle forest, and Kammanassie Nature Reserve. Birding here is done mostly from the car, or along the road.
Other Related Information
The R339 starts on the eastern edge of Knysna at -34.04165, 23.10518 (https://maps.app.goo.gl/ws8EcRmDarNvg7nM8).
There are a number of shops and restaurants along the road, however fuel stations are only available in Knysna and Avontuur.
The road is free to use and is accessible without a 4×4. High clearance isn’t necessary, but is recommended as this road can be quite potholed at times.
Multiple SANParks trails and picnic sites are available along this route, which are accessible for a day visitors fee or by Wild Card. Details on this site is available at https://gobirding.birdlife.org.za/garden-route-diepwalle-and-kom-se-pad-to-gouna-route/.
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