Wilderness, Western Cape – Rondevlei and Cape Dune Molerat Trail

About the Birding

Leaving the main gravel road, the road that leads down to the Rondevlei hide starts at -33.99932, 22.71729. Driving up the road, views onto Rondevlei lake can already yield large floats of waterbirds such as Great-crested Grebe, while Yellow Bishop can be seen in the fynbos on the banks of the lake.

The bush around the SANParks Scientific Services building can host Black-collared Barbet and Burchell’s Coucal. An old boat launch on the other side of the building offers a glimpse into the reeds, where it is possible to see Little Bittern.

Just a few hundred meters down further along the road is the parking for the Bird Hide and Cape Dune Molerat trail.

The pathway leading to the hide is good for Olive Bushshrike and Knysna Turaco, while the  wooden walkway is a great spot to listen for the hooting call of the Red-Chested Flufftail.

The hide itself is an amazing spot to sit, even if you aren’t a birdwatcher. In the low reeds in front of the hide, one can sometimes catch a glimpse of African Swamphen or African Rail running from one side to the other. The dead logs further out into the water are regularly used as perches for Pied Kingfisher and Cormorants. Scanning through Coots on the open water, one can pick up all three species of Grebe, as well as Maccoa and White-backed Duck. Southern Pochard and Blue-billed Teal can sometimes be seen too.

The Cape Dune Molerat Trail starts from the same parking area for the hide. Sections of the trail go through milkwood forest, which can produce Knysna Woodpecker and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher. In the fynbos sections, keep an eye out for Southern Tchagra. Some parts of the trail offer views of Rondevlei lake in the south, and Swartvlei lake in the east. Watch for African Marsh Harrier over the reeds, Osprey a bit higher up.

Traveling to this area from Wilderness, it could be worth while stopping at the channel of water that links Rondevlei Lake to Langvlei lake at -33.99152, 22.69601. Red-necked Spurfowl can sometimes be seen crossing the road in this area. At the channel itself, Malachite Kingfisher can be seen flying up and down. Cape Grassbird is often calling in the vegetation around the hide as well. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of African Grass Owl flying over the reeds in the evening.

About the Birding Site

Both the Cape Dune Molerat trail and Rondevlei lake fall under SANParks protection, the latter of which is also a RAMSAR site and an IBA (important bird area). The variety of habitats including wetland, fynbos, and milkwood forest offer a diversity of species too.

The bird hide is a fantastic site for photographers, and tables in the parking lot make for a great place to stop of lunch or breakfast while birding. The Cape Dune Molerat trail has different length options, and can be used as a short stroll or a longer hike.

Other Related Information

The road that leads down to the Rondevlei Hide and Cape Dune Molerat trail starts at -33.99932, 22.71729, while the parking area for the hide is at -33.98820, 22.71755 (https://maps.app.goo.gl/ib8e7GSAF9KE433c6).

There is a large board with a map of the different paths of the Cape Dune Molerat Trail available in the parking area for the bird hide. One can also visit the Scientific Services at -33.98965, 22.71876 for more information.

The site does not charge an entrance fee.

The bird hide is accessible by Wheelchair, however there are no railings on the boardwalk so care should be taken.

Key species:

Knysna Woodpecker, Southern Tchagra, Maccoa Duck, White-backed Duck, African Rail, Red-chested Flufftail, Black-necked Grebe, African Grass Owl, Little Bittern, Red-necked Spurfowl

Contact details:


Email: enquiries.wilderness@sanparks.org

Tel: +27 (0) 44 877 1197

Rondevlei Scientific Services:

Tel: +27 (0)44 343 1302