Southern Drakensburg – Elliot and surrounds
About the Birding
The highland town of Khowa, formerly known as Elliot, lies roughly 80Km south-west of Maclear and 65km south-east of Barkly East. The foothills of the Drakensburg surrounding these small villages hosts surprisingly high diversity of bird species including several notable endemics and other threatened species. Visits to the area are best combined with a trip to Rhodes and the Naude’s Nek mountain pass, where the full complement of Drankensburg specials can be seen, though these sites are only accessible in 4×4 vehicles with high clearance.
About the Birding Site
The dramatic Drakensburg Mountain range consists of a continuous, abrupt and rugged scarp or mountain wall along the national boundary between South Africa and Lesotho. Lesotho’s Thaba Ntlenyana (3 484 m a.s.l.), the highest peak in Africa south of Kilimanjaro, lies along this scarp. There are a number of other outstanding topographical features in this formidable barrier of cliffs and peaks, including, from north to south, the Amphitheatre, a semi-circle of high cliffs with a sheer drop of 613 m; Mont-aux-Sources (3 282 m a.s.l.), Cathedral Peak (3 004 m a.s.l.), Cathkin Peak, …
Other Related Information
From East London – travel north along the N6, before turning east along the R410 in the direction of Elliot. Barkly East is north of Elliot along the R58, and Maclear to the east along the R56.
Access and facilities:
Note that much of the area is privately owned and trespassing on private property is strictly prohibited. Birding should be done off the many public roads through the area. Fuel stations, limited shopping facilities and banks are all available in the villages of Barkly East, Maclear and Khowa.