Western Cape – Garden Route – Voelvlei

About the Birding

There are 2 points of entry with a dirt road/jeep track hugging the majority of the northern shoreline, connecting these 2 entry points. Birding should be done by vehicle and is strongly recommended while staying strictly on the existing road. The majority of birds do not consider a vehicle a threat, as compared to the figure of the human. During the summer months, the pan attracts various migratory waders and becomes a wader hotspot for the Garden Route. Starting from either side is as good as the other. Start slow and scan the pan every few hundred meters.

About the Birding Site

The Voëlvlei pan is situated roughly 35km southwest of Mossel Bay. This temporary wetland only retains water during extreme wet years (once in 10 to 15 years). Both access points have farm gates that are closed and should remain closed. It is advised to get in contact with Fransmanshoek Conservancy to inform the local farmers of your presence and to access the shoreline road. There is a single-lane bridge that crosses the Gouritzriver about 1.5km from the southern end of Voëlvlei, and worth including in your birding trip.

Other Related Information

Take the N2 from Mossel Bay, westwards towards Cape Town for roughly 15km and then take the Vleesbaai turn off (-34.1792, 21.9605). Follow this road for 19km southwards towards Gouritz bridge. As you descend towards the historic floodplain of the Gouritsriver, you will see the Voëlvlei pan to your right. The southern entry point is slightly before the Gouritz bridge turn off (-34.2789, 21.8343) and the northern entry point is roughly 5km past the Gouritz bridge turn off, towards the top gate (-31.2464, 21.8066).

Key species:

Southern Tchagra, White-throated Canary, Pied Starling, Bokmakierie, Horus Swift, African Fish-Eagle, South African Shelduck, Grebes, Flamingos, Ruff, Sandpipers, Stints & Whiskered Tern.

Contact details:

Contact Fransmanshoek Conservancy to organise access to Voëlvlei:  +27 (0)82 084 2791 or fransmanshoek@gmail.com

Text prepared by:
Rudi Minnie
Cell: +27 (0)72 837 0242
Email: rudi.minnie@gmail.com