West Coast – Lamberts Bay Jakkalsvlei

About the Birding

The wetland can be observed from numerous points along its southern bank. The best place to observe birds from is the site of the old bird hide (-32.0884, 18.3175). The parking area (-32.0889, 18.3168) and foot path still exist and allows the visitor within reasonable distance to the waterbody. Depending on water levels, this area attracts large numbers of Greater Flamingos, Egyptian Geese, Cape Teal, and many small waders.

When dry, large flocks of Kelp Gull fly in from the coast and roost on the dry bed of the wetland. There is also a viewpoint (-32.0862, 18.3151), where a picnic bench and table has been placed. From here visitors can observe the lower section of the wetland where species such as Black-winged Stints, South African Shelduck and Cape Teal. Searching out to sea one can often see dolphins swimming just behind the breaker line. Driving further along the road one reaches the parking bay at the estuary mouth. For most of the year this is closed, but this is the best place to see White-fronted Plover hunkered down on the lees side of the berm that separates the wetland from the sea.

While walking around the wetland be sure to look in the remnant vegetation patches for birds such as Bokmakerie, Karoo Scrub-robin, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Acacia Pied Barbet and Fairy Flycatcher.

Key species:

Cape Gannet, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Hartlaub’s Gull, Swift (Great Crested) Tern, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Cape Teal, South African Shelduck

About the Birding Site

Lamberts Bay is a small fishing village 250 km north of Cape Town. There are several ways to reach the town, the quickest would be along the N7 to Piketberg then the R366 to Het Kruis and then the R365 to Lamberts Bay. The alternate route would be the R27 to Velddrif and then the coastal road through Dwarskersbos and Elands Bay to Lamberts Bay. From a birding perspective there are two notable sites, Jakkalsvlei wetland on the northern edge of the town and Bird Island, which is accessible via a causeway from the fishing harbour.

The wetland provides habitat for a host of wetlands birds typical of the West Coast, and the surrounding vegetation has several species typical of the lowland coastal Strandveld. The island is one of three along the South African coast that have a breeding colony of Cape Gannets. There are also several other coastal species e.g. Swift Terns, and Cormorants that also breed on the island.

Key species:

Cape Gannet, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Hartlaub’s Gull, Swift (Great Crested) Tern, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Cape Teal, South African Shelduck

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
No costs apply.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
Lamberts Bay has a wide variety of accommodation available to the visitor, from a hotel to self-accommodation to camping facilities.

Other related information:

Text prepared by:
Kevin Shaw, Ecologist: CapeNature

Key species:

Cape Gannet, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Hartlaub’s Gull, Swift (Great Crested) Tern, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Cape Teal, South African Shelduck

Contact details:

Additional information can be sourced from:

CapeNature
Website: https://www.capenature.co.za/

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