Wilderness Lakes system – Half-collared Kingfisher trail

About the Birding

The Half-collared Kingfisher trail is arguably the better of the Kingfisher trails from a birding perspective. It starts and ends at the reception of Ebb and Flow rest camp in the Wilderness section of the National Park (-33.9880, 22.6082). All fees for permits are payable at Reception.

Right outside the reception office are large Wild Bananas and Broom Cluster Fig. These trees are magnets for the resident Grey Sunbird and Knysna Turacos.  Knysna Woodpecker are often heard and seen in a clump of Milkwoods behind the reception.

In front of the reception is a small boardwalk section where Half-collared Kingfisher can be found perched on the board walk.

Begin by walking out of the rest camp, crossing the rail bridge on the Northern side and the trail enters the forest on the Western bank of the Touws River. In the thickets around the bridge listen, particularly in summer, for the ringing call of the Knysna Warbler.

The trail is an easy one way trail along the river bank, and at one point crossing the river on a manual pont. Birds seen regularly include Green Wood-hoopoe, Chorister Robin-Chat, Scaly-Throated Honeyguide, Narina Trogon, Black-bellied Starling, Olive Woodpecker, Peregrine Falcon, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Grey Cuckooshrike and Olive Bush-Shrike.

Within the rest camp, on the northern bank, Knysna Turaco, Black-Headed Oriole and at night, Buff-Spotted Flufftail and African Wood Owl can be seen by those staying in the park. There are a number of picnic benches along the route as well as a popular waterfall at the end of the trail.

Key species:
Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, White-starred Robin, Cape Batis, Chorister Robin-chat, Cape Siskin, Orange-Breasted Sunbird, Victorin’s Warbler

About the Birding Site

Situated at the Western end of the Garden Route National Park and named by early settlers as a perceived Garden of Eden, the Wilderness Lakes offer superb birding including 2 Ramsar sites and an IBA. Comprising  4 reed fringed lakes, Fynbos and Afro-Montane Forest as well as drier coastal scrub Forest, numerous walking trails plus 2 hides allow for easy access to the region’s birds.

Key species:
Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, White-starred Robin, Cape Batis, Chorister Robin-chat, Cape Siskin, Orange-Breasted Sunbird, Victorin’s Warbler

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
GPS Coordinates -33.9901, 22.6085
Time: +- 4 hours
Permits and maps available from reception (use your wildcard).
The trail is not wheelchair friendly but a good selection of birds may be found within the rest camps. Bathrooms are available at reception.

Other related information:

Contact SANParks
Tel: +27 (0)44 877 1197

Recommended Accommodation:
Ebb and Flow Rest Camp
Tel: +27 (0)44 877 1197

Local guide information:
No BirdLife South Africa recognised Birder Friendly tour operators in the area.
Tim Carr
Cell: +27 (0)71 683 4133
Email: reflectionsreserve@gmail.com

Text prepared by:
Tim Carr

Key species:

Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, White-starred Robin, Cape Batis, Chorister Robin-chat, Cape Siskin, Orange-Breasted Sunbird, Victorin’s Warbler

Contact details:

SANParks
Tel: +27 (0)44 877 1197

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