Plettenberg Bay, situated along the Garden Route region of the Western Cape Province of South Africa, is internationally renowned as a tourist destination – and understandably so. Plett offers visitors the delights of the Cape Floral Kingdom’s 9 000 fynbos species, spectacular forest, mountain and seascapes, whale and dolphin watching, cultural history and cultural diversity.
One of the region’s greatest assets is the diversity of bird species found here. It hosts a range of often sought-after endemic bird species. In fact, 50% of the endemic bird species found in South Africa, can be seen in Plettenberg Bay.
Many exciting birding opportunities exist: Forest birding at Nature’s Valley, the Kelp Gull breeding colony at Keurbooms Beach, the migratory waders on the Bitou River floodplain and the seabirds along the Keurbooms estuary; all present excellent birding opportunities. The region further boasts a well established tourism infrastructure that offers a broad spectrum of accommodation alternatives to suit every budget. The area is well equipped to cope with the demands set by local and international birders and offers qualified and experienced bird guides and birding checklists for the intrepid and experienced twitcher.
Many visitors to the Plettenberg Bay area are attracted by the diversity of bird species in the region. This diversity has two basic characteristics: On the one hand, a variety of endemic species are to be found and, on the other, many species not usually associated with the Western Cape are fairly common in the Plettenberg Bay region.
Endemism refers to species that are restricted to a certain region and that can be found nowhere else in the world. Southern Africa is fortunate to have a high level of endemism in all forms of life and South Africa, as a country, is considered by some to be the third most biologically diverse country in the world.
A whopping 57 of the Southern Africa’s endemic bird species and 32 of the near-endemic species are found in relatively close proximity to Plettenberg Bay. With these 89 species, this region alone boasts more endemic birds than most countries have to offer. A further advantage is that most of these species are fairly easily accessible and bird guides, eager to part with appropriate local knowledge, are readily available (see Guiding & Hot Spots).
- Birders never endanger the welfare of birds, wildlife and / or the natural environment
- Birders observe and photograph birds without knowingly disturbing them in any significant way
- Birders avoid chasing and repeatedly flushing birds
- Birders only sparingly use recordings and similar methods of attracting birds
- Birders keep an appropriate distance from nests and nesting colonies so as not to disturb them
- Birders refrain from handling birds or eggs unless engaged in recognized research activities
- Birders stay on existing trails and pathways to avoid trampling or otherwise disturbing fragile habitat
- Birders always respect the rights of others
- Birders respect the privacy and property of others by observing “No trespassing” signs
- Birders practice common courtesy
- Birders always behave in a manner that will enhance the image of the birding community
- Birders teach others by example