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South Africa Free State

Blue Crane Anthropooedes paradisea ©Trevor Hardaker www.hardaker.co.za

Situated centrally in South Africa's interior highveld plateau, the Free State province (covering an area of about 130,000 Sqkm) is bounded on the east by the high mountains of the Drakensberg and the Maluti of Lesotho. From the highest mountain peaks, at just over 2100m, the topography drops away to the west, through highly dissected hills and valleys followed by the gently undulating grassy plains of the central areas. The low-lying south-western regions at around 920m are also the driest.

Although a large part of the province is rural, the majority of the population is concentrated around the major urban centres of Bloemfontein (the provincial capital)/Thaba Nchu, Welkom, Kroonstad, Sasolburg and Harrismith. Agriculture is an important source of revenue and comprises mainly crops, (maize, wheat & sunflowers) livestock- (cattle & sheep) and game farming in areas unsuitable for crops. The Goldfields area in the north-west of the province, centred on Welkom, is one of the most important gold mining regions in South Africa. Extensive stretches of permanent water resulting from mining activities in this area produce ideal habitat for considerable diversity and numbers of waterbirds, especially Greater & Lesser Flamingos.

Much of the Free State has generally flat to slightly rolling topography, broken only by drainage lines and the occasional flat-topped hills or mesas. Characteristic of the western & north-western Free are natural pan systems, comprising shallow hollows with internal drainage from all sides; these represent important ephemeral sources of salty to fresh water during and after the rainy season in otherwise largely waterless, semi-arid areas.

The highest-lying areas are formed by so-called cave sandstones of aeolian (wind-blown in a desert-type environment) origin, and the Drakensberg basalts. Cave sandstone typically forms near-vertical cliffs, often with an eroded lower portion sometimes producing spectacular overhangs, a number of which may be seen in Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The presence of many examples of rock art indicates the use of these overhangs as shelters by early people. Many flat-topped hills, showing sandstone cliffs capped with darker, volcanic basalt can be seen in the north-eastern parts of the Free State (e.g. Platberg, which overlooks Harrismith and Kerkenberg, towering over the nearby Sterkfontein Dam).

Apart from the Vaal River which flows southwards along the western boundary of the province, all of the major rivers rise in the higher-lying eastern parts of the Free State (or in neighbouring Lesotho) and flow north, west or south-west, with the densest drainage systems present in the moist north-east. Rivers generally flow during the summer rainy season only, but most retain at least some water throughout the year, providing water for birds in otherwise dry areas. A number of large man-made reservoirs also supplement the meagre natural water supply in a number of areas; state-owned and managed conservation areas usually surround them. Moist vlei/marsh areas found in the north-east of the Free State, especially in the Vrede-Memel-Harrismith districts, support a great diversity of bird species. Much of the western parts of the province have no natural water sources during the dry season, and birds in these areas rely heavily on water provided through farming activities.

Most rivers and their tributaries support dense riparian bush and thickets, representing important corridors of woody vegetation in otherwise open, grassland habitats. A number of interesting range extensions of certain bird species (e.g. Crested Barbet, Steel-blue Widowfinch & Red-billed Firefinch) into the more open, grassy interior of the Free State are believed largely to be attributed to these corridors.

The Free State experiences a summer rainfall, peaking in January in the north-east (averaging around 800mm per year) and March in the south-west (average under 400mm per year). Annual temperatures range from a maximum of about 35°C in mid-summer to a minimum of -5°C in mid-winter, although mean temperatures are usually between 15-30°C in summer and 0-15°C in winter. Winters are also characterised by moderate to severe frost, particularly in the higher-lying areas, and snowfall may also occur.

About 80% of the Free State is covered by grassland or mixed karoo shrub/grassland; within this and in the remaining 20%, a diverse number of vegetation types and habitats exist. Closely associated with climatic conditions in the province, ranging from the dry west to the moister east, main vegetation types in the province have a north-south orientation. Four types are recognised:

- the semi-arid Kalahari Thornveld/Shrub Bushveld/Pan Turfveld of the west;
- the semi-arid False Upper Karoo and False Arid Karoo of the south-west;
- the broad band of grassveld in the central parts of the Free State, ranging from dry grassland in the western interior to more moist areas in the east (this area is largely devoid of natural woody vegetation, although extensive thickets of Acacia thornveld occur in places, providing habitat for a number of bird species not usually found in grassveld);
- the moist highland grasslands and Afro-alpine vegetation in the far east and north-east.
Exotic trees and shrubs in urban areas and around farmsteads also provide important habitats for species that would otherwise not occur in these historically open grassland areas.

The higher-lying, mountainous areas of the far east (Vrede-Memel-Harrismith-Van Reenen-Qwa Qwa-Golden Gate) with higher rainfall, vlei areas and forested valleys provide habitats for a number of bird species found nowhere else in the province (e.g. Olive Woodpecker, Rudd's Lark, Buff-streaked Chat, Bush Blackcap, Chorister Robin, Barratt's Warbler, Gurney's Sugarbird, Lesser Double-collared Sunbird, Blue-billed Firefinch, & Drakensberg Siskin).

Birding in the Free State

A total of about 430 bird species have been recorded in the Free State, including 105 southern African endemics and near-endemics. The province incorporates some of the most important areas in the southern Africa for certain endangered, restricted-range species such as Southern Bald Ibis, Rudd's Lark, Botha's Lark and Yellow-breasted Pipit. Visit the Free State Bird Club web site: www.nasmus.co.za

Top Sites

Ficksburg / Gumtree Area

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A predominantly agricultural area in the south eastern Freestate. During October, November and December the elusive and secretive Rudd's Lark frequents the damp and longrassed habitat. Other larks of note include Eastern Long-billed Lark, Pink-billed Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Melodious Lark and Spike-heeled Lark. Blue Korhaan, Barrow's Korhaan, South African Cliff-swallow and Buff-streaked Chat.

Free State Goldfields

Large pans, vleis, Acacia and grasslands supports Threestreaked Brown-crowned Tchagra, Karoo- and Kalahari Robin, Long-tailed Widowbird, Village Indigobird and Orange-breasted Waxbill.

Golden Gate Highlands & Qwa Qwa National Parks

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Bordering one another and in the process of merging into one large conservation area, these two national parks are open all year and offer spectacular mountain scenery. Hotel, self-catering chalet and camping accommodation as well as other facilities are available in Golden Gate Highlands National Park, and a fee is payable when staying in the Park. A number of good, all-weather roads, as well as hiking trails traverse various areas of the two parks. For further information contact tel./fax. 27 58 255 0012. Access is via the tarred R712, either from nearby Clarens (west) or Harrismith (east). Habitats include montane grassland, rocky cliffs and deeply incised valleys with sparse woody vegetation. Areas of protea woodland provide habitat for endemic Gurney's Sugarbird and various sunbird species in summer. A stay of a few days should produce a list of over 100 bird species, although this is dependent on the season, with fewer species present in winter. Montane grassland and associated mountain habitats host Bearded & Cape Vulture and White-necked Raven, while a number of Black/Verreaux's Eagle pairs breed in the area. Coveys of endemic Grey-winged Francolin are common in the grasslands, and Red-winged Francolin and Wailing Cisticola may also be encountered. Pied & Red-winged Starling, Yellow-rumped Widow and Malachite Sunbird are present in the hotel gardens, and Ground Woodpecker may be seen on large roadside boulders within Golden Gate NP. Cape Rock Thrush is often present in Glen Reenen camp.

A patch of ouhout (Leucosidea) shrub just across the stream from the main camping site is a good area for Bush Blackcap, Grassbird and Drakensberg Prinia; the shy and elusive Barratt's Warbler may also be found here. Along the R712 in the west of Golden Gate NP, a small hide overlooks a dam where various waterfowl, including African Black Duck as well as various egrets may be present, the latter breeding in partially-submerged trees in summer. Further east on the R712 to Harrismith, but still in the Qwa Qwa National Park section, is the Basutho Cultural Village. Apart from the obvious cultural experience this working village offers, this is the only accessible place in the area where Buff-streaked Chat and Mocking Chat may be found. Gurney's Sugarbird also occurs occasionally at this slightly lower altitude. The strikingly-patterned endemic Bokmakierie should be found throughout the two parks, wherever there is woody vegetation. Blue Korhaan is present in the lower-lying grasslands adjacent to the road in the Qwa Qwa section of the park, and Grey Crowned Crane and Southern Bald Ibis may also be seen close to and in the moister wetland areas. Cloud & Ayres' Cisticola can be heard displaying over these grasslands in summer while the less common Pale-crowned Cisticola occurs in the moister areas only. Although access to the higher-lying grassland areas is somewhat limited, Mountain Pipit (a rare summer migrant to altitudes above 2000m) and Yellow-breasted Pipit do occur. The endemic Orange-breasted Rockjumper, common in the high mountains of neighbouring Lesotho, sometimes moves to lower altitudes in the park, particularly during winter, when snow covers the highest peaks.

Kroonpark - Kroonstad

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A narrow green belt along the False River with Red Bishop and Giant Kingfisher.

Memel district

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Situated in the vicinity of the small town of Memel, north-eastern Free State (on the tarred R34 between Vrede and Newcastle); this area offers magnificent scenery and exceptional birding in wetland, mountain, forest and high-altitude grassland habitats. Most habitats are accessible by vehicle, but conditions of unsurfaced roads, particularly after summer thunderstorms, need to be checked beforehand. Various forms of accommodation, from luxury guest house to camping, are available. Contact Memel Getaways 27 58 9240400 or Mahem Guest House 27 58 924 0034 e-mail de_kock@xsinet.co.za for details. This area incorporates the Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve, which includes the internationally important RAMSAR-designated Seekoeivlei wetland. A small entrance fee is payable to enter the reserve, which offers good wetland and grassland birding. Wattled (rare); Grey Crowned & Blue Crane may all be seen here or in the surrounding areas. South African Shelduck, Cape Shoveller as well as a number of other waterfowl, egrets and herons occur here, and the surrounding grasslands support Grey-winged & Red-winged Francolin, Blue Korhaan, Southern Bald Ibis and Pink-billed Lark. Flocks of Long-tailed Widows are particularly conspicuous during summer, when Eastern Long-billed Lark may also be heard calling from the rocky hillsides. Pale-crowned Cisticolas display in moist grassland close to the wetland.

Extensive grass-topped plateaus and higher-lying mountain areas (1800m - 2100m) to the south and south-west of Memel represent some of the most important habitat for South Africa's restricted range grassland endemic bird species. This is the stronghold of species such as Southern Bald Ibis, Rudd's & Botha's Lark and Yellow-breasted Pipit. Other bird species found here include Black Harrier, Burchell's Courser, Denham's/Stanley's Bustard, Blue Korhaan and Blue Crane. Cape Vultures often roost on large electricity transmission structures in this area. Sentinel Rock Thrush favours rocky outcrops in otherwise open plateau grassland, while Southern Ant-eating Chat is common along the roadside. African Rock Pipit and Mountain Chat may be heard and seen in rocky areas in the valleys, where Ground Woodpeckers and Pied Starlings nest in roadside embankments and erosion gulleys. Buff-streaked Chat is usually also found here and Jackal Buzzard may be seen in flight overhead. Further south, along the Drakensberg escarpment, small patches of indigenous high-altitude mistbelt forest are home to a number of endemic species, including Chorister Robin, Southern Boubou, Olive Bush Shrike, Cape Batis, Barratt's Warbler, Bush Blackcap, Lesser Double-collared Sunbird and Forest Canary. The scenery in this area is spectacular.

National Botanical Gardens - Bloemfontein

Information

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An indigenous tree and shrub garden with an abundance of birds.

Sandveld Nature Reserve

Information

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Open throughout the year, this reserve has a good network of unsurfaced roads. A small entrance fee is payable. Self-catering chalet accommodation and camping sites are available; for bookings and further information, call 27 534 331702. Alternative accommodation is available at the nearby Bloemhof Guest House tel./fax. 27 534 332249). Arrangements may be made to walk in the reserve (contact Chief Conservation Officer on 27 534 331703). Habitats include open water, shoreline, marshy areas, grassland, karoo scrub, Kalahari Thornveld savanna and sweet-thorn savanna. The area boasts a checklist of approximately 295 bird species. Lists of 70-80 bird species are usual, with up to 150 species to be seen over a two- to three-day period in late summer. This is a great area for waterbirds (including South African Shelduck and Cape Shoveller) and shorebirds, large concentrations of which may be present, particularly when the water level of the Bloemhof Dam within the reserve is low enough to expose shoreline and mudbanks. A number of interesting bird species are to be found in the grassland (Northern Black Korhaan, Orange River Francolin, Eastern Clapper Lark, Southern Ant-eating Chat, Desert Cisticola) and savanna habitats (Pygmy Falcon (rare); Acacia Pied Barbet, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, White-backed Mousebird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Pririt Batis, Marico & Fiscal Flycatchers, Kalahari Robin, Cape Penduline & Ashy Tits, African Red-eyed Bulbul, Black-chested Prinia and African Barred Warbler).

The dainty Fairy Flycatcher is a winter visitor. Among some of the seedeaters that frequent this habitat are Scaly-feathered Finch, Sociable Weaver, Violet-eared, Blue & Black-cheeked Waxbills, Melba & Red-headed Finch, Shaft-tailed, & Eastern Paradise Whydah, Yellow Canary and occasionally, Lark-like Bunting. African White-backed Vultures breed in certain of the camelthorn trees. A small area of karoo scrub hosts species such as Double-banded Courser and Rufous-eared Warbler. Large numbers of South African Cliff Swallows and Little Swifts breed beneath the bridge (accessible via the tarred R34 between Hoopstad (Free State) and Bloemhof (North West Province)) over the Vaal River section of the dam during summer. Larger mammals include White Rhino, Buffalo, Giraffe, Eland, Roan and Sable Antelope, Gemsbok, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Black and Blue Wildebeest, Burchell's Zebra, Impala, Springbok, Grey Duiker, Steenbok and Black-backed Jackal. Aardwolf is occasionally seen and Yellow Mongoose, Slender Mongoose and Springhare are common.

Soetdoring Nature Reserve

Information

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Situated about 40 km north-west of Bloemfontein, this reserve incorporates a section of the Modder River, which feeds the Krugersdrift Dam, a large impoundment also included in the reserve, used mainly for irrigation of farmland downstream. Access to best birding areas in the reserve is from the tarred Bloemfontein-Bultfontein road (R700). A small fee is payable at the entrance gate, where a map is available. A large, fenced Predator Park lions and other predators may be viewed is also present. Limited self-catering accommodation is available; for details contact the reserve at 27 51 4339002. Over 270 bird species have been recorded in the reserve and up to 140 species can be expected in a single day during summer. Habitats include open water and exposed shoreline, grasslands, karoo-scrub, wooded hillsides and acacia-dominated riparian thickets associated with the Modder River. Large numbers of Spur-winged & Egyptian Goose, together with South African Shelduck may be seen on the open waters of Krugersdrift Dam, while sheltered bays with exposed muddy shorelines attract various other waterfowl and shorebirds, including Goliath Heron, Yellow-billed Stork, Greater & Lesser Flamingo and Black-winged Stilt.

This reserve, situated at the confluence of the Caledon and Orange Rivers at the eastern end of the Gariep Dam near Bethulie in the southern Free State, is closed during the winter months. Little known as a birding destination, this accessible area boasts a bird list of over 200 species, many of which are characteristic of South Africa's dry Karoo interior. Accommodation facilities include camping and self-catering chalets; for booking and further information contact 27 51 763 1114 or 27 51 762 and ask for 2803/8. Three overnight hiking trails have also been laid out in the reserve. Habitats include rivers, exposed sandbanks, riparian bush, a mix of grass/scrub areas and bushy hillsides.

Tussen-die-Riviere Game Reserve

Information

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This reserve, situated at the confluence of the Caledon and Orange Rivers at the eastern end of the Gariep Dam near Bethulie in the southern Free State, is closed during the winter months. Little known as a birding destination, this accessible area boasts a bird list of over 200 species, many of which are characteristic of South Africa's dry Karoo interior. Accommodation facilities include camping and self-catering chalets; for booking and further information contact 27 51 763 1114 or 27 51 762 and ask for 2803/8. Three overnight hiking trails have also been laid out in the reserve. Habitats include rivers, exposed sandbanks, riparian bush, a mix of grass/scrub areas and bushy hillsides.

Birds associated with the rivers and their confluence include South African Shelduck, Yellow-billed & African Black Duck, Pied Avocet, Caspian Tern, Grey-headed Gull, Kittlitz's & Three-banded Plover, Pied & Giant Kingfisher and African Pied Wagtail. Phragmites reedbeds along the river are host to Namaqua Warbler (with its distinctive call); African Marsh & Cape Reed Warbler. Grassland areas with karoo scrub boast species such as Eastern Clapper, Spike-heeled, Red-capped & Thick-billed Lark, Double-banded Courser, Sickle-winged & Karoo Chat, Yellow-bellied Eremomela and the striking little Rufous-eared Warbler. Look out too for Pale Chanting Goshawk, Grey-winged & Orange River Francolin, Ludwig's Bustard, Karoo Prinia, Buffy & Longbilled Pipit, the latter especially in rocky areas. Vegetated, rocky hillsides are host to a number of interesting species, including Karoo Robin, Layard's Titbabbler, Grey-backed Cisticola, African Rock Pipit, Southern Grey Tit, Short-toed Rock Thrush (often perched on telephone poles along the roads in the reserve); White-throated Canary and Lark-like Bunting.

Willem Pretorius Game Reserve

Information

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This provincial reserve surrounding the Allemanskraal Dam situated in the central Free State is open all year. Access is via the N1 motorway, about 30km south of Ventersburg and 150km north of Bloemfontein. An entrance fee is payable and self-catering chalet, camping and rustic bush camp accommodation is available in the reserve (Tel. 27 57 651 4003 or 27 57 651 4168); while self-catering chalet and camping accommodation is also provided at the Aventura Aldam resort overlooking the dam (Tel. 27 57 652 2200; Fax. 27 57 652 0014). There is a good network of unsurfaced roads. The reserve checklist totals about 250 species, of which about 200 are common or regularly seen. Habitats include open water, shoreline, reedbeds, acacia savanna, grassland, wooded valleys and rocky hills with bush-covered slopes. Open grassland habitats in the southern section of the reserve provide habitat for Northern Black & Blue Korhaan, Double-banded Courser, Melodious, Pink-billed, Spike-heeled and Red-capped Lark and various cisticolas. Other birds to look out for here include Secretarybird, Black Harrier and Orange River Francolin. In acacia savanna Scimitar-billed Wood-hoopoe, Acacia Pied Barbet, White-backed Mousebird, Cape & Kalahari Robin, Ashy Tit, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Black-chested Prinia, Pririt Batis and Three-streaked Tchagra occur.

A number of small seedeaters, including Scaly-feathered & Melba Finch, Blue, Violet-eared & Black-cheeked Waxbill, whydahs, Yellow & Black-throated Canary may also be present. From one of the hilltop viewpoints, various swifts (Alpine, African Black Swift, Little & White-rumped Swift) and swallows may be seen. Red-billed Wood-hoopoe and Red-throated Wryneck occur in the poplar trees in the picnic site just before entering the section of the reserve to the north of the dam. In the more lush vegetation of the wooded valleys, Plum-coloured Starling, Martial Eagle and Gabar Goshawk can be found. Allemanskraal Dam provides a haven for waterfowl and shorebirds, including South African Shelduck, Cape Shoveller and Southern Pochard, as well as various herons, egrets, ibises, cormorants and African Darter. African Fish Eagle may also be seen. Larger mammals include White Rhino, Buffalo, Giraffe, Eland, Black Wildebeest (one of the largest populations in South Africa); Red Hartebeest, Common Reedbuck and Burchell's Zebra.

Contributor

Supplementary Information - Johan van Tonder

Co-owner SafariWise (South Africa)

johan@birdwatching.co.za

http://www.birdwatching.co.za

Rick Nuttall

Ornithology Department - National Museum - Bloemfontein

ornito@nasmus.co.za

http://www.nasmus.co.za/departments/ornithology/introduction

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 430

Endemics

Number of endemics: 105

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

Fieldguides & Cds etc.

See the main South Africa page of Fatbirder…

Organisations

Free State Bird Club

…based mainly in Bloemfontein, but has members throughout the Free State… The Free State Bird Club had humble beginnings, when in 1984, a few keen birdwatchers decided to form the Bloemfontein Bird Club. Outings to local birdwatching sites were organised, and lectures on topics of interest were also occasionally presented. The Club newsletter, Mirafra, was produced from the beginning of the Club's existence, and has been used in various formats to keep in touch with members, and to report on outings and interesting sightings. mailto:gjg@webmail.co.za

Witwatersrand Bird Club

Website

The Witwatersrand Bird Club is the oldest club in the BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) family and is based in Johannesburg, Gauteng. The club is also represented by satellite branches in the East Rand, the West Rand and in Henley-on-Klip…

Museums

Ornithology Department - National Museum

http://www.nasmus.co.za/departments/ornithology/introduction

National Museum, PO Box 266, Bloemfontein, 9300 SOUTH AFRICA
tel. +27 (0)51 4479609;
fax +27 (0)51 4476273
e-mail ornito@nasmus.co.za
National Museum: http://www.nasmus.co.za

Reserves

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Information

Satellite View

This 11,600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier) and the equally rare Southern Bald Ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs…

Sandveld Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

Sandveld Nature Reserve, situated on the Free State side of the Bloemhof Dam (at the confluence of the Vaal and Vet Rivers), is potentially the province's top birding spot. It comprises a range of habitats (particularly kalahari Thornveld), and boasts a checklist of approximately 295 bird species. A two to three day stay in the pleasant surroundings is recommended. Most habitats are easily accessible. Lists of 70-80 bird species are usual, while up to 150 species may be seen over a weekend in late summer…

Tussen-die-Riviere Game Reserve

Information

Satellite View

…Along the open sandy shores of the rivers Kittlitz's Plover and Threebanded Plover are characteristic species, together with African Pied Wagtail, African Black Duck, Pied Kingfisher and Giant Kingfisher. The typical trilling call of the Namaqua Warbler can be heard from the reedbed clumps along the river and smaller streams, as well as those of African Marsh Warbler and Cape Reed Warbler…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2006 [September] - Etienne Marais

Report

…One of the less explored regions is the Free-state, which has the reputation of being flat and boring. Nothing could be further from the truth, and last week, together with Pat Adams from the UK, I had the pleasure of sampling just a few of the delights of this less famous birding province….

Guides & Tour Operators

Birding Africa

Tour Operator

Birding Africa is run by three Capetonian birders and naturalists, Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode and Peter Ryan, all based at the University of Cape Town`s Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Callan and Claire are postgraduate research students, and have recently published an new birding site guide to Cape Town and beyond: Essential Birding - Western South Africa. Peter is a lecturer and researcher, and the author of numerous publications, most recently a new field guide to the birds of Afrotropics.

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Safariwise

Tour Operator

Birding Safaris are offered in the Western Cape to organised groups, family groups and specialist groups with an emphasis on the endemic birds of the region. Birding and general safaris are also offered for the rest of Southern Africa which include Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.

Places to Stay

Accommodation in Free State

Accommodation

Clicakble entries e.g. Brandwag Restcamp Hotel rooms with two single beds, one or two double beds, bathroom (shower or bath); telephone and TV…

Amohela ho Spitskop

Accommodation

Amohela ho Spitskop is a 310 hectare Country Retreat in the magnificent Eastern Free State Highlands, on the Clocolan/Ficksburg border… …Birding is excellent, with those Free State “specials” chats and larks in abundance. Blue and white quilled korhaan are resident, secretary birds a frequent sighting. Large flocks of water fowl, waders and comical guinea fowl are seen daily on dams and in the fields, and blue crane a rare and stunning sight…

Farmstay

Accommodation

Excellent birding opportunities on farms and in rural areas in South Africa - Click around and discover the wide variety of farmstays and activities on farms and in rural areas offering quality facilities in attractive yet unconventional surroundings and at tariffs you can afford - bed and breakfast, self-catering, game viewing, bird watching, hiking, biking, 4x4 routes, fly-fishing, horse riding, and many more…

Mahem Country Guest House

Accommodation

…Mahem is nestled in a beautifully park-like one acre landscaped garden, filled with the colour of more than 300 flowering rose bushes where the song of the Laughing Dove or Diederick Cuckoo will caress your soul…

Blogs

Smithfield Birding Weblog

Blog

Birding in and around Smithfield, Free State….

Other Links

Bird ringing in the Free State National Botanical Gardens

Website

Scientific paper…