Paarl Bird Sanctuary
Enjoy a quiet moment in the 45 hectares of paradise with its 140 different species of birds. Paarl Bird Sanctuary attracts a wide variety of waterfowl. Together with the waterfowl the reserve is also home to a number of species associated with the thicker vegetation growing on the northern and western sides as well as a number of local and national rarities.
Set in the heart of the Cape Winelands, this reserve area offers a mixture of wetland and mountain bird-watching. The higher ground and its scrub hold interesting species such as the ground woodpecker, jackal buzzard and the often difficult to find Protea canary.
Like many other sewage works in southern Africa, the Paarl Bird Sanctuary, managed by the Drakenstein Municipality, attracts a wide variety of waterfowl. Together with the waterfowl the reserve is also home to a number of species associated with the thicker vegetation growing on the northern and western sides as well as a number of local and national rarities.
A good gravel road allows access to all parts of the Sanctuary as well as a number of hides overlooking the open water.
Open water on some of the larger ponds hold large numbers of waterfowl including Cape Shoveler, Maccoa Duck, Southern Pochard, Cape Teal, African Black Duck and Black-necked Grebe. On the edges, check for the diminutive Malachite Kingfisher darting from reed beds. The largest pond holds Greater Flamingo and Lesser Flamingo as well as breeding Hartlaub's Gull and Grey-headed Gull.
Reed beds surrounding the hides hold Levaillant's Cisticola, Cape Weaver, African Reed-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler and Lesser Swamp-Warbler.
Time spent in the hides watching the reed beds may be rewarded with views of African Purple Swamphen, Black Crake, Little Bittern and African Rail.
A heronry on the eastern side of the Sanctuary holds breeding African Darter, Cattle Egret and Grey Heron. Birders present in the early morning or late afternoon might be rewarded with views of Black-crowned Night-Heron returning or leaving their roosts.
The shoreline of many of the ponds hold a number of wading species including Three-banded Plover, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Water Thick-knee.
The thicker alien vegetation on the western and northern sides of the reserve holds species such as Swee Waxbill, African Dusky Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher.
Check the skies above the ponds for Brown-throated Martin, White-rumped Swift, Greater Striped Swallow, Pearl-breasted Swallow and a number of birds of prey including African Fish-Eagle, African Goshawk and Black Sparrowhawk.
Paarl Bird Sanctuary has had its fair share of rarities and local vagrants in the last few years. The sanctuary has played host to both local and national rarities such as an American Purple Gallinule, Goliath Heron and Greater Painted-snipe.
How to get there
33° 41' 28.90" S
18° 58' 36.74" E
From Franschhoek take R45; turn right onto R301 (signposted for Wellington), which leads into Jan van Riebeeck Drive (R303) in Paarl. Go straight over the roundabout. 2.8km after the roundabout turn left into Oosbosch Street, then (150m further), turn right into Drommedaris Street (almost opposite a BP Garage). From here follow the signs to the sanctuary.