Birding is a perfect hobby for families to enjoy together. It is a means to get people away from their devices, into nature and enjoying an activity with a common goal.
Our Fish Eagle Hiking Trail boasts an enormous number of birds for its size. Due to our involvement with BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative), we have attempted to farm with as low impact on the environment as possible. This offers a birdwatching delight as the birds remain in their natural habitat and continue to thrive alongside our vineyards.
If you’re looking for a birdwatching area in Cape Town, this is a 2-hour drive away from the Mother City.
Who can use the birdwatching trail?
The bird viewing route at Van Loveren is appropriate for young and old. There are no excessively steep inclines to the route. (We keep those gems for the mountain bike route!) There is some loose gravel and stones but nothing out of the ordinary for a trail. The 7.5km trail should take around 3 hours to complete at a leisurely pace. It gets a trail grading of A1-B2.
The section next to the Breede River is largely shaded by the Blue Gums which allows for moderate conditions, even in the heat of Summer. This also provides a perfect spot for a picnic, a short respite and some prime birdwatching.
What kinds of birds can I expect to see?
As with any kind of safari, there are no guarantees and some people seem to be luckier than others when it comes to birdwatching. Hennie Retief, Production Director, and Chrislene, his wife, who stay on the farm, often see the Sacred Ibises land on the Breede River and those are quite common, but the rest of the list may require patience or a few visits to the farm.
There is a breeding pair of African Fish Eagles from which the route gets its name, and they are regularly spotted near their nest in the Blue Gum tree by the river at a spot called Birder’s Paradise.
Best time of year for birding in South Africa?
Wynand, our founder Hennie Retief's son, knows the farm landscape like the back of his hand. He and his wife Penny, are avid bird watchers and recommend coming to view the birds in the Summer time. From October to March, the birds show more movement and you’re more likely to see some chicks, if you’re looking closely enough!
We recommend bringing your favourite birdwatching book and using it in conjunction with our list of commonly sighted birds which is available at the Tasting Room.
How do I use the birdwatching trail?
The trail may be used all year round, but we have a definite rainy season in our Winter months. For this reason, we recommend calling the office ahead of time to make sure the complete route is accessible. You can call us on +2723 615 1505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to purchase a permit to use the bird viewing trail and sign an indemnity form, but you can do that upon arrival or via our website.
Planning a bird watching tour and becoming a twitcher might not be your mission in life, but this is a great way to get outside, see some beautiful views of the Robertson Valley and spend time with loved ones.
And you can always think about enjoying a beautiful glass of your favourite wine at our Tasting Room when you’re done!