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The 3236-hectare Bontebok National Park lies just southeast of Swellendam, between the Langeberg Mountains and the Breede River. South Coast Renosterbos dominates most of the reserve, though along the Breede River there are areas of dense riverine vegetation and Acacia Karoo thicket. On the banks of the river are chalets and a campsite, from which two short walking trails depart.



Denham's Bustard, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Southern Tchagra, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk.



1. In the open renosterbos, Denham's Bustard are fairly common: look for white blobs on the landscape. Secretarybird, Cape Spurfowl, Grey-winged Francolin, Blue Crane, and Southern Black Korhaan also occur in this habitat, as do Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Large-billed Lark, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cloud Cisticola, and Karoo Scrub-Robin.

2. Birding around the campsite is very productive. Species include Klaas's Cuckoo, Cardinal Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Cape Bulbul, Fiscal Flycatcher, Swee Waxbill, White-throated Canary, Brimstone Canary and Streaky-headed Seedeater.

3. The short Acacia walk starting from behind the information office is worth doing for Olive Bush-Shrike and Southern Tchagra, both of which can be called up. Flowering aloes (in late winter) attract large numbers of Sunbirds including Southern Double-collared Sunbird and Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird and Malachite Sunbird.

4. A selection of waterbirds occurs along the Breede River.

5. Raptors include Martial Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, Black Harrier and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk.



The park is about two and a half-hours drive east of Cape Town. On the N2 just past Swellendam, turn right at the sign, and follow the road to the park gates.

Camp bookings can be made through the South African National Parks Reservations Office, Tel: +27 12 426 5000 Fax: (+27 12) 343 0153, email:

The park can be contacted on Tel: +27 28 514 2735 / Fax +27 28 514 2646 or email:

SA National Parks Website

Gate opening times:
1 Oct - 30 Apr: 07h00 - 19h00
1 May - 30 Sept: 07h00 - 18h00

Admission is R30 per person.

Claire Spottiswoode and Callan Cohen 1997.

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