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The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve comprising 1910 ha falls under the control of the Paarl Municipality and offers a variety of birding opportunities to visitors. The picturesque landscape is dominated by fynbos vegetation and rounded granite outcrops. Together with species associated with the surrounding fynbos vegetation, the mountain attracts a number of species associated with the drier western and moister eastern regions.

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Specials

Protea Seedeater, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Siskin, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Karoo Scrub-Robin.

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Habitat

Paarl Mountain is covered predominantly by fynbos, interspersed with densely vegetated granitic outcrops and riverine valleys on the southern and eastern slopes.

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Facilities

The reserve consists of a network of gravel roads and paths. The roads and paths are dotted with numerous picnic spots and viewpoints. A picnic spot is also present at the Wildflower garden.

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Birding

1. The Wildflower garden is a good place to find a variety of the commoner species such as Cape Bulbul, Bar-throated Apalis, Karoo Prinia, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cape Batis, Southern Boubou, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite Sunbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin and Brimstone Canary. The garden is also home to the elusive Protea Seedeater, which should not be confused with the similar Streaky-headed Seedeater, which is also present. Check the drier vegetation on the northern side of the garden for the inquisitive Karoo Scrub-Robin.

2. In the reserve itself one can expect to see species such as Neddicky, Acacia Pied Barbet, Cape Spurfowl, Grey-backed Cisticola, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Cape Bulbul, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Grassbird, Speckled Mousebird, Ground Woodpecker and Cape Rock-Thrush. The various dams hold African Black Duck and Giant Kingfisher. Keep a check on the skies above for Alpine Swift and African Black Swift as well as Greater Striped Swallow (summer).

3. The fringes of the forested valleys on the southern and eastern sides of the mountain are an excellent place to look for the Protea Seedeater as well as a number of other species including Fiscal Flycatcher, African Olive-Pigeon, Swee Waxbill, Black Saw-wing and Klaas's Cuckoo. More unusual visitors to this part of the reserve include Brown-backed Honeybird and Grey Tit. Within the forested valleys and more densely vegetated areas, you can hope to see Cape Batis, Red-chested Cuckoo (summer), African Paradise-Flycatcher (summer), African Dusky Flycatcher and Southern Boubou. Although recorded infrequently, birders spending time in the thicker riverine vegetation might be lucky enough to see birds such as Olive Bush-Shrike, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher and Knysna Woodpecker.

4. Birds of prey recorded on the mountain include Verreauxs' Eagle, Booted Eagle (mostly summer), Peregrine Falcon, African Goshawk, Black Sparrowhawk, African Harrier-Hawk, Steppe Buzzard (summer) and Jackal Buzzard.

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General

The mountain can be accessed from various places, the easiest of which is from the main road in Paarl. Take the N1 from Cape Town and travel approximately 60km and then take the first turn-off into the town of Paarl (R45). Travel along this road and shortly after the KWV buildings on the right, look for a signpost towards the Jan Phillips Drive on the left. Take the Jan Phillips Drive on the left. Follow the road up the mountain until a T-junction where one turns right towards the Flower garden. Entrance to the mountain Reserve is a short distance past the garden. Alternatively, form the main road, one could head towards the Language Monument and then take a small gravel road to the right shortly before the monument. A small fee is required for entrance to the mountain Reserve.

The Nature Reserve is open daily from 07:00 - 18:00 during winter & 07:00 - 19:00 in summer.

Tel +27 21 807 4500
Tel +27 21 872 3658
Fax +27 21 807 8054
E-Mail: Information enquiry

Andrew Hester 2001.

Oude Denneboom
Copyright © 2008 SA Birding cc