One Kirstenbosch activity which I believe deserves more shine is birdwatching.

In birding terms, the expansive gardens are home to a multitude of different species. The colourful, the graceful, the humble and the shy – Kirstenbosch offers hours of tracking, listening and watching these spectacular (and natural) Cape Town residents.

In the thick of the vegetation, you can find the elusive forest-dwelling species such as the Rameron Pigeon, Sombre Bulbul, Olive Thrush, Cape Batis, Paradise and Dusky Flycatchers, and the Forest Canary.

Cape Canary by Beverley Klein
Cape Canary
Cape White-eye by Beverley Klein
Cape White-eye

In the more fynbos-rich areas of this Unesco World Heritage Site, you will most certainly stumble upon Cape Sugarbirds, Orangebreasted, Malachite and Lesser Double-collared Sunbirds, Karoo Prinia, Cape Canary and Cape Bulbul. More widespread birds around the gardens include Fiscal Shrikes, Helmeted Guineafowl, Cape White-eye and Cape Francolin.

But perhaps the rarest of them all here is the Knysna Warbler, a rather elusive, drab-looking bird that attracts many birdwatchers due to their rarity – because as the name suggest, this is a bird native to the subtropical forests of the Garden Route.

Cape Bulbul by Beverley Klein
Cape Bulbul
Cape Sugarbird by Beverley Klein
Cape Sugarbird

Grab a pair of binoculars, a field guide, don’t forget the sunscreen and head over to Kirstenbosch to try and identify as many indigenous birds as you can using this checklist.

And if you’re lucky enough, you may spot a creature of a different kind – the very rare Table Mountain Ghost Frog, which is globally restricted to just a handful of gorges on these eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

Photography Beverley Klein

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