Collaboration between BirdLIfe South Africa and the Escarpment Bird Club bears fruit.
This project has been in the making for many months, and it’s great to see it officially launched. There are three routes covering most of the area around Dullstroom, including the plateau, escarpment and foothills: the Greater Lakenvlei Birding Route, the Verloren Valei Birding Route, and Below the Escarpment Birding Route.
Map signboards have been erected in Dullstroom (Dullstroom Accommodation, The Coachman Restuarant and Dullstroom on the Dam) and along each route (Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre, Verloren Valei Nature Reserve and Verlorenkloof Estate). Starting signboards have also been erected at the beginning of each route to assist with navigation.
The map signboards have a QR code linked to a webpage where information resources can be viewed and downloaded by visitors. These include:
- GPS tracks, route descriptions, top ten birds, accommodation options and points of interest for each route (including at least one hiking trail and restaurant per route)
- Awareness material and species lists covering other aspects of nature such as Butterflies, Dragonflies, Wildflowers, Frogs, Geology, Human History and Conservation.
- Emergency numbers.
- Accommodation options.
- Sponsor logos.
Overall, the three birding routes take visitors through the grasslands, wetlands, rocky outcrops and escarpment forests of the mountain range hosting nearly 400 bird species. See a map of the routes.
Friends of Verloren Valei was one of the sponsors.
A short film has been developed by BirdLife South Africa’s Communications Manager, Andy Wassung, and Inkanyezi Film Company’s Sipho Ndebele. Watch it now.
In his official announcement that the routes are now open, Dr Kyle Lloyd, Wetland Conservation Project Manager/Rockjumper Fellow of White-winged Flufftail Conservation, thanks all the people and organisations who helped make these routes possible.
“This has been a community effort that many have contributed towards because of a shared passion for the Steenkampsberg and its natural beauty,” he said. “Lastly, I would like to give special thanks to George Skinner (previous chair of the Escarpment Bird Club) whose wealth of knowledge, networks and love for birds were instrumental in implementing our vision. Thank you for your many years of service to our community.”