Just outside the picturesque town of Swellendam, lies the Bontebok National Park. I made a visit to this Sanparks reserve for the first time in March and thoroughly enjoyed the days outing.
Not quite knowing what to expect from the park, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly and efficient staff at the reception. The park offers a self-drive game viewing area. It is pretty simple to navigate as it is a large circular route that takes approximately 2 hours to drive. The direction is clockwise and ends at the day visitor’s picnic area. Unfortunately I managed to take a wrong turn at the start and ended up driving anticlockwise and felt horribly lost when none of the road directions matched that of the map. After an embarrassing phone call back to reception I managed to get back on track.
The picnic area is clean and tidy and the braai facilities are well looked after. It is situated perfectly along the Breede River. There was nobody else at the picnic area that day and we had the entire area to ourselves. In the distance I heard and saw two African Fish Eagles calling.
While sorting out the lunch, there was a knocking sound above us in the Oak Tree. Looking up I spotted a Cardinal Woodpecker. This was such a cool sighting as I had not seen a Woodpecker before.
There is quite a couple of antelope to be seen in the park. I manage to spot Bontebok, Grey Rhebok and a Duiker. I was hoping to see the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra, but they must have been resting in the shade somewhere.
The birdlife is quite spectacular in the park. One of the great sightings to look out for is a Denham’s Bustard. I managed to get a glimpse of one far across a field. Luckily I took the binoculars that day. I was really hoping to see a Secretary Bird, but had no such luck. I even saw a couple of Blue Crane’s too.
I managed to see quite a couple of raptors in the park. Some of the sighitngs included Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Jackal Buzzard, African Fish Eagle, African Marsh Harrier and Steppe Buzzard.
The park also offers a camping sight along the Breede River. I will most definitely make a point of camping there in the future.