To celebrate the international year of Biodiversity and as a result of a generous collaboration amongst The Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa, Cape Nature, BirdLife SA, The South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), and Hangklip-Kleinmond Tourism the new bird hide at the Rooisands Nature Reserve in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is going to be a major draw card to the region for twitchers and novice bird watchers alike.
The most heartening aspect however is the fact it is open to all in the region and this will ensure that the abundant birdlife will become more of a talking point than ever before.
Bird watching is big business and the smart minds recognise that good business, responsible tourism and the protection of the environment go hand in hand which is why the collaboration has worked so well. It is a win-win for everyone. As there is no charge to enter the hide the opportunity to appreciate nature in a serene environment is accessible to everyone who is
interested in discovering the myriad birds of the region.
The hide is situated on the Bot River estuary on the road to Kleinmond in the Western Cape. There are only six floral kingdoms in the world and the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest. Its only domain is the coastline of the Western Cape and due to development it is facing severe challenges. The Rooisand Reserve is recognised for excellence in nurturing the biodiversity. The excellence in biodiversity management is awarded because of the local economic development, the community involvement and the realisation of government objectives.
The hide is made entirely out of alien timber. Trees like Black Wattle and River red Gum are known to choke water catchment systems so the more use that can be made from the timber the better. Clearing this alien timber offers job creation which has a positive impact on employment levels in the community.
The Rooisand Nature Reserve consists of 300 ha of prime
conservation land with abundant fynbos. Over 120 species of birds visit these shores at varying times of the year. There is also a herd of wild horses that gallop around the unique ecotones that is made up of sandveld, mud flats and reed beds.
But there is another tone to consider and that is the socio –ecotone, which is being managed sustainably helping to take people out of poverty into a place of opportunity via job creation. This initiative created 980 work days for workers from the local community.
As there is no entrance fee to the hide, it opens the door to curious and new- to- nature lovers from the community and children will be given educational visits so they too can appreciate the abundant richness of the sky that come to nestle on these shores. Birds our intriguing in their characteristics and habits and map the magnetic paths around the earth to enable them to migrate year on year. Just some of the species you can view from the hide include:
Cape Sugarbird, Cape Rock Jumper, Cape Siskin, Victorin’s Warbler, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Black Harrier, Cape Penguin and African Black Oystercatcher.
The Botriver Lagoon is the largest natural lagoon in South Africa and in winter the hide will be surrounded by water which attracts different birds. You can also hike to the water’s edge from the hide and enjoy a picnic lunch in full view of the flamingo flocks that like to paddle about on the shores of the estuary.
The Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa is in short driving distance from the hide and has just been accoladed as the first bird-friendly luxury hotel, by BirdLife South Africa. Members of the new Arabella Community Bird Watching & Conservation Club are able to enjoy preferential accommodation rates. Further to the commitment of the hotel towards local development, they plan to train bird guides from the local community and will also create a visitor information brochure and checklist.
information visit www.arabellawesterncapehotel.com
Or telephone: 028 284 0000