What makes this part of the country interesting is its diverse habitat.1. To the south the Baviaan’s mountain range forms an impressive barrier that keeps the moisture from the coast from reaching the dry vlaktes ( open plains ) south of Steytlerville. As a result most of this area is open Karoo scrub where species such as Karoo and Southern Black Korhaan, Rufous-eared Warbler, Anteating Chat, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Sabota, Karoo Long-billed and Cape Clapper Lark can be found. Along the base of these mountains Aloe ferox is found in great profusion, so winter months bring sunbirds to the area – mainly Malachite, Dusky and Southern Double-collared. 2. North of Steytlerville is a lower mountain range, the Grootrivier mountains with some spectacular Cape fold-sandstone formations. Species one can expect to find here are Verreaux’s, African Fish and Booted Eagle, Cape Rock Thrush, Mountain Wheatear, Fairy Flycatcher, Grey-backed Cisticola, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler and occasionally Layard’s Tit-babbler. African Rock Pipit can be heard calling most times of the year and is a challenge to get to see for most birders. 3. The Groot river, which only flows seasonally has been home to African Black Duck, Goliath, Grey and Black-headed Heron and Three-banded Plover. Lesser Swamp and Namaqua Warbler can usually be found here even when there is little water in the river. 4. To the east and west of town the habitat is a mixture of the above. A chance siting, depending on the time of year could be Ground Woodpecker, European Bee-eater, Amur Falcon or Crowned Hornbill.
I would recommend “Noorspoort Guest Farm” only 5 kms north of Steytlerville. There is a choice of B + B, self-catering or camping and the area is like an oasis giving birders a chance to see many species without having to even get into a vehicle! For bookings telephone 049 835 0001 or www.noorspoort.co.za
Because most of the birding areas are on dirt roads I would recommended the use of either a high clearance bakkie or 4 x 4.