Business & Finance

Western Cape Birding Route upgrade project seeks R1.4m

This investment sought by the West Coast District Municipality will be used to upgrade existing infrastructure and promote the West Coast District as a birding destination, writes Richard Cole King.

The West Coast plays home to a diverse range of sought after endemic bird species, such as the Cape sugarbird, Orange-breasted sunbird, Victorin’s warbler, Protea seedeater and many more. The Cape also has several under-utilised and ecologically varied birding destinations such as the Langebaan lagoon. The upgrade of facilities such as this and increased marketing will no-doubt enhance the birding experience and spike interest in others. This project is estimated to require about R1.4-million worth of investment.

The average birder is well-educated, wealthy and committed. They often visit areas outside peak seasons and often visit deep rural areas, that is, they often spend money where others do not.

Money spent on birding

Birding and eco-tourism activities earn millions of rands annually.

  • In 2006, an Elegant Tern (sterna elegance) appeared in the peninsula drawing 250 people, who spent more than R100 000 to see this single vagrant bird over a 14 day period.
  • R1 million+ spent on Pelagic birding trips out of the Cape Peninsula.
  • South Africans spend more than R150-million a year on birding in SA.
  • Boulders’ penguins add more than R15-million a year to the local economy.
  • Birding in the US is a more than US$31-billion per annum industry.
  • On a global level, birders are the largest group of eco-tourists.

Scope of the Birding Route project

  1. The following hotspots will be upgraded:
    • Langebaan Lagoon
    • Bergrivier mouth
    • Rocher Pan and Verlorenvlei
    • Penguin Island and Jakkalsvlei in Lamberts Bay
    • Olifants River mouth
    • Matzikama Ecopark
    • Cederberg and Kransvlei River
    • Nama Karoo (Vanrhynsdorp)
    • Citrusdal and Middelvlei pass
    • Blue Cranes in Porterville
  2. Develop sites by building hides and walkways
  3. Train community on birds (Flight for Birders Course)
  4. Establish site support groups and birding clubs
  5. Train bird guides
  6. Develop marketing material

Respond to this opportunity here.

About the West Coast District Municipality

Located north of the City of Cape Town and nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic Cederberg mountain ranges, the West Coast District Municipality comprises five local municipalities: Swartland, Bergrivier, Matzikama, Cederberg and Saldanha Bay.

Historically an agricultural and fishing region, the West Coast District boasts one of the safest deep-water ports in the southern hemisphere at Saldanha Bay. Its vast, wind-swept, sun-drenched landscapes contribute to the unique character of its population of 341 544 living in towns and villages either along its rugged coast or off the N7, the main road link between the Cape and Namibia.

The West Coast outperformed the Western Cape in terms of growth in production over the short- and long- term, while maintaining a lower than average unemployment rate. The key growth sectors throughout the district include: agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, tourism and mining.

About the author: Richard Cole King is the Investment Promotion Coordinator at Frontier Market Network. The Frontier group of companies includes Global Africa Network – an international media company that owns
and publishes a broad range of print and electronic publications ( and Frontier Market Network (East Africa) Ltd.

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