Strandfontein Sewage Works – South Africa


Strandfontein Sewage Works located in Cape Town, South Africa is arguably one of the best birding locations in the entire Cape Peninsula. It lies just a few feet from the Indian Ocean, making it a diverse fresh and saltwater habitat. Strandfontein consists of 750 acres of open water pans, reed beds, and indigenous strandveld vegetation. It is often overlooked but can bring in more than 80 species of birds in one single summer morning. Moving through all the open water pans is recommended as varying depths provide different bird species. Though, a wide variety of waterbirds and rare waders can be spotted here. The Best time to plan a trip to Strandfontein Sewage Works is during the summer season, December through February when a large number of wading birds arrive from the northern hemisphere. Large flocks of Greater Flamingos, Grey and Purple Herons, and Cape Cormorants visit the pans. Most of the pans are fringed with reeds, providing shelter for Warblers, Cisticolas, and other species. The larger reedbeds allow a large number of Barn Swallows to roost in. Though, you will see an influx of White Pelicans, African Shelduck, and Southern Pochards during the winter season, June through August. Strandfontein Sewage Works is best visited with a knowledgeable guide, it is not the easiest to locate. It is also best visited by car, driving slowly within the roads between the water pans will cover more ground. Walking around the pans will frighten the birds. Arriving at Strandfontein right before the sunrise provides the best photographic opportunities. Birds become active and many species start moving between pans to feed at this time. Despite its sewage name, it can produce some of the best bird and wildlife photography. A birding hotspot you will not want to miss! Owen has photographed the Greater Flamingo, the Glossy Ibis, Southern Pochard, and the Western Cattle Egret here. Owen visited Strandfontein Sewage Works in September 2015.

© Peter Chadwick - African Conservation Photography

Birds found here