Birds create much of the atmosphere at the Garden with their calls and constant activity. The Garden offers many habitats from cliff face and grassland to water, woodland and bushveld, attracting a diverse range of birds. We have adopted a policy of creating ‘bird zones’ which are natural or semi-natural areas from which people are excluded. These provide safe-havens for birds (and other animals) to find food, nesting sites and material without interference.
The change in the seasons will also determine which birds you are likely to see, as some species are migrants. Some only appear in winter, such as the delicate Fairy Flycatcher, while others are summer visitors such as cuckoos and swallows. In autumn, the Verreaux’s Eagles perform dramatic, swooping dives near the nest beside the Waterfall. These flights are part of their courtship displays, which strengthen the pair’s bond at the start of the breeding cycle. The Sasol Dam and Birdhide offer views of both the dam and a small wetland area. Our bird list (in printable format) lists a total of 226 species. We welcome birders’ observations, for both listed and new species.
The Garden is also home to various reptiles, arachnids, butterflies and other insects, frogs and mammals, such as caracal (wild cat), small buck species, South African hedgehog, Black-backed jackal, bats, Cape porcupine and Rock hyrax (dassie). In late 2007, a Red Data List fish species, the Marico Barb, was discovered in the plunge pool of the Waterfall.
These animals are not always visible during the day as some are nocturnal or they are shy and remain hidden when the Garden is busy. Check the Garden’s Forthcoming Events pages for ‘night walks’ such as Bat or Frog Walks which are held during the warmer months.