Birding – New birding festival for Plett

If you drive towards Plett and turn inland onto one of two roads that points to Wittedrift, you’re in for a surprise.

You’ll be entering a completely different world from the beaches and bars of Plett. Instead, welcome to a world of wetlands, forests, fynbos and grasslands – watched over by the big, blue, bulky range of the Tsitsikamma mountains.

Anyone who wants to see the garden route beyond the beach will find nature at its best here, with myriad ways to explore it. Testimony to the richness of its natural resources, Wittedrift will play host to Bitou’s first birding festival in October this year (see opposite page).

Nature lies everywhere here in Wittedrift – from the quiet, rural roadside trees and shrubs of the Stofpad (bring your bikes and cycle this beautiful, peaceful 5km road) to the secretive waterways of the Bitou River, home to gorgeously-coloured kingfishers, the elusive otter, shy bushbuck and the magnificent Fish Eagle.

The Bitou River is an adventure in itself. It wends its way gently through Wittedrift and down to the sea. Discovery lies around every turn, and the overwhelming peaceful atmosphere redefines the word “adventure”. The otter makes its home here, bushbuck come to the shores to drink, birds both common and rare step soundlessly along the shallows in their hunt for frogs and small fish. Walking trails run along the shores of the river, or you can take a kayak from Moonriver and drift along the lily-fringed waterways. Bitou Birding can settle you for as long as you like on the river-side lapa, from where you can commune with nature to your heart’s content. Bhejane Tours offers a unique eco-experience in their bio-mimicry camp on the shores of the Bitou, with guided routes by expert guides. No matter how you do it, the call of the Bitou wetland should be answered.

Moving away from the water, there’s plenty more to see and do. Go on an outride from Boschrivier Farm; it doesn’t matter if you’re inexperienced or a seasoned rider, there is the right horse to give you a confident and enjoyable ride. The route will take you through forests, grasslands, across streams and all the way you’ll enjoy the freedom in nature that only horse-riding can give you.

Hunger Games and Game of Thrones have inspired many to try and master one of the oldest weapons in the history of war – bow and arrow. Howberry Hills farm has a great archery setup to get you hitting your target in no time. It’s elegant, takes skill, and will instil you with a sense of victory when you get it right.

Wittedrift boasts two game reserves. At the end of the Stofpad lies Giraffe View Safari Camp, where you can get up close and (almost) personal with a range of game, including the beautiful masaai giraffe with its starburst markings and of course the now-famous Plett Game reserve. Take a drive over the grasslands and then up into indigenous forest for the variety and diversity of flora and fauna for which Wittedrift is becoming well-known.

Why not stay overnight and enjoy the tranquillity? – Bella Manga, Eventide Lodge, Boschrivier Farm, Giraffe View and Moonriver provide a range of high quality accommodation at affordable prices.

These are just some of the activities in which you can immerse yourself, getting back to nature and finding adventure in the most unlikely way. We can honestly say that the word “adventure” doesn’t always involve high speeds, big machines and defying the odds. Here in Wittedrift it means finding the unexpected, making yourself invisible, and discovering natural treasures that are hidden from a casual (or hasty) passer-by.

WITTEDRIFT BIRDING FESTIVAL

19 – 27 October

• Guided birding tours
• Birding on horseback
• Birding expert talks
• Bird ringing demos

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