Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsMondplaas Ponds
Where? Just across the Gamtoos River, roughly 50 km west of Port Elizabeth and 30 km from Humansdorp.
Just across the Gamtoos River, roughly 50 km west of Port Elizabeth and 30 km from Humansdorp, are Mondplaas ponds – one of the highest rated birding sites for waders in the province. The ponds are high on the list alongside other birding spot greats like the Alexandria Forest, Dwesa Nature Reserve and Mbotyi on the Wild Coast.
As the name suggests, the ponds are a series of fresh water pans on the floodplain of the Gamtoos River and, when it comes to water birds, one of the best places for bird spotting. It is also easy to access, although don't go expecting facilities such as bird hides or toilets.
You should be able to see a great many birds from the barrier on the first left turn on the gravel road that takes you to the ponds, but if you want to wander the pans then apply to the farm for permission.
Look for African Rail in the reed beds, and you can be assured of spotting the African jacana, black crake and Hottentot teal. Even the black-crowned night heron is a permanent resident.
In summer there are barn swallows, white-throated swallows and other migrants like the wood sandpiper, occasional common sandpiper, whiskered tern and even an osprey (recorded only once).
Otherwise the air is filled with the cries of red bishops, Cape weavers, ducks of many description and even the odd Baillon's Crake.