Caledon Blue Crane Route

The Caledon Blue Crane Route allows visitors to see the blue crane in its natural environment

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Caledon Blue Crane Route

South Africa's national bird, also known as the 'five-cent bird' because it graces the flipside of our five-cent coin, is no stranger to the Overberg.

Where? The Caledon Area, Cape Overberg, Western Cape

When? This is a Self-drive route best diuring daylight hours

Overnight? See Caledon accommodation, in Cape Overberg

The beautifully regal Blue Crane loves the short grasslands. But up to 90% of the numbers of these birds have declined, in many cases because of power lines and poisoning from agrochemicals. They are now on a Red Data endangered list.

They are a beautiful bird, pale blue, with incredible tails. Their faces lack any coloration and when in danger they puff out the feathers on their heads so that they look more intimidating than they are. Blue cranes breed only once a year, produce two chicks at a time (many of these have fallen prey to the pet trade) and have an elaborate mating dance over a couple of weeks before any actual mating takes place.

The Caledon farmers grouped together to protect the Blue Crane bird and increase tourism in the area, establishing the Caledon Blue Crane Route, which allows visitors to see the blue crane in its natural environment, and encouraging the blue crane onto their farmlands.

By all means enjoy the cranes from your car. But they are easily startled, leaving freshly laid crane eggs prey to the elements and predators, so guidelines insist that you do not approach the cranes on foot, that you do not interfere with them in any way. If there is a problem and you find a blue crane that needs help in any way, please contact Cape Nature.

Although called the Caledon Blue Crane Route, this is not the only town in the Overberg where you will see the bird. In all the wheat fields around Stanford, Gansbaai, Napier, Elim, Arniston and Bredasdorp you may sight them, usually in groups of two or three, occasionally more.

Popular Attractions near to the Caledon Blue Crane Route

Shaw's Pass

Also known as Shaw's Mountain Pass, this passage into the Overberg links the Hemel en Aarde valley outside Hermanus to Caledon. It lies on the R320 a little way from Tesselaarsdal, where you will see a turn-off indicating Shaw's Mountain Pass...

More info and contact details: Shaw's Pass

Venster Kloof Nature Garden

Venster Kloof Nature Garden, also known as the Caledon Wildflower Garden, is a wonderful space in which to spend a little time. It is not run by either SANBI or Cape Nature as one would anticipate, and lies just off the N2. It is called...

More info and contact details: Venster Kloof Nature Garden

Did you know?

There are only about 25,000 Blue Cranes left in the world, around half of which can be found in the Cape Overberg (2014).

Mated pairs of cranes engage in unison calling, which is a complex and extended series of coordinated calls. The birds stand in a specific posture, usually with their heads thrown back and beaks skyward during the display.

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