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The Amsterdam
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Port Elizabeth

South Africa

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If you enjoy birding or photography you are certainly coming to the right destination

The Swartkops River Estuary is situated to the north of Port Elizabeth and is made up of intertidal banks, salt marches and salt pans.

We are not even 10 minutes walk from all the action!

The Zwartkops Conservancy is campaigning to have the Zwartkops River Estuary declared a Ramsar International Wetland; this will be the first such wetland in South Africa situated within an urban area, and the first initiated by the public as opposed to government; the National Department of Environmental Affairs is giving the application its full support.

The estuary is particularly important for the birds in that 200 bird species occur regularly and it is the most important estuary for waterbirds in the Eastern Cape Province.

There are a number of migrant species (Wimbrel, Grey Plover, Curlew Sandpiper to name the 3 most common) that are resident over the summer months. Most of these return to Russia and even Siberia to breed.

The estuary has IBA status, this means that it is a globally important bird area. Eighteen South African Red Data species occur of which ten are present on a daily basis.

Several permanent and ephemeral freshwater pans are also found in the area. These are also highly attractive to waterbirds and taken together with the intertidal mudflats the total number of waterbirds is likely to exceed 20 000 in some years.

Swartkops is widely regarded as one of the premier locations for shorebirds and waders. 

Bird & Eco-Tours: DEAT Registered Specialist Guide Dr Paul Martin operates bird watching and natural history tours in the Port Elizabeth region, where six of the country's seven biomes and their associated avifauna meet.