New life for Seeberg Bird Hide
Dries Venter, Chairperson of the West Coast Region of SANParks Honorary Rangers (SHR), said that visitors to the renovated Seeberg Bird Hide in the West Coast National Park will experience something new and different.
The region undertook a project in 2020 to do maintenance on all the existing bird hides. At Seeberg, the following maintenance was completed: all woodwork in the hide and walkways was treated with a wax-based application; latches of hatches and door closing mechanisms were fixed; the walkway shade netting was mended; the cement floor was renewed and the roof was patched.
In 2021, the park experienced heavy winter storms which ripped away the roof cladding, causing the roof to leak .
It was decided not to repeatedly patch the roof but to come up with a more permanent solution instead. As the bird hides are an important attraction to the park and cater for many local, national, and international visitors and bird enthusiasts, the Western Cape Birding Forum was consulted for advice. The forum represents many bird guides and clubs who regularly visit the hides in the park.
Several options were considered, including building a second storey above the existing hide, with a sloping roof. This option provides the following benefits: the current footprint is retained; the view is enhanced by a higher vantage; the leaking roof problem is resolved; the present walkway and access from the road is maintained and access for people with disabilities is retained.
The second-floor construction was undertaken by Langebaan Home Renovations and completed in early September this year.
At the handover of the renovated Seeberg Bird Hide, Pierre Nel, Acting Park
Manager of the WCNP, acknowledged the substantial amount of work done by the SHR on
the bird hides in the park. “We really want to thank the SHR for this significant effort, but
also, for its endeavours with other projects, such as with Jutten and Malgas islands.”
The actual cost of construction was R84 000. Generous donations were received from the
Tygerberg Bird Club and the Elizabeth Harding Trust, administered by the World Wildlife Fund South Africa. A further donation was received from the West Coast Bird Club. These donations contributed greatly to covering the cost of construction.
The renovated bird hide is resplendent with spectacular views, comfortable seating and is a welcome addition to the West Coast National Park.