South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi
a member of the African Bird Atlas Project
Coverage summary: Bushmanland Subproject
Bushmanland in the Northern Cape is one of the most poorly atlased areas in South Africa.
Part of the reason for this situation is the remoteness of Bushmanland from the main centres, the lack of facilities, the unknown roads, and the lack of known accommodation.
The Bushmanland Subproject was initiated to enable prospective atlasers visiting Bushmanland to find two critical success factors – accommodation and local knowledge.
The objective of this project is to record 1 Full Protocol card per year for every 10 High Priority (low coverage) pentads in the designated area. For many places in South Africa, this would be very unambitious. For Bushmanland, we would be very surprised if one got even halfway towards that goal.
Within the area outlined as Bushmanland in Figure A & B, for SABAP2 atlas purposes, there are 720 pentads, of which 693 or 96% are high priority pentads (i.e. 3 or fewer Full Protocol cards submitted) and there are 282 pentads with zero Full Protocol cards (as at 25 April 2023).
To give a sense of the terrain and countryside, consider that:
Between Loeriesfontein in the south and Pofadder in the north (230 km by gravel road)
Between Brandvlei in the south-east and Aggeneys in the north-west (240 km by gravel road); and)
Between Kliprand in the south-west and Kenhardt in the north-east (340 km by gravel road))
No known accommodation;
No cellphone reception;
No service stations for refuelling or repairs (punctures, etc.); and
No shops (no, not even a small one).
In winter, temperatures of under 8°C, and an ice-cold wind, which causes the actual temperature to be much lower due to the wind-chill factor, are not unusual, even at 13:00.
Therefore birding in Bushmanland is not for the faint-hearted.
So the key essentials for a successful birding trip into Bushmanland include (over and above the usual stuff):
All terrain tyres and a second spare, plus a puncture repair kit;
At least 20l water per person per day between refilling points, in summer;
1 in 50 000 maps;
GPS enabled cellphone (which most are);
Means to charge your cellphone in your vehicle;
Lots of sun cream (factor 50);
Long-sleeved shirts and a wide brimmed hat;
Windcheaters and warm clothes;
A gas cooker and a pot;
Food for the trip, plus some spare;
Basic 1st Aid kit, including any chronic meds;
Bird books, binoculars and a scope (incl. one spare pair of binoculars);
Wood for making a braai, matches, braai grid and refreshments (often in grassland there are no trees); and
A knowledge of Afrikaans.
Once the proposed route or area for your trip has been identified, you may want to get in touch with a local farmer well in advance to help you plan your route: what accommodation is available (e.g. camping or self-catering, etc) , which roads are open; could he help you with repairs, fuel, etc; keys to gates, etc.
For contact details of the farmers who are willing to participate by providing accommodation, etc. (for a fee) and other assistance, contact either Peter Silbernagl (082 448 0324, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Wally Silbernagl (083 645 0299, email@example.com), who will then put you in touch with the relevant farmer.
This data can be uploaded/linked directly into any GIS software
which supports geoJSON protocols, such as QGIS. More information
on geoJSON can be found at http://geojson.org.
Add a geoJSON Vector layer to you project, pointing to the
following link: https://api.birdmap.africa/sabap2/v2/coverage/group/1691_BshmnlndSP_working?format=geoJSON
Please note that geoJSON files are mostly used by users of GIS
software who want to do further analyses. For most users the
coverage maps on the website will be sufficient, for example you
can zoom in to see the specific pentad information. However, if
you want to analyse the data in more detail follow these steps.
First install a GIS programme such as QGIS (it
is free). You will then have to download the species's geoJSON
file under the species maps in the Downloads tab (for example
https://api.birdmap.africa/sabap2/v2/coverage/group/1691_BshmnlndSP_working?format=geoJSON for this maps data). The following short tutorial will then explain
to you how to load the map into QGIS using the URL of the geoJSON
page - Click here
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