Birding in Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve

September 30th, 2006 by Thinus Leave a reply »

Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve
Near: Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa
GPS: -
25.88242, 28.26430
When: 2006-09-30
Who: Thinus

Rietvlei Dam Nature ReserveRietvlei Dam Nature Reserve is a 4000 hectare reserve, one of a very few situated in the grassland biome on the highveld of Southern Africa. This means there’s not a rich diversity of bird species, but still it hosts many of the endemics of Southern Africa. About 80 different bird species can be seen in a good morning/afternoon trip. It is also a sanctuary for rhino, buffalo and various antelope species.

The entrance is only 11km from my house in Centurion and its an easy and welcome escape to go here with a lunch basket, spend time at the different bird hides, and then eat at one of the nice picnic spots next to the dam.

Rietvlei Dam Nature ReserveOne of my favorite bird hides is called Coot’s Corner. I can spend hours here watching the Coots build their nests: The male swims to the side, dives down and comes up with a month full of long dead grass. He then drags this behind him as he swims back to the waiting female, who takes the grass and meticulously builds the nest in the middle of nowhere. It floats around, and most of the initial grass sink to the bottom, but eventually enough grass stick together to become a floating nest, that will drift into some reeds and stay there.

Rietvlei Dam Nature ReserveI’ve seen a few first time birds here, like the Capped Wheatear, Anteating Chat, Common Waxbill, and Stonechat, and some special second timers, like the large King Fishers and the almighty African Fish Eagle. We know it should be possible to see different Korhaan here as well, but haven’t been that lucky yet. Ostriches are also common.

As you drive through the reserve, and pass quite close to some of the larger game, like zebras and rhino, you might for a moment forget that this is in the middle of the Big City, and two of South Africa’s busiest highways pass within few kilometers of the fence.

For R25 odd rand as entrance, anyone who’s in need to spend a tranquil Sunday afternoon need not look any further.

1 comment

  1. Interesting fact on those power lines.

    The three 4 strand lines running in parallel caries the DC power generated at Cahora Bassa hydro-electric scheme in Mozambique.

    Apollo is situated a few miles from Rietvlei – there the DC is converted back to AC and fed into the national power grid.

    For what it’s worth…

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