birding sites

Rust de Winter Nature Reserve and Dam

The 1650 ha nature reserve surrounds the 500 ha dam. Broad-leaved woodland, mixed woodlands, rocky woodland slopes, alluvial acacia veldt, marshy areas and open water. Thanks to the variety of habitats in this NR, 400 bird species have been recorded. The tarred road leading to Rust de Winter town often yields species not normally found in the NR like Meyer's Parrot & Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver. The dirt road leading to the gate is also a good place to bird and you can expect birds like Lesser Grey-, Red-backed- & Long-tailed Shrike & Red-breasted Swallow. Look out for Striped Kingfisher at the entrance gate. Drive slowly along the shore until you reach a gate just where the angling area ends. Go through the gate and walk to the water to find water birds like White-faced, Comb, Yellow-billed & African Black Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Spoonbill & Spur-winged Goose. Also look for African Fish Eagle, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Yellow-billed Egret, Little Bittern, African Rail, White-winged Tern, Pearl-breasted Swallow and Brown-throated Martin. Thornveld species like Violet-eared Waxbill, Arrow-marked Babbler, Melba Finch, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Burchell's Starling, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Grey- & Yellow Hornbill, Little Bee-eater, Purple Roller and Grey-headed Bush-Shrike can be found here. The road goes around the dam and you can drive, stop and bird for a couple of kilometres. Where it is possible, walk to the dam.Over weekends and holidays the reserve may be packed with fishermen and their families. Boats are allowed on the dam. The road next to the dam may become impassable after heavy rain. Be aware of snakes. Birding is good all year round.

Directions from OR Tambo Int'l Airport

Take R 21-North towards Pretoria. Shortly before reaching Pretoria turn onto the N1-North towards Polokwane. Turn off at the Rust de Winter / Pienaarsrivier off-ramp. Turn right and continue for ± 21km towards Rust de Winter town. Turn right at the Rust de Winter Dam sign onto a dirt road and drive for 4km to the entrance of the reserve. Allow for approximately and hour and a half travelling time from OR Tambo International Airport.

GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 28 30'57 E
Longitude: 25 14'10 S

Additional information

Contact number for site: +27(0)12-723-014?

Rates for day visitors
Adults: R10
Children & pensioners: R5
Vehicle: R20

Gate opening and closing times
Last reviewed: 19 Sept 2009
Reviewed by: Martin Taylor