Rietvlei Nature Reserve

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is close to my home and situated 18 km from the centre of Pretoria and 38 km from the OR Tambo International Airport. The 3 800 ha of endangered Bankenveld grassland includes open plains and undulating hills. The extensive vlei areas and tributary streams support the scenic splendour of the azure blue Rietvlei Dam.

Landscape of Rietvlei grassland
Landscape of Rietvlei grassland

The reserve is owned and managed by the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.

Some 1 600 head of game, including blesbuck, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, Burchell’s zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, springbuck, mountain reedbuck, steenbuck and grey duiker can be viewed here. From your own vehicle it is easy to spot these animals on the open plains, and the 60 km of tarred and dirt roads will take you close up.

Alight from your vehicle and be revived at the Marais Dam picnic site. Ablutions are available and a bird hide and shady spots with braai facilities are perfect for settling down while watching water birds and hippo. Bird watchers can be sure of seeing birds they have never seen before.

View elusive nocturnal animals, such as brown hyena, black-backed jackal, ant-bear, aardwolf, porcupine, springhare and bush pig, on a guided night drive that ends at the popular Rietvlei Nature Reserve Lapa for a memorable braai under African skies.

I often visit the reserve after work in summer and sometimes over weekends. My special interest is avian photography so I spend a lot of time at the Otter bridge where some Giant Kingfisher and other feathered friends entertain me.

Crab in late afternoon sun
Crab in late afternoon sun
Giant Kingfisher enjoying late afternoon sun
Giant Kingfisher enjoying late afternoon sun
Cattle Egret with grass assegai
Cattle Egret with grass assegai

The Otter bridge is also frequently visited by some antelope

Waterbuck at Otter bridge
Waterbuck at Otter bridge
Waterbuck staring
Waterbuck staring
Waterbuck staring
Waterbuck staring

If you are lucky you might see some of the predators, especially early morning or late afternoon

Jackal
Jackal

Although not in abundance you might find some smaller birds of prey in Rietvlei as well

Black Shouldered Kite with snack
Black Shouldered Kite with snack

For more information on this little gem of a reserve visit the City of Tswane webpage at http://www.tshwane.gov.za/Services/Nature%20Conservation/Rietvlei%20Nature%20Reserve/Pages/default.aspx

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