Albert Falls Resources Reserve

Albert Falls Dam and the surrounding nature reserve cover an area of 3012 ha. The habitat consists of grasslands, thornveld and waters edge.

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Birding

1) The denser woodland around Python Bay (a map is provided when entering the reserve) is particularly rich and holds several species not expected in thornveld like Olive Bush-Shrike (which occurs alongside Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike) and Cape Batis (which occurs alongside Chinspot Batis). Also look for Cardinal Woodpecker and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Common Scimitarbill, Jacobin Cuckoo (in summer only) and White-browed Scrub-Robin. Search the abandoned quarry behind Python Bay for a roosting pair of Spotted Thick-knee. While you are about it, have a look for the massive python after which the area is named.

2) The more open woodland further along the road is excellent for Red-throated Wryneck, Black Cuckooshrike, Red-backed Shrike (in summer only), Long-billed Crombec, Cape Grassbird, Rattling Cisticola, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Blue Waxbill, Brimstone Canary and Streaky-headed Seedeater.

3) The dense bush behind the chalets is also rewarding with Lazy Cisticola, several cuckoo species, Natal Spurfowl, Common Scimitarbill and most other species mentioned under the Python Bay account. Southern Tchagra is also present here. Another pair of pythons is resident in this valley.

4) The grasslands are also rewarding. Near the entrance gate, it is not unusual to find many Black-winged Lapwing (especially in the car park.) They breed in the surrounding fields. Cape Longclaw and Rufous-naped Lark are common. A pair of Familiar Chat is often found around the reception. Coqui Francolin are however the specialty of the area and are quite common and approachable in the reserve. Listen out for their distinctive calls.

5) Moister grasslands exist at the very end of the tourist road. Here Orange-breasted Waxbill and African Quailfinch can be found. Both Common Quail and Harlequin Quail occur in wetter years. Listen for Croaking Cisticola and Wing-snapping Cisticola.

6) The dam edge is good for egrets and herons including Great Egret and Goliath Heron. African Wattled Lapwing and Blacksmith Lapwing are common. Palaearctic waders are found in summer.

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General

The reserve is controlled by Msinsi Holdings. Entry is 23km along the Greytown Road from Pietermaritzburg. Facilities provided include comfortable chalets, camping and ablution facilities. Contact the reserve on +27 33 569 1202 for bookings or any other information.

email:

Msinsi Holdings Website

Adam Riley 2001.
Rockjumper Birding Tours

Rock Jumper Website