Borakalolo Nature Reserve

This 14000 ha reserve is situated in prime bushveld habitat. Over 300 species have been recorded and a day trip in summer can easily produce 120 species, which may include rarities such as African Finfoot and White-backed Night-Heron. A day trip is usually sufficient to cover all the habitats in the park, but make sure to be at the gate as it opens.

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Specials

Specials include African Finfoot, White-backed Night-Heron, Yellow-billed Stork, Lappet-faced Vulture, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Bronze-winged Courser, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Meyer's Parrot, Bennett's Woodpecker, Southern Pied Babbler, Monotonous Lark, Burnt-necked Eremomela and Grey Tit-Flycatcher

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Habitats

Habitats Include acacia woodland, Broadleaved woodland in the north-eastern corner of the reserve, riverine bush along the Moretele River, open grassland and sandy shores along the Klipvoor dam shoreline, and well wooded koppies.

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Facilities

The reserve is criss-crossed by a network of gravel roads which are suitable for sedan cars. A map can be obtained at the entrance gate. There are a few hiking trails which can be hiked at one's own risk (the risks including White Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus and Leopard). There are bird hides on the Sefudi Dam and along the Serolo loop.

The accommodation facilities include three Camping sites; Moretele on the banks of the river has ten pitched tents and ten campsites with reed enclosures for ablution facilities; Pitjane on the northern shoreline of the Klipvoor Dam consists of campsites with similar ablution facilities to Moretele; Phudufudu Tented Bush Camp, with five tents, a pool and braai facilities. The most birder friendly campsite is definitely Moretele, camping on the banks of the Moretele River under the large river Bushwillows with a limited number of campsites makes it quiet and peaceful, and a lot of birds can be seen from a chair in the camping area. There is a small shop at the Entrance gate, which stocks small supplies of tinned food, eggs, bread, cool drinks and beer.

There are three picnic areas in the reserve; the main picnic area is usually busy with day visitors, but the other two are far away from the main entrance and less frequented by day visitors.

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Birding

1. When entering the reserve through the main gate look out for the Red-headed Weaver nest hang from a branch just on the inside of the gate. Look for Monotonous Lark on the road to the main picnic spot. In summer the telephone line running along this road is also good for European Bee-eater. Bennett's Woodpecker and Groundscraper Thrush are often seen in the main picnic area.

2.The first road turning right after the main entrance road links up with the Audi (Fish Eagle) Drive, and runs along the southern shoreline of the dam. It is the best road to see waterbirds from, including Great Crested Grebe, Goliath Heron, Great Egret, Green-backed Heron, Marabou Stork, Yellow-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, White-faced Duck, Comb Duck, African Fish-Eagle, Pied Kingfisher, and Giant Kingfisher. In summer, the shoreline is visited by Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff and Eurasian Curlew.

3. The Audi Drive links up with the Mutumuga (Waterbuck) loop, which in turn runs into the Thutlwa (Giraffe) Drive, leading to the Sefudi (Wild Waterfowl) Dam. All these roads are good for bushveld birds. In winter, and especially after veld fires, keep an eye open for Double-banded Sandgrouse, Spotted Thick-knee and Red-crested Korhaan.

4. In the drier months the Sefudi Dam attracts a lot of seed-eaters, including Blue Waxbill, Violet-eared Waxbill and Black-faced Waxbill. This area is also good for Great Sparrow. The hide at the dam is well-situated and gives a good view of the dam.

5. The main entrance road goes past the main picnic spot up a hill and down to the Moretele River Valley. The road splits to Moretele and Pitjane, and the road to Pitjane leads over the Moretele River. Park you car on the other side of the bridge and take the walk along the eastern bank of the river. The area is very good for African Finfoot and White-backed Night-Heron, and look out for Malachite Kingfisher as well.

6. Further along the road to Pitjane there is a walk up the koppie on the left-hand side of the road. This walk gives splendid views of the dam. Short-toed Rock-Thrush can be seen on this walk.

7. The road to Moretele passes a quarry to the left. Look out for White-fronted Bee-eater, and Barn Owl in the late afternoon. Sometimes a Leopard puts in an appearance.

8. The road past Moretele leads to the Serolo (Bushbuck) loop, the Serolo loop runs past a seasonal wetland with two hides, which give good views of the wetland. Species include African Black Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Little Bittern and Dwarf Bittern. This is also a good spot for seedeaters like Jameson's Firefinch.

9. The Serolo loop runs through the broadleaved woodland. Here the picnic site is good for Meyer's Parrot and Violet-backed Starling.

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General

The reserve is about 100km north-west of Pretoria and is accessible on good tarred roads, but be careful for cattle and goats on these roads, especially at night. As there is usually a dead animal somewhere next to the road, keep an eye open for vultures at these carcasses. From Pretoria take the R566 through Rosslyn, turn right at the Letlhabile road, which passes Letlhabile and takes you to Jericho. In Jericho turn right at the T-junction and then take the first road left, which goes past Legonyane. Follow this road until you see a signpost to the left for Borakalalo, which will take you to the Borakalalo Entrance Gate.

The reserve is in a malaria-free zone, although it is recommended that you bring insect repellent for convenience and comfort.

Information Tel: +27 12 729 1008
Fax: + 27 12 729 1009
E-mail:

North West Tourism

Riaan Marais 2001.