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Because of its close proximity (2.5 hours) to Johannesburg and Pretoria, Dullstroom has become a prime weekend destination for stressed out Gauteng businessmen. Although much of the land is privately owned by big businesses and syndicates for trout fishing purposes, the quiet rural road network around Dullstroom provides an opportunity to record, amidst beautiful hill and marshy valleys, some of the more difficult and elusive highveld species, such as Wattled Crane, Yellowbreasted Pipit and Gurney's Sugarbird. Although a day visit is possible, best results will be obtained in a weekend visit enabling a more leisurely coverage of the various circular drives recommended below.



Marsh Areas: Wattled Crane, Crowned Crane, Redchested Flufftail (more often heard than seen), Palecrowned Cisticola.
Grasslands: Blue Crane, Stanley's Bustard, Secretarybird, Redwing Francolin (long grass), Greywing Francolin (short grass), Yellowbreasted Pipit, Ayres' Cisticola, Grassbird and Anteating Chat.
Recently Burned : Bald Ibis and Blackwinged Plover.
Rocky Areas: Sentinel Rockthrush, Buffstreaked Chat, Mountain Chat, Familiar Chat, Eastern Longbilled Lark, Longbilled Pipit and Wailing Cisticola.
Mountain Slopes (with proteas): Gurney's Sugarbird, Malachite Sunbird and Ground Woodpecker.
Plantations: Black Sparrowhawk and Redbreasted Sparrowhawk.
Power Pylons: Cape Vulture and Jackal Buzzard.



Marsh wetlands, grasslands, rocky areas, mountain slopes (with proteas), plantations



Please note these routes are slippery when wet.

1. 8km north of Dullstroom along the R540 towards Lydenburg, turn left onto a gavel road crossing the railway line. Travel 17 km along this road passing Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve (watch for Yellowbreasted Pipit and Wattled Crane) until the T-junction formed when meeting the Roos Senekal/Lydenburg tar road. Turn right at this junction and look for Gurney's Sugarbird in the protea bushes on both sides of the road, also Ground Woodpecker on the rocky slopes of the mountain. After 9 km turn right for Vermont. Turn right again at the next junction (10 km) and after 4 km join the Dullstroom/Lydenburg Road (R540) just north of Vermont siding.

2. As for 1. above, but instead of turning right when joining the Roos Senekal/Lydenburg Road, turn left. After 10 km turn right at Draaikraal, returning to Dullstroom via Tonteldoos (further 34 km).

3. Travel south along the R540 towards Belfast for 8 km and then turn left onto road for Machadadorp. 5 km down the road turn left again for Valleyspruit and after another 7km, right, towards Kruisfontein. 14 km further on and then left, turn for Morgenson will bring you back to the R540 (14 km) just north of Dullstroom.

4. As in 3. Above, but instead of the right turn for Kruisfontein turn left and join the R540, 1 km south of Dullstroom (watch for Gurney's Sugarbird in the cultivated protea lands).



Located on the R540 roughly 35 km north of Belfast (just off the N4), Dullstroom offers a wide range of accommodation from Luxurious (lodges and hotels) to more economical (self-contained cottages and Bed & Breakfasts). A caravan park and campsite is run by the local town council at Dullstroom Dam and provides good birding.

Ron Searle 1997.

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