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Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve This reserve consists of two sections - one on the northern side of Roodeplaat Dam and the other on the southern side of the dam. The northern section is open to a number of leisure activities such as fishing and canoeing and can be noisy over weekends. The southern section caters more for birders with two hides overlooking the water.



The northern side of the reserve is composed mainly of thornveld including some dense thickets as well as the large dam and surrounding wetland vegetation. It is an excellent place to get to know some of the thornveld specials, while interesting waterbirds include Osprey, Half-collared Kingfisher, White-winged Tern, Great Reed-Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler and Crimson-breasted Shrike. Camping facilities and good ablution facilities are available, while “longdrop” toilets are scattered throughout the reserve.



Between the entrance gate and the shore some good thornveld birds are often found. Look for them in mixed parties, especially in winter. Typical species are Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Southern Boubou, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Long-billed Crombec, Fork-tailed Drongo, Acacia Pied Barbet and Chinspot Batis.

Continue towards the shore and turn right. Soon you should cross a small stream. This is an excellent spot for waterbirds especially at certain times of the year when hundreds of small fish struggle upstream, providing easy pickings for Little Egret, Black Heron, Purple Heron, Hamerkop , Green-backed Heron, Giant Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and Malachite Kingfisher. The marginal vegetation around here is a good bet for Sedge Warbler in summer. If you walk along the stream for a while you might encounter Little Bittern, Great Reed-Warbler, Southern Red Bishop and White-winged Widowbird.

Continue driving along the tarred road with the bush on the right and the dam on the left. Most of the camp sites on the right are no longer in use, and the thornveld all along this road is good for Black-chested Prinia, Grey Go-away-bird, Crested Francolin, Amethyst Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, Red-chested Cuckoo, Levaillant's Cuckoo, Jacobin Cuckoo and Diderick Cuckoo (summer only), Southern Masked-Weaver, Crested Barbet, Black-collared Barbet, Acacia Pied Barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker and summer migrants like Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike and Willow Warbler. The uncommon Olive-tree Warbler has been heard from thickets in this area in mid-summer.

The dam itself is easily viewed from a number of spots along the road. White-winged Tern are common in summer and are sometimes joined by Whiskered Tern. Waterfowl include Yellow-billed Duck, African Black Duck, White-faced Duck, Red-billed Teal, Southern Pochard, Cape Shoveler etc. Red-knobbed Coot is by far the most common rallid, but Black Crake, Common Moorhen and African Purple Swamphen are also around. Herons include Grey Heron, Black-headed Heron and Purple Heron. Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret and the occasional Yellow-billed Egret are common, while White-throated Swallow and Brown-throated Martin hawk insects over the water. Osprey is present once in a while.

On leaving the dam, turn right to explore the dam wall a few kilometres further on. Look for African Finfoot, African Cuckoo Hawk and African Firefinch in this area (access sometimes restricted).



To reach the northern side of the reserve take the zambezi off-ramp from the N1 and head east towards Cullinan. At the traffic lights 1.2km from the highway, turn left towards Moloto (R573 KwaMhlanga road). The entrance is situated on the right after about 9 kms. A nominal entry fee is payable at the gate (which is open 06:00-20:00 throughout the year).

Faansie Peacock 2007



This area is 795 ha and consists of a mix of open Savannah, grassveld and dense savannah woodland. During a morning's outing 80-100 species can easily be recorded. Apart from birds there are also a number of mammal species including Burchell's Zebra, Kudu, Waterbuck, Warthog, Impala and blue-Wildebeest.



Most of the roads are in a very good condition. Facilities include bird hides, camping sites, a hiking trail, chalet accommodation and conference facilities.



After entering through the gate you can turn left into a circle route (sign indicate "Zeekoeigat"). After 1.7km you will get a boom gate on the left hand side - stop here and then walk to Zeekoeigat. Here a number of water bird species can been seen as for instance Glossy Ibis, African Darter, Green-backed Heron, Little Egret and occasionally Black Heron. African Wattled Lapwing also occur here and are very common throughout the reserve. Also scan the grasses for waxbills and prinias. Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Little Rush-Warbler can usually also be heard in the reeds.

Continuing on the circle route you will after about 400m get the entrance to the Zeekoeigat complex- enter here and continue till you get the "Bird Hide" sign. The hide is well maintained and provide a good view of Zeekoeigat. Grey Heron, African Sacred Ibis and White-faced Duck are very common.

A further 600m on the circle route you can turn left onto an unmarked gravel road that will take you to the group camps. Some of the gravel roads go down to the dam itself.

Follow the circle road to its end and turn left. At the office building stop and walk around the offices - some interesting birds that can be seen here are Crimson-breasted Shrike, Fiscal Flycatcher and Speckled Pigeon. Cape Penduline-Tit has been recorded here.

Travel through the parking area onto a gravel road that will take you to the second birding hide. Please note there is no sign here indicating the route to the bird hide. From the offices to the hide is about 1.8km. Coqui Francolin is common on this road. At the hide carefully scan the edge of the water for Three-banded Plover, African Jacana, Wood Sandpiper and other waders. Grey-headed Gull, White-winged Tern and Whiskered Terns are regularly recorded. Brown-hooded Kingfisher and Pied Kingfisher can also be seen.

As you travel back to the main road turn right. A few hundred meters on you will get the turnoff to the picnic spot. The picnic spot is situated between and under beautiful trees and while resting and having a braai you will be able to tick of a number of species. The picnic spot borders the dam and lots of water birds can be seen from here. Black Cuckooshrike has been recorded here.

Going back to the main road turn left and continue to the T-junction. Turn left here on a gravel road. Pass the Aqua Social club and continue on the gravel road but beware, as this road is not that much traveled it sometimes can be very rough. Flycathcers, barbets, woodpeckers and many other birds can be seen here. The road goes all the way to the water's edge.



To reach the southern side of the reserve take the Zambesi off-ramp from the N1 and turn right. Continue on the Cullinan R513 for about 5.5km and take the Kameelfontein turnoff to the left. After 3.6km you will get a board "Roodeplaat Reserve" - turn left and continue on this road for a few hundred meters to the entrance of the reserve.

A nominal entrance fee is payable. The gates are open from 06:00-18:00.

Contact number: 012-808 5131 / 5174 / 5624 .

Ernst Retief 2007

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