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This is one of the best bushveld birding areas in the Limpopo Province, though access is not easy. The entrance is about 69 km from Naboomspruit, and about 2.5 hours from Pretoria. The trip is however worthwhile as the reserve boasts a potential 300 species. Twenty-three species of raptor have been recorded in the reserve, including Martial Eagle, Verreauxs' Eagle and Tawny Eagle.

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Birding

1) The dam is long and narrow with a rocky ridge running along the western side. Look out for Osprey and resident African Fish-Eagle. The shoreline is open and shelving, yielding many waders, herons and ducks, also Common Whimbrel.

2) Drive along the dam to the upper reaches. When the dam is full this river backs up to provide interesting wetland species such as Little Bittern.

3) The picnic site is reached along the good gravel road on the eastern side of the dam. Mocking Cliff-Chat and Barn Owl have made their home in the shelter, while Freckled Nightjar have bred on the rocky koppie above the picnic site. A trail winds around this koppie, following the river flowing into the dam.

4) An area of open grassland provides habitat for several species of cisticola, as well as Ant-eating Chat, while Striped Pipit and Lazy Cisticola inhabit the rocky ridges.

5) The mixed bushveld lining the 12 km of road along the dam provides excellent birding with a large variety of bushveld species including Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Marico Flycatcher, 13 species of shrike, Icterine Warbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Burnt-necked Eremomela and Barred Wren-Warbler.

6) A pleasant campsite with adequate ablution blocks is set among tall Acacias. Waxbills and Canaries are usually found here, and also Lizard Buzzard.

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General

Access is from the old main road between Naboomspruit and Potgietersrus. Take the turn-off to Sterkrivier, travel for 17 km, and turn left to Doorndraai Dam on a gravel road. After 6 km turn left again at a signposted gate and 1 km further to the entrance of the reserve. Total 69 km from Naboomspruit.

Pauline Leinberger 1997.



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