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The popular Kimiad Driving Range and Golf Course in the suburb of Moreleta Park is encircled by a pleasant hiking trail that has delivered exciting birding in the last few years. Around 150 species have been recorded on the property, and birders can expect to see around 60 species in a morning’s visit.

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Specials

African Wattled Lapwing, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Little Sparrowhawk, Neddicky, Thick-billed Weaver, Fairy Flycatcher, Chinspot Batis, Black-chested Prinia, Fork-tailed Drongo, Green-backed Heron, Spotted Eagle-Owl.

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Habitat

Exotic woodland (mostly bluegums), indigenous Acacia caffra thickets, golf course lawns and greens, several reedy dams and more open Acacia scrub on the southern side.

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Facilities

Kimiad has a full golf course and a popular driving range. There is also a clubhouse, restaurant, theatre, animal park and beer garden (‘Die Bos’ – accessible directly from Wekker Road). Of primary interest to birders is the short hiking trail meandering around the property.

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Birding

From the main parking area, proceed downwards and to your left, following the footprint markers along a paved trail. The trail soon leads into a forested patch where a variety of shade-loving species can be observed. Look particularly for Karoo Thrush, Cape Robin-Chat, Speckled Mousebird, Black-backed Puffback, Southern Boubou, Cape White-eye and Fork-tailed Drongo. The trail then runs along the northern border of the property, where several dams and a marshy area can be seen on the left. These areas support Purple Heron, Common Moorhen, Lesser Swamp-warbler, Common Waxbill, Orange-breasted Waxbill and Levaillant’s Cisticola. In summer, displaying Southern Red Bishop and Red-collared Widowbird add some drama to the scene. Further along, large dams below the Pretoria East Hospital should be checked for waterfowl (particularly African Black Duck) and herons.

Any of the lawns on the golf course are worth a quick scan for African Wattled Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing, Crowned Lapwing, Spotted Thick-knee, Egyptian Goose, African Sacred Ibis and Common Fiscal. The route finally begins to veer back to the parking area and Wekker Road through a patch of relatively pristine Acacia scrub and open woodland. This is a rewarding birding area and hosts several bushveld species: Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Chinspot Batis, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Jameson’s Firefinch, Blue Waxbill, Amethyst Sunbird and Neddicky. Both Yellow-bellied Eremomela and Brown-backed Honeybird have been recorded here. The trail ends at “Die Bos” restaurant and beer garden, where Fairy Flycatcher is virtually guaranteed in winter, and Kurrichane Thrush can usually be seen alongside the more common Karoo Thrush.

Birders should keep their eyes open for Little Sparrowhawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk and Black Sparrowhawk anywhere in this area.

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General

To reach Kimiad from the N1 highway, take the Rigel offramp and turn eastwards. At the second traffic light after the highway turn left into Hans Strijdom Drive (M10). Turn right at the next set of traffic lights into Rubenstein Drive. Follow Rubenstein past the big church on your right and a shopping centre on your left and then turn right into Wekker Road. The entrance is about 100m further on your left. Entrance is free.

Faansie Peacock 2007



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