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THE RESERVE IS CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION ON DAM WALL UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


This reserve, situated north of Brits, covers 3996 ha of which a quarter is the Vaalkop Dam. Although the reserve is used primarily as an angling spot, it is a good spot for general bushveld birding and water birds. Fortunately the good birding areas are on the opposite side of the dam to the angling areas.

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Specials

African Fish-Eagle, Verreauxs' Eagle, African Hawk-Eagle, Osprey, Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, African Pygmy-Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and Cape Penduline-Tit.

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Habitats

Acacia woodland, Broadleaved woodland in the west of the reserve, open grassland and sandy shores along the dam shoreline (depending on water level) and well-wooded koppies. In high rainfall seasons all the open grassland gets submerged by the dam.

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Facilities

Most of the roads are suitable for normal cars, although some roads along the south-eastern side require 4x4. Accommodation facilities include camping sites along the northern edge of the dam, with limited ablution facilities. There is no official picnic site, and no shop or fuel available. The nearest town is about 10 km away.

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Birding

1. When entering the reserve take the road to the left leads to the south-eastern part of the reserve. The area is good for bushveld species as well as water birds. Birds to look out for include Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, European Bee-eater, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Barred Wren-Warbler, Cape Penduline-Tit, Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-faced Waxbill, Green-winged Pytilia, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah and Red-billed Oxpecker. Scan the dam for Goliath Heron, Black Heron, Great Egret, African Fish-Eagle, Osprey, Yellow-billed Stork, and a variety of waders and terns.

2. The road to the right leads to the dam wall. Species to look for include Common House-Martin, Lesser Striped Swallow and Greater Striped Swallow, Horus Swift, Village Weaver, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Southern Boubou, White-throated Robin-Chat, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Green-backed Heron, Pied Kingfisher and Brown-hooded Kingfisher, as well as Black Crake, African Jacana and African Darter.

3. Just past the dam wall the road passes a koppie known as Vaalkop. Check the hillside for Bar-throated Apalis, Jameson's Firefinch, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-backed Puffback and Grey-backed Camaroptera. Short-toed Rock-Thrush can also be seen in this area.

4. The road to Vaalkop also passes through farmlands, where Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark, Red-capped Lark, Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah and Shaft-tailed Whydah and sometimes Temminck's Courser are found.

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General

The reserve is about 120km north-west of Pretoria and is accessible on good tarred roads. From Brits take the R511 towards Thabazimbi. After about 36 km turn left over a bridge to Vaalkop Dam. Follow this road for about 4 km and turn right at the T-junction, and after 12 km turn right to the Vaalkop Entrance gate. The route is clearly signposted from the R511. Entrance is free for bird watchers. Gate times 06h00 – 20h00.

TARIFFS - From 1 February 2008
Adults: R25.00
Children: (2 to 12 years) R10.00
Pensioners: R10.00
Angling: Free

Camping/Caravan Site
With ectricity points: R80.00 per site per night (max. 6 persons) and R10.00 per additional person + entrance fee

No electricity points: R60,00 per site per night per site per night (max. 6 persons) and R10.00 per additional person + entrance fee

Ablution blocks, showers with hot water. 4X4 Camp: R200 per night - maximum 8 persons and R20.00 per night per additional persons plus gate entry fee

Riaan Marais 2001.



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