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Buffelsdrif Conservancy with a species list of 265 and its close proximity to Pretoria and Johannesburg is possibly one of the easiest areas in which to view most of the typical thornveld species, as well as numerous other species. Due to the nearby Roodeplaat Dam, an extensive canal system and the Pienaars River, birding at all times of the year is rewarding. To cover the area extensively a full day visit is recommended especially if combined with a visit to the nearby Seringveld Conservancy. In summer a list of over 150 and in winter 120 are easily achievable in a full day visit. Visitors are requested to make arrangements beforehand. Contact Rob Geddes on 012 808 5380 or 082 393 8870, ; or Pieter van Zyl on 012 8083532.

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Specials

Southern White-faced Scops-Owl,European Nightjar, Bronze-winged Courser, African Pygmy-Kingfisher, African Black Duck, Violet-backed Starling, Violet-eared Waxbill and Black-faced Waxbill. Vagrants include Black Stork, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, African Finfoot, Greater Painted-snipe and Water Thick-knee.

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Habitats

Typical Acacia Thornveld, Mixed Acacia/Broadleaf Woodland along Buffelsdrif Ridge, Riverine vegetation with deep slow flowing pools along the Pienaars River and Cultivated lands and fields.

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Facilities

A network of roads and walking trails two bird hides and a picnic site (hides and picnic site will be completed by September 2001).

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Birding

1. Along the Canal network birding is very rewarding in winter with most bushveld species in abundance.

2. The Pienaars River route - a 5km stretch along the river with great views over the deep pools of the river. Colonies of Village Weaver and good chances of Giant Kingfisher, Half-collared Kingfisher and Malachite Kingfisher.

3. A hiking trail along the ridge through a Aloe Marlothii " Forest" with good chances of Spotted Eagle-Owl, Greater Honeyguide, Lesser Honeyguide and Brown-backed Honeybird as well as Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird and Southern Pied Babbler.

4. A hike or drive to the ruins of a mission station through arid acacia veld characterised by Ashy Tit, Cape Penduline-Tit, Desert Cisticola and Little Bee-eater.

5. Organised night drives with six owl species, four nightjars and various other nocturnals seen thus far.

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General

As Buffelsdrif is entirely privately owned a number of residents have accommodation available, from single rooms to self-contained chalets. Due to the proximity to Pretoria - (travel time approx. 20 Minutes from Pretoria central) and the inclusion of Buffelsdrift in the Dinokeng area, many options are available.

From the N1 take the Zambezi Drive/Cullinan offramp and continue towards Cullinan for approx. 1km. At the Traffic lights turn left towards Moloto. Follow this road for 7kms before turning left at the Buffelsdrif signpost (This is 2km before the entrance to Roodeplaat Dam.) Continue on the gravel road for 4km's before entering the Buffelsdrift Conservancy.

Rob Geddes 2002.



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