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The Con Joubert Bird Sanctuary is a municipal reserve in Randfontein on the West Rand of Gauteng. The sanctuary is approximately 30ha in extent and is comprised of a natural pan surrounded by 10ha of grassland. This is primarily a wetland reserve, but the grassland fringe and well established residential gardens in close proximity support many common terrestrial species and the bird list for the reserve is in excess of 130 species. The sanctuary is bounded to the south and east by an industrial area and is unfortunately subject to effluent spills and associated smells.

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Specials

African Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Maccoa Duck, African Purple Swamphen and Grey-headed Gull.

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Habitats

The bird sanctuary is dominated by a pan wetland, which though comparatively small, provides a good diversity of habitats from well established reedbeds to shallow open water, patches of short emergent vegetation and mudflats. Several patches of mature alien trees have invaded the surrounding grassland which is generally fairly degraded.

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Facilities

There are no facilities.

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Birding

The proximity of the wetland to the perimeter fence and the presence of several excellent vantage points in the quiet suburbs around the sanctuary allow for a rewarding birding experience. Aasvoël Road and Wol Street afford the best views of the wetland. Conditions vary seasonally and with rainfall, and no two trips will produce the same diversity, numbers or combination of species, which is part of the attraction of this site.

The extensive reedbeds are a regular breeding site for large numbers of Grey-headed Gull and Sacred Ibis and the airspace above the reserve is frequently crowded with birds ferrying food to their young. Patient observation of the patches of emergent vegetation and the edges of the reedbeds provide good views of the often skittish African Purple Swamphen as well as Common Moorhen.

Greater Flamingo provide an exotic splash of colour in any wetland, and good sightings of a diversity of ducks including Maccoa Duck, which are relatively rarely encountered at other wetlands, are the real attraction of the open water. The proximity of the shallow margins of the wetland to the perimeter fence allows for excellent sightings of waders such as Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet and Three-banded Plover as well as of the more common seasonal migrants.

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General

Access is generally possible as there is an onsite guard, or you can also phone Flip Lessing on 0823411331 to confirm your visit.

The sanctuary is bounded by Desert, Horingbek, Aasvoël, Arend and Wol Roads in Randfontein. From Johannesburg and Pretoria take the N14/R28 to Krugersdorp and then Randfontein. This road becomes Paardekraal Road through Krugersdorp and continues as Windsor and Main Reef Road between Krugersdorp and Randfontein. Once in Randfontein, turn right off Main Reef Road into 6th Street which becomes Van Riebeeck Road and then Tambotie Street. From Tambotie Street turn left into Horingbek Avenue and then left into Desert Street. The main entrance to the sanctuary is off Desert Street.

Craig Whittington-Jones



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