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Midmar Dam is a 2 857 ha resort operated by the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and situated in the Natal Midlands near Howick. The primary area of interest to birders is the Midmar Game Reserve situated on the southern shore of the dam. No facilities are offered.

The reserve abounds with Black Wildebeest (endemic to South Africa) and Red Hartebeest, and a few Oribi (an Endangered antelope).

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Birding

1. The main loop road encompassed some good quality grasslands. The specials to look for here are Black-rumped Buttonquail, which has been seen with chicks from the roadside, Short-tailed Pipit, Denham's Bustard (resident and often fairly easy to spot), Blue Crane and Grey Crowned Crane. At night (or if you are lucky during the day) Marsh Owl and African Grass-Owl may be seen. African Marsh-Harrier and African Fish-Eagle (the nest is situated in the row of gum trees bordering the loop road) are also resident and an Osprey is summer regular. Amur Falcon may also be found at this time of year. Four species of Vanellus Plovers including Black-winged Lapwing are common. Wing-snapping Cisticola and African Quailfinch are particularly common.

In winter, especially once the firebreaks have been burnt, different birds move in, including Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Red-capped Lark and Buffy Pipit. Sickle-winged Chat has been found after a particularly cold snap, and recently a Capped Wheatear was recorded.

2. If you scan the hillside just above the row of gums on the loop road, you may be lucky in spotting the resident family of Ground Woodpecker.

3. The moister grasslands before the loop road are a good site for Yellow-crowned Bishop, Cuckoo Finch and Pale-crowned Cisticola.

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General

Turn off the N3 at Howick onto the R617 Boston/Bulwer Road. Follow the road for 7km and turn right to the Thurlow Gate entrance. Follow the main entrance track until a turn to the game reserve is indicated. Follow this road until it leads to a loop road in the main section of the park. Allow 1-2 hours for the drive or more if some exploring is anticipated.

There is a nominal day visitor entry fee..

Contact information:
Tel: +27 -33-3302067/8
email:
Website: KZN Wildlife Website


Athol Marchant 2007
Adam Riley 1997.



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