Return to SA Birding Main Site
This 6000 Ha reserve is run by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and consists mainly of bushveld and grasslands. It has a very interesting birdlist of 307 species, and one should be able to tick more than 100 in a good summer day’s birding. It is situated 13Km from Winterton and 35Km from Ladysmith.

Edit

Specials

Diderick Cuckoo, Klaas's Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Jacobin Cuckoo, Levaillant's Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, African Cuckoo, White-backed Night-Heron, Southern Bald Ibis, Grey Crowned Crane, Cape Vulture, Melodious Lark and Cuckoo Finch.

Edit

Habitat

Spioenkop Dam is a large dam and is surrounded by montane grassland and acacia bushveld.

Edit

Facilities

There is a good network of dirt roads and one may only walk in the designated picnic or fishing spots. Hutted accommodation is available together with good camping facilities. There is a bush camp, Ntenjwa which has been privatised and this may be booked by phoning Andrew or Sandra +27 36 448 1578 or +27 83 7135051). By prior arrangement with the OIC, armed guards, when available, can be hired to walk with you.

Edit

Birding

Walking around the camp and office section one can pick up a lot of bushveld birds. Spioenkop has eight species of cuckoo on its list, namely Diderick Cuckoo, Klaas's Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, Jacobin Cuckoo, African Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Levaillant's Cuckoo. These can be found in this area and in the eastern side of the reserve as far as the main road. Look out for Gabar Goshawk, Greater Honeyguide, Lesser Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird, Brubru, Groundscraper Thrush, Yellow-throated Petronia, Fiscal Flycatcher and Red-headed Finch that can around the offices and chalets.

The drive around the game camp will yield the cuckoos, together with Cape Vulture, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Bearded Woodpecker, White-throated Robin-Chat, Bushveld Pipit, Sabota Lark, Black-throated Canary and Melodious Lark when they start displaying in October. Broad-tailed Warbler can be found in the moist inlets, particularly on the eastern side of the dam. The wet meadow areas also present Cuckoo Finch in the late Spring and throughout Summer. The self-guided Discovery Trail, on the western side of the reserve, has thicker vegetation and some of the birds here include Common Scimitarbill, Arrow-marked Babbler, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Long-billed Crombec, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler and in winter, Fairy Flycatcher.

The drive to get to the start of the Discovery Trail leads through acacia and grassland and Shelley's Francolin can be heard calling from the grass thickets and are often found crossing roads throughout the reserve. Blue Korhaan and White-bellied Korhaan are found throughout the reserve. White-bellied are often more common just after the late Winter fires and fire-breaks have been completed. Grey Crowned Crane visit the reserve regularly and are often observed on the eastern and southern side of the dam. Red-billed Oxpeckers have been re-introduced into the area and are often observed feeding on the resident Giraffe. Ntenjwa, the bush camp sleeps eight in four A frame chalets and is about 8Kms from the office. Entry is gained from the Bergville/Winterton road. There is thick bushveld here and White-backed Night-Heron and Goliath Heron breed close to here. There are canoes available as transport.

The vulture hide is being reopened and carcasses will be put out on a regular basis throughout the year. Booking is essential through the office and a key must be obtained (+27 36 488 1578). There is about a twenty minute walk from the camp to the hide and as an added attraction a small trough will be built for the vultures to bathe in after feeding. This will be visible from the hide. I have seen as many 200 birds here at a time.

Although Spioenkop Battlefield is now run by Amafa, it still remains a worthwhile place to visit, as Cape Bunting, Buff-streaked Chat, Rock Kestrel and Gurney's Sugarbird (when the aloes are flowering and a number of raptors can be seen. The trip up to the mountain often yields interesting harriers. There is a separate fee to be paid to enter here. On the dam, Spurwing Goose and Egyptian Goose are found mainly during their moult, and South African Shelduck occur in small numbers. There is a mixed heronry on the northern shore which includes a breeding pair of Goliath Heron. Yellow-billed Duck are the most numerous bird on the water.

Edit

General

Gate Opening and Closing Times:
Summer ( October to March ) 06h00 to 19h00
Winter (April to September ) 06h00 to 18h00
Day visitor Entry fee R20.00 per adult and R10.00 per child

Office Hours: The office is open from 08h00 to 12h30 and from 14h00 to 16h30

Distance and Time from Gate to Camp: 500 metres

Camp Telephone Number: +27 36 488 1578 Camp Fax: +27 36 488 1065

The nearest town which has a full range of services is Bergville which is 18 kms away. Winterton is 14 kms away and Ladysmith where there is a hospital is 40 kms away.

How to get there: From the south turn off the N3 on to the R74 signposted Winterton. One kilometre after Winterton cross the Little Thukela and turn right on to the R600 signposted Spioenkop. From the north turn off the N3 on to the R616 and head towards Ladysmith.5 kilometres down that road turn right on to the R600 signposted Spioenkop.

Pets are not permitted into the reserve.

For all Accommodation including Camping Bookings Please Phone: Camp Telephone Number: +27 36 488 1578

Protection against ticks should be taken.

Ken Gordon 2001. Ashwell Glasson 2009.






Copyright © 2008 SA Birding cc