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Since its proclamation in 1994, this small (3500 ha), but beautiful reserve in the Kalahari has been a popular destination for birders with its habitat diversity and over 170 recorded bird species.

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Specials

Pygmy Falcon, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Kori Bustard, Ludwig’s Bustard, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Burchell’s Courser, Eastern Clapper Lark, Cape Penduline-tit, Karoo Scrub-robin, Kalahari Scrub-robin, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Black-eared Sparrowlark, Dusky Sunbird, Rufous-eared Warbler, Mountain Wheatear.

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Habitats

Witsand lies within a convergence zone of three major vegetation types, including Karroid Kalahari Bushveld, Orange River Nama Karoo and Kalahari Mountain Bushveld. There are open dunes, rocky hills and ridges, dense Kalahari Bushveld forests, scrub-covered plains, and grasslands. Throughout the dune system there are shallow pans of water due to the high water table of the Witsand system.

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Facilities

Include an internal network of roads, a sunken bird hide, a Botanical Meander along which the plants are marked, 10 luxury chalets, camp and picnic sites, and a group camp (backpacker-type accommodation).

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Birding

1. The sunken bird hide looks out on a waterhole approximately 5 m away, enabling eye-level viewing and photographing of birds and game when they come to drink. Different species frequent the watering point at different times of the day, so don’t be tempted to restrict your visit to the hide to the mornings and evenings only.

2. The entire reserve is open to hiking. Drive to different points and explore from there.

3. The Langberg Mountains east of Witsand are worth exploring for Nama Karoo specials, including African Rock Pipit, Layard’s Titbabbler and Grey-backed Cisticola.

4. Self-drive night drives are allowed on the reserve. Bring a spotlight along.

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General

Witsand offers far more than just good birding. The clear Kalahari nights also make it a popular destination for amateur astronomers and the beautiful landscapes are any photographer’s dream. A walk into the dunes provides a true desert experience or, if preferred, take a walk through the densely wooded Acacia forest for an entirely different experience of the Kalahari. The camp-site is small (only 10 sites) and the chalets are secluded. In laying out the tourist facilities, great care was taken to ensure that guests would enjoy the typical Kalahari experience of peace, tranquillity and wide-open space. Combine this with true Kalahari hospitality and cuisine and it becomes an unforgettable experience.

Gate and office times: 08h00 to 18h00

Tel & fax: 053-3131061/2
Fax: 053-3134900
Mobile: 0832347573
Email:
Witsand Website

Camp Facilities
  • Luxury 4-star chalets, each with own bird bath, and positioned in such a way to ensure seclusion and privacy.
  • Bungalows, Backpacker-type accommodation sharing an ablution block and field kitchen.
  • Camp sites, situated under large camelthorn (Acacia erioloba) trees each with own braai area, tap and electrical point.

Immaculate ablution facilities.
  • 4-star conference facility.
  • Information centre offering various displays and a selection of reference books and documentary videos
  • Kiosk selling basic foodstuffs, firewood and soft-drinks
  • 2 swimming pools
  • Kalahari Mountain View 4x4 Dune Route – a 4x4 trail on a neighbouring farm and managed by Witsand Nature Reserve.
  • Dune-board and bicycle hire.
  • Special rates for environmental education groups.
  • There is no restaurant on the reserve but catering can be arranged upon prior request.
  • MTN coverage on the reserve. No Vodacom or CellC network.

Directions
Approaching from the east: Kimberley. Follow the N8 through Griekwastad in the direction of Groblershoop. Approximately 75 km west of Griekwastad, the Witsand Nature Reserve turn-off will be to your right. (do not take the Postmasburg turn-off – wait for the Witsand signpost)

Approaching from the south and west: Groblershoop. Take the N8 in the direction of Griekwastad. Approximately 15 km out of Groblershoop there is a turn-off to your left marked Olifantshoek/Witsand. Do not take this road, continue along the N8 (R64) past Volop (in total approximately 60 km east of Groblershoop and 5 km past Volop) until you get to the turn-off to your left. Approximately 45 km of gravel road to the reserve.

Approaching from the north: Olifantshoek (N14). 5 km out of Olifantshoek on the Upington road, turn-off to the left to Witsand Nature reserve. NB: The first turn-off to the left is marked “Postmasburg” – do not take this road – less than a km further on there is a road sign-posted “Witsand Nature Reserve”. Approximately 70 km of gravel road to the reserve.

The gravel roads are usually in a fair condition, and are easily traversed in an ordinary 2-wheel-drive sedan vehicle. However, heavy rain can make them temporarily impassable. Visitors are welcome to contact the Witsand office and enquire about the condition of the road if in doubt. The roads are generally well signposted from all the major routes.

Nearest fuel stations: Olifantshoek 75 km
Groblershoop 105 km
Griekwastad 120 km
No fuel station on the reserve.

Jeanene Jessnitz 2007



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