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Whilst not a specific "twitcher" destination, Rondevlei provides a wonderful representation of a cape Flats wetland. There is always a diversity of duck, heron, egret and grebe present plus African Spoonbill, Great White Pelican and African Darter. Various tern species, including Caspian Tern, are also easily seen. It is the best spot close to cape Town to see the delightful Malachite Kingfisher and, when the water levels drop in Autumn, spectacular views of African Snipe ( and the resident Hippopotamus), are there for the taking. The coastal fynbos, which the Reserve helps preserve, supports a useful variety of the birds of this habitat - including the endemic White-backed Mousebird.

Count on 70+ birds on a summer’s morning, including 15 or more southern african endemics or near-endemics.

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Habitats

The Reserve covers approximately 220 ha most of which comprises permanent wetland. water levels do fluctuate during the year and the optimum period to visit Rondevlei is in late summer and autumn. Significant numbers of birds, however, are present throughout the year. A number of islands on the vlei act as vital breeding sites for a variety of heron, African Spoonbill and ibis. The vlei fringe is predominantly reed and sedge and much of the area surrounding the vlei comprises indigenous Coastal Fynbos vegetation. A variety of shrubs, bulbous plants and annuals are in flower – particularly from late winter to early summer. In addition to the reintroduced Hippopotamus, Rondevlei is home to an interesting variety of small mammals and reptiles

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Facilities

A well maintained footpath extends along the northern shore of the vlei and provides access to six excellent hides – certain of which have been named for prominent western cape birding personalities of yesteryear. Two observation towers provide excellent views of the vlei itself and the extent of the reserve. There is a small museum and lecture theatre (Rondevlei acts as an environmental centre and encourages school groups). Boat trips onto the vlei itself can be set up by prior arrangement although a minimum number of 10 participants is required. There is a small tuckshop/tearoom. Toilet facilities are clean and adequate.

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Directions

Take the M5 from cape Town and travel about 11,5 km from the N2/M5 intersection in the direction of Muizenberg. Take the left turning into Victoria Road grassy Park. Follow Victoria Road across the major 5th Avenue intersection and turn right at Fisherman’s Walk. The Rondevlei Nature Reserve is well marked a few hundred meters down the road. An entrance fee of R5 is payable. The Reserve is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 08H00 to 17H00. For further information telephone +27 21 706 2404, fax +27 21 706 2405 or email: rondevlei@sybaweb.co.za website: www.rondevlei.co.za

Richard Grant 2001


Afton Grove


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