Mountains to Crater


This route forms the gateway to the region being close to Johannesburg and Pretoria, incorporates the Magaliesberg, Pilanesberg, Borakalolo areas and offers birders a wide range of habitat types and species within a relatively small area. The region offers 3 excellent game reserves all set in unique habitats. Most roads are in good condition and the reserves are easily accessible. At least 7 – 10 days would be needed to explore this region thoroughly.

Magaliesberg Area

The Magaliesberg forms a major component of the Mountains to Crater Eco route area in North West and is ideally placed, being approximately 60 km from Johannesburg and 60 km from Pretoria. This registered Important Bird Area (IBA025) is steeped in rich cultural and biological history. Naturalists have explored this region since the earliest times and must have stood in awe of such a beautiful area. It is here that the first Sable was discovered and documented in 1836. This mountain and its surroundings is endowed with some of the best bird habitats in the country (450 species) and is also home to a number of special species like the Cape Vulture, Black Stork, as well as White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot and African Black Duck. There are some special features in the greater Magaliesberg region such as the Hartbeespoort Dam, the Olifantsnek and Buffelspoort Dam.

Some great birding sites in this area are:

Eastern Areas

Towards the east of the Magaliesberg, there are large tracts of Bushveld hosting many unique bird and plant species. This area consists of the Rooikoppies dam and Vaalkop Dam reserves as well as the Pilanesberg National Park in the North East with Borakolalo Game reserve in the East with the adjoining Koma Koma wetland areas.

Some great birding sites in this area are: