Wetlands, pans and dams


The Barberspan RAMSAR site lies within this sub route as well as a number of pans linked by open grasslands dotted all the way to the Bloemhof dam. This region is a prime water bird route especially during summer when there are thousands of migrant waders present. Birders need to set aside at least two days for each of the key areas ie Barberspan and Bloemhof Dam reserve.

Great birding sites in the Wetlands, Pans and Dams Route are:


bs-barberspan2This sub region is unique in that it covers two large expanses of water one of which is the RAMSAR registered Barberspan pan and surrounding wetlands. This area is fed by the Harts River and is one of the largest water fowl sanctuaries in Southern Africa. The water area extends over an area of 2000 ha and the whole reserve covers an area of 4000 ha. Barberspan is a registered Important Bird Area see http://birdlife.org.za/conservation/important-bird-areas/iba-directory/item/167-sa026-barberspan-leeupan for more information.

The sanctuary falls within the Grassland Biome and is mainly undulating Western Highveld Sandy Grassland with the pan surrounds being Highveld Alluvial vegetation. There are a number of strategically placed bird hides to add to the enthusiast's experience. At times the pans can hold over 40 000 birds. Up to 27000 Red-knobbed Coot have been counted at one time. To date over 365 bird species have been recorded. The reserve also hosts typical grassland antelope like Black Wildebeest and Blesbok. Black footed Cat are known to occur in the reserve.


Large number of waders in summer, Osprey, Pink-backed Pelican, South African Shelduck, Swallow–tailed Bee-eater, Pink-billed Lark and Caspian Tern


The reserve is situated 17 km north west of Delereyville on the N14 to Sannieshof and about 307 km from Johannesburg.

GPS Co-ordinates

Location Latitude Longitude
Entrance Gate S 26° 32' 44.70" E 25° 36' 23.58"
Reception S 26° 33' 16.80" E 25° 35' 21.00"

Additional Information

  • Minimal entry fee is payable at the office
  • Accommodation: camping and self-catering.


For further information – Contact Park Warden: Sampie vd Merwe
Tel: +27 (0)78 536 0561 or +27(0)87 151 1770
Fax: 086 524 0873 or 086 505 7310
Mobile: +27 (0)82 443 9777
E-mail: sampievm@lantic.net or barbersp@lantic.net
Web: http://www.parksnorthwest.co.za/barbarspan-bird-sanctuary/

Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve and Surrounding areas including Sandveld Nature Reserve (OFS

This dam fed by the Vaal River is one of the largest in Southern Africa extending over an area of approx 25000 ha. This 12000ha reserve boasts of a large variety of typical plains game including large herds of Black Wildebeest, Springbok, Eland, and Gemsbok. Over 250 bird species have been recorded. This reserve also forms part of a recognized IBA SA039 which includes the Sandveld Nature Reserve which lies just across the border in the OFS. This region is excellent large raptors holds breeding colonies of White-backed Vultures. In this region one gets the feel of the Kalahari with the large haystack like nests of Sociable Weavers dotted throughout the landscape in the numerous large camel thorn acacias. The landscape consists of mainly Kalahari thornveld and scrub ( Kimberley Thornveld ).


White-backed Vulture, Sociable Weaver, Double–banded Courser, Orange River Francolin, Pririt Batis, Pygmy Falcon (not common), Namaqua Sandgrouse


The reserve is situated 4 km east of Bloemhof on thebloemhofwall R 34 road to Hoopstad and 320 km from Johannesburg.

GPS Co-ordinates

Location Latitude Longitude
Entrance Gate S 27° 38' 9.54" E 25° 39' 20.82"

Additional Information

Accommodation- camping and a group camp consisting of 3 chalets as well as a thatched hunting camp.


Park Manager: Steve Gore
Tel: +27 (0)53 433 1706
Fax: +27 (0)53 433 1705
Web: http://www.parksnorthwest.co.za/bloemhof_dam/index.html

Accommodation Reservations & Information:
Jeanette Strauss: +27 (0)53 433 1706
E-mail: jstrauss@nwptb.co.za