Johannesburg

sbr-home8Johannesburg is located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa known as the Highveld, at an elevation of 1,753 metres. Johannesburg is located on the south side of the prominent ridge called the Witwatersrand and the terrain falls to the north and south. The Witwatersrand marks the watershed between the Limpopo and Vaal rivers as the northern part of the city is drained by the Jukskei River and the southern part of the city, including most of the CBD, is drained by the Klip River. The north and west of the city has undulating hills while the eastern parts are flatter. The city boundary stretch from Orange Farm in the south to Midrand in the north and includes Diepsloot, Randburg and Roodepoort. This area was predominantly a grassland region but large quantity of planted trees in the suburbs of Johannesburg has permitted many woodland birds to move into the city during the last few decades. The remaining natural areas on the outskirts of the city host a number of birds that are endemic to this region.

Cumberland Bird Sanctuary

Cumberland

The Cumberland Bird Sanctuary is approximately 5.2 hectares in size and is a "Protected Area" with the entrance situated on Cumberland Avenue between Angus Rd and Moray Drive in Bryanston, Johannesburg. The reserve is managed by Johannesburg City Parks and can unfortunately only be visited by people with a key for the reserve gate. Although this sanctuary contains lots of exotic trees, it does contain a surprisingly high number of bird species (82) and is also well known for a breeding pair of Black Sparrow-hawks. There is a bird hide overlooking a small dam in the centre piece of the reserve. Paths have been laid out and there are some picnic tables and benches. It is a peaceful haven where the whole family can enjoy a walk or picnic. No fires are allowed and in the interest of the bird life, no dogs are allowed.

Bird Hide (Grade 2)

(Please visit the Bird Hide page for a description on the grading of the accessibility of the different Bird Hides).

To get to the hide you need to travel over grass and there is no clear path which would make it difficult for people who are mobility impaired to reach the hide. The shelf and viewing space is high enough from the ground but there is no knee space provided below the shelves.
Co-ordinates: 26' 03"22.1S 22' 00"08.3E

Kloofendal Nature Reserve

sbr-home12

The reserve is managed by Johannesburg City Parks and is 110 hectares in size consisting of typical Highveld/ Bankenveld rocky ridges, shale hill sides, river systems and has well maintained paths. Facilities on site include a dam, bird hide and picnic facilities. Specials at the site include Black sparrow hawk, Verreaux's eagles, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Spotted eagle Owl, Barn Owl and Wailing Cisticola. Other bird species that can be seen at the site include Red throated wryneck, Black-collared and crested barbets, Klaas's cuckoo, Diedericks cuckoo, Black Cuckooshrike, Bokmakierie, Fairy flycatcher, Pintailed Whydah, Greater & lesser striped swallows, African black duck, little grebes, blacksmith & crowned plovers, Greenbacked heron and Hamerkop. Any time of the year, but of course there are more birds during the summer months when all the migrating birds are back The reserve is set within the City of Johannesburg and is very accessible to the public. The reserve is fully fenced with a security guard on duty at the entrance every day.

Bird hides

(Please visit the Bird Hide page for a description on the grading of the accessibility of the different Bird Hides).

Kloofendal1resThe hide (Grade 4) is unfortunately located far from the main gate and is not universally accessible due to the long one track gravel pathway. It would also be impossible to improve the pathway due to the distance to the hide from the main entrance and the difficult terrain which the pathway covers.

Directions

Take road towards Johannesburg (R24); turn north on the N3 towards Pretoria and follow the ring road; turning South towards Roodepoort on the N1; exit at 14th Avenue and turn right at the 14th Avenue off-ramp just before the road climbs up the Witwatersrand ridge; turn right under the M1 and turn right again at Hendrik Potgieter; after about 3 km, turn left and up on a slip road at Christiaan de Wet; turn 2nd traffic light right at Wilgerood Road and second traffic light left at Topaz; almost immediately right into Galena. The entrance to the reserve is at the bottom of the hill on your left. You may collect a map of the reserve from the security guard at the gate. Travel up to the parking area on the left of the road. Approximate travelling time from OR Tambo International Airport is 45 minutes.

GPS Co-oridnates

Location Latitude Longitude
Kloofendal Nature Reserve     S 26° 7' 38.58"    E 27° 52' 50.46"

Additional informationKloofendal2res

The first gold mine on the Witwatersrand is situated in the reserve. Fred and Harry Struben mined the Confidence Reef from 1884 to 1886. This led in large part to the discovery of the fabulous Witwatersrand gold deposits less than 10 km away.

For more information or guided walks into the Confidence Reef, please contact the Roodepoort Museum at +27 (0)11 761 0226

Gate opening and closing times
Open: 06H00 06H00
Close: 18H00 18H00

Contact

General inquiries, Joburg City Parks: Tel: +27 (0)11 712 6600
Joburg City Parks for hiring braai lapa or Ecological Centre: Tel: +27 (0)11 712 6658
Guided Nature Walks, Karin Spottiswoode from Friends of Kloofendal: Tel: +27 (0)11 674 2980

Northern Farm Nature Reserve

sbr-home3This 2500ha reserve has become one of Gauteng's most visited reserves with more than 270 species recorded. The reserve has a wide variety of habitats including some grassland, reedbeds, agricultural fields, cattle kraals and lots of wetland areas consisting of dams and irrigation canals. The Juskei river runs along the western boundary of the reserve.

The reserve has a number of reasonably well-maintained dirt roads suitable for sedan motors. The dams and irrigation canals are the main attraction of the reserve and birders have the opportunity to view, study or photograph numerous waterbirds for example Great Crested Grebe, African Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen, African Black Duck, Comb Duck, Egyptian Goose, White-faced Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Hottentot Teal, Red-billed Teal, Cape Teal, Spur-winged Goose, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Red-knobbed Coot and Little Grebe. Herons, cormorants and egrets are also extremely common and this is a good place to see the massive Goliath Heron. Always listen for warblers and flufftails in the reedbeds. Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler and Sedge Warbler are all possible as well as Red-chested Flufftail.

Northern Farm is well-known for the number of raptor species that occur here for example African Fish-Eagle (breeding), Long-crested Eagle, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Black Sparrowhawk (breeding), African Grass-Owl, Marsh Owl, Amur Falcon, Steppe Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Greater Kestrel, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Lanner Falcon and Yellow-billed Kite.

Yellow-wagtail is an uncommon summer visitor to the Gauteng area but year after year they come to Northern Farm and can be found in the cattle kraals or the short grass surrounding the cattle kraals. Other interesting species that you can hope to find include Black-crowned Night-Heron, Little Bittern, Cape Longclaw, Red-capped Lark, Green-backed Heron, African Spoonbill, African Stonechat, Cape White-eye, Cape Grassbird, Arrow-marked Babbler, Kurrichane Thrush, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Orange-breasted Waxbill and a number of kingfishers including Giant Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and the beautiful Half-collared Kingfisher. Lapwings are very common and Blacksmith Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing and Crowned Lapwings occur in the area. Also look out for swallows and swifts including Sand Martin.

Directions

From Johannesburg Airport take the R21 towards Pretoria. Before reaching Centurion take the N14 towards Krugersdorp. Continue on the N14 till you reach the R511William Nicol turnoff and turn left onto the R511 at the bottom of the off-ramp. Pass under the freeway and immediately turn left onto the R114 Muldersdrift road. Travel on this road to the Northern
Farm entrance (+- 5.4km).

GPS Co-oridnates

Location Latitude Longitude
Northern Farm Nature Reserve    S 25° 56' 15.00"   E 27° 59' 2.00" 

Additional Information

Facilities

There is one hide in the reserve, ablution facilities and an education centre.

Gate times

The Farm is ONLY open on Weekends and Public holidays from:
6:30am - 5:30pm (1 May - 31 August)
6:00am - 6:00pm (1 Sep - 30 April)

Tickets can either be purchased on-line or directly at the farm entrance from 06:00 to 15:00 on weekends and public holidays.

Current ticket price:
1. R30/person for once off entry;
2. R200 for a multiple access card that can be used for 10 entries for more than one person (i.e. R20/entry);
3. R300 for a multiple access card that can be used for 20 entries for more than one person (i.e. R15/entry).

For more information about this site see: http://www.northernfarm.co.za/

President Ridge Bird Sanctuary

sbr-home10The Sanctuary is a flagship park belonging to Johannesburg City Parks, which is managed and maintained together with City Parks by BirdLife President Ridge Bird Club. The sanctuary has in excess of 200 indigenous trees and a dam and covers an area of 2.875Ha. The Sanctuary is fully fenced and surrounded by housing making it a safe and secure environment to visit. The Sanctuary consists of a fairly shallow dam split almost in half by a long strip of Willow trees on an island on which there is a heronry. A bird hide, which is wheelchair friendly and can be accessed by a wheelchair path from the gate, overlooks the dam. Bridges straddle the spruit and it is possible to walk right around the Sanctuary. The heronry has breeding Blackheaded Herons, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets, Little Egrets, Reed Cormorants and Darters. On the surrounding mud banks there are Egyptian Geese, Blacksmith Lapwings, Moorhens and Red-knobbed Coots whilst the occasional Green-backed Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Black Heron are seen. Kingfishers include Malachite, Pied, Half-collared, Woodland and sometimes Giant. Yellow-billed and Black Ducks visit on a regular basis. Southern Red Bishops, Southern Masked, Cape and Thick-billed Weavers all nest in the surrounding reeds and Willow trees. Warblers include Lesser Swamp-, Little Rush- and in summer Great Reed-, African Reed- and Willow. Also to be seen during summer are Diederik, Red-chested, Klaas's and Jacobin Cuckoos. The sanctuary is used extensively by bird photographers. Birding is good all year round. Facilities include a bird hide, wheelchair path and benches throughout the Sanctuary.

Directions

From the airport take the road towards Johannesburg (R24), turn north onto the N3 towards Pretoria and follow the ring road turning west towards Roodepoort on the N1; exit at Malibongwe Drive / Lanseria and turn left at the exit traffic lights. Continue south along Malibongwe Drive going through 9 traffic lights. At the 10th traffic light (Cross Street) take the slip road to the left. At the next traffic light (approximately 200m) turn right into Malcolm Road. Travel about 0,5kms until an open park on the left. Turn left into the parking area. Entrance is via a pedestrian gate. Approximate travelling time from OR Tambo International is from 45 mins to an hour.

GPS Co-oridnates

Location Latitude Longitude
President Ridge Bird Sanctuary   S 26° 6'   E 27° 59'

Facilities

The reserve has a bird hide adapted for the physically challenged. There are no ablution facilities or overnight accommodation.Pres Ridge

Bird hides

(Please visit the Bird Hide page for a description on the grading of the accessibility of the different Bird Hides).

The hide (Grade 1) was originally built with funding obtained from SASOL, and the hide is maintained by the President Ridge Bird Club. The reserve is only open on weekends and public holidays. A well maintained pathway takes visitors from the parking area all the way to the hide. The hide has been constructed with accessibility in mind and leg space for wheel chair users has been provided. The floor is made of cement and is smooth and the wood benches can be moved.
Co-ordinates: 26˚ 06' 31S 27˚59' 36E

Additional information

Sanctuary is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays (except Christmas Day).

Gate opening and closing times
Summer: 06H00 - 17H00 (Oct-Mar)
Winter: 08H00 - 16H00 (Apr-Sep)

Contact

Tel: +27(0)11 787 1557 or +27(0)11 462 9682

The Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary and Delta Park

Delta Park is a large 104 ha suburban park which incorporates the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary. Habitats include open lawns; areas of Hyparrhenia hirta grassland, several small dams; and also areas of exotic woodland. The Braamfontein Spruit runs along the eastern boundary of the Park and serves as a movement corridor for bird, mammal, and also probably reptile species.

Apart from the normal array of bird species typical of the surrounding gardens, Delta is known for its raptors ­ with both Ovambo-, and Little Sparrowhawks having been recorded nesting in the Park, and Black Sparrowhawk hunt in the Park on a fairly regular basis. Up to four (depending on rodent numbers) Steppe Buzzards are usually present in the Park during summer and a variety of other raptors ­ most recently Sooty Falcon, have been recorded as irregular visitors or vagrants. Listen out for the alarm Kwe...kwe...kwe calls of the Grey Go-away-birds, coupled with the panicked flight of the doves to detect any raptors moving in the Park.

sbr-home5Another major draw card is the pair of Spotted Eagle Owls which nest annually in a nest box on the Delta Environmental Centre building. The nest box is located on the western side of the office tower and the best position from which to view it is from the raised mound to the north of the Centre building. The owls usually nested in spring, but in recent years they have started nesting much earlier ­ even in June, and it is worth checking for activity from this time.

Other attractions are the large flock of European Bee-eaters that are usually found hunting over the bottom of the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary and along the Braamfontein Spruit during the summer months (October to April), as well as a variety of weavers, bishops, canaries and waxbills. All three of the local Lapwing species ­ Crowned-; Blacksmith- and African Wattled- occur, as well as a small population of Spotted Thick-knees. The exotic Rose-ringed Parakeet has nested and is regularly sighted.

Small mammals are represented by the nocturnal Large Spotted Genet (occasionally seen around the Centre building) and Slender Mongoose. Rinkhals are also fairly common, and are usually detected by the behaviour of the Hadeda Ibis, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Common Fiscals and Common Mynas that often follow these snakes on the ground ­ particularly towards the end of summer. Although venomous (and also able to spray or 'spit' their venom), no incidents have been reported. Rinkhals will however 'play dead' when cornered and it is wise to give any apparently 'dead' snake a wide berth!

The best way to explore the Park is to undertake a circular walk through the area. Starting in the carpark next to the Delta Environmental Centre, explore the SASOL Sensory Trail and WaterWise Garden and then head south-west towards the top end of the Park. Your route will take you past three small dams which offer a variety of waterfowl, plus the odd kingfisher or Green-backed Heron. From the top dam head north towards the Standard Drive carpark, scanning the lawns for Red-throated Wryneck, and then continue on along the track below the Delta School. Lesser Honeyguide has a regular call site in the large Black Wattle on the bank below the school and further along, seeding Guinea Grass (Panicum maximum) attracts large numbers of seedeaters during mid-summer.

Now turn eastwards, heading down-slope through an area of natural veld grasses which is good for Common Stonechat and both Zitting-, and Levaillant's Cisticolas (summer). The stand of tall Eucalyptus trees on your right has been used for nesting by both Little- and Ovambo Sparrowhawks and is worth checking out ­ particularly in late spring. Head south-east towards the observation mound overlooking the main dam in the bird sanctuary and spend some time scanning the water and reeds for a variety of waterfowl, rails, herons etc. before heading left towards the lower hide. Depending on season/water levels the reedbeds of the lower dam play host to large numbers of nesting Southern Red Bishops as well as small numbers of Thick-billed Weavers ­ a recent addition. Continue on towards the bottom of the sanctuary and then turn right (east), heading towards the Braamfontein Spruit. Continue in a southerly direction checking the river and also the powerlines overhead for anything new before taking the narrow track between the bird sanctuary and the Girl Guide camp (Trefoil Park) to reach the second hide – which overlooks the main sanctuary dam. Complete the circuit by continuing along the sanctuary fence, over the water inflow and back up to the carpark next to the Centre.

Directions

From the center of Johannesburg, head north on Jan Smuts Avenue, turning left into Empire Road below the University of the Witwatersrand. After passing the Yale Road entrance to the campus, keep left and take the fly-over leading to Emmarentia/ Barry Herzog Ave. Continue north on Barry Herzog Ave. [Route M71] until you find an open area with powerlines on your left. Barry Herzog Ave. becomes (briefly) Rustenburg Road at this point. Continue on Rustenburg Road over a small bridge located on a left-hand bend and up the hill to the second set of traffic lights (at the Engen Garage). Turn right here into Road No. 3 and continue for 850 meters to the main entrance (directly opposite the end of Road No. 3). Once inside the Park, turn left to the Delta Environmental Centre carpark,

GPS Co-oridnates

Location Latitude Longitude
Main Entrance S 26° 7' 40.00" E 28° 0' 36.00"
Standard Drive entrance (off Pitcairn Rd.)   S 26° 7' 33.00" E 28° 0' 13.00"

FacilitiesDeltaPark

Two bird hides plus an observation mound which overlook the two dams within the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary. A public toilet situated close to the Centre carpark is open between 08:00 and 17:00 each day.

Bird hides

(Please visit the Bird Hide page for a description on the grading of the accessibility of the different Bird Hides).

The first hide (Grade 1) is reached from the main entrance. A pathway from the parking area makes it easy for people in wheelchairs to reach the hide. The hide itself is different to other more traditional hides in the sense that it is open at the back and there is therefore no door to enter through. Although this unique aspect of the hide makes the hide accessible, it does not provide a lot of protection from the weather. The floor of the hide is cement based. The benches are made of recycled material and both the benches and the viewing slots are at a perfect height and have lots of the leg room.
Co-ordinates: 26˚ 27' 31.76S 28˚ 00' 47.26E

The second hide (Grade 4) is basically the same in structure and materials used as the hide described above. The hide however had been vandalised as some of the benches and shelves have been removed. The hide overlooks an artificial dam with reeds and at the time when this hide was audited very few bird species could be seen.
Co-ordinates: 26˚ 27' 24"S 28˚ 00' 45"E

Additional Information

The park gates do not close at night and access is therefore 24/7. Although the Park is patrolled regularly by outside security and there have been no recent problems, sensible precautions against muggings etc. are still advised ­ particularly at night or very early in the mornings.

Please report any interesting/ unusual sightings to the Delta Environmental Centre (office hours) or via email to geofrey@iafrica.com

Birder Friendly Establishments in this area:
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