Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Pretoria
If you grew up in the vicinity of Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, you will remember a time, during the 1970s, when the pink backed pelican bred here; and crowds of people came from all over Tshwane to watch the thousands of egrets, part of a large heronry that also developed here, come to roost in the evenings.
Since then, the Brooklyn Centre has expanded to cover some of the spruit that runs into the reserve, and a 400-year old wild olive tree joined the debris. Subsequently the brown hooded kingfisher and the odd frog have all disappeared. However, it is still a wonderful place to see some of the more common birds close up. The sanctuary lies in Muckleneuk and is a regular Sunday afternoon picnic spot for families. The area around the Blue Crane restaurant, which lies virtually on the dam and adjacent reed beds, attracts blue crane, grey crowned crane, rock doves, speckled pigeons and the odd Egyptian goose, that all feed regularly here.
The 11.8 hectare sanctuary lies within the Walkerspruit Open Space System in which two streams feed water into wetland basins that attract a large number of water bird species. There is a bird hide and guided walks as well as an exhibition hall. Getting to the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary: From the Fountains circle (on the R21) take the George Storrar turn-off. Travel east over Koningin Wilhemina where it change to Middel street. Turn left at the first robot, Dey street, and then left again at Boshoff street. The entrance to the sanctuary is on the right hand corner, Boshoff and Roper.
Hours: Summer: September to April from 07h00 to 18h00
Winter: May to August from 07h00 to 17h00
Telephone: +27 (0)12 440-8316
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