Gauteng Tourist AttractionsPresident Ridge Bird Sanctuary
Where? Opposite Brightwater Commons, off Cross Street. Entrance and parking in Malcolm Road, Randburg
Few people know about President Ridge Bird Sanctuary. It lies across the road from the backside of Brightwater Commons, with its entrance on Malcolm Road - one of the City Parks flagship parks.
Over 200 indigenous trees and a dam combine to attract hundreds of birds, including the black headed heron and cattle egret that breed there.
Despite its small size (it is just under 3 hectares) the bird sanctuary is well maintained, kept under close scrutiny by the local BirdLife President Ridge Bird Club, who hold regular annual clean-up days. With residential homes on both sides it is at once boxed in, and safe to visit, as townhouse complexes overlook the garden.
In the middle of the sanctuary is a shallow dam, its centre solidly claimed by an island lined with a strip of willow trees. Herons of every shape and hue flock here – grey herons, little egrets, reed cormorants and darters.
The banks are settled by ducks and geese, moorhens and coots, with the occasional green-backed heron, black-crowned night heron and black heron. Weavers of every description fill the air with their chatter, whilst even kingfishers grace the sanctuary with their presence.
A quiet length of time in the wheelchair-friendly bird hide will leave you wondering at the capacity of such a small space in the midst of suburban Jo'burg to attract so many birds (the name of the adjacent suburb, Robindale, seems rather obvious).
Small surprise then that the sanctuary is popular with photographers, as birding is good all year round.
President Ridge Bird Sanctuary is open over weekends only, and locked during the week and at night. The entrance is through a pedestrian gate, and there is a little parking area.