Blood River Vlei

Lakes / Dams / Landmarks in or near Vryheid, Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsBlood River Vlei

Where? 20 km south-west of Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal

Overnight? Stay in Vryheid, in KwaZulu Natal

The Blood River Vlei lies 20 km south-west of Vryheid, one of the most important wetlands in the area around the towns of Volksrust, Wakkerstroom and Memel.

This part of KwaZulu-Natal's Midlands is a series of gently rolling hills on a plateau almost one thousand eight hundred miles above sea level. When the hills do not predominate then the Mpumalanga Drakensberg escarpment makes its presence known.

Many of the wetlands in the area are of international importance – Wakkerstroom Vlei is a proposed Ramsar site; Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve, just outside Memel, is a Ramsar site with a serious floodplain; whilst Vanger Natural Heritage Site, south-east of Memel, supports a further important wetland.

Blood River Vlei is one of the largest inland wetlands in the country. It serves as a wintering place for migratory birds, and is particularly important for the endangered blue and crowned cranes. In total the vlei covers 5 000 hectares. The vlei rests on privately owned land surrounded by both pristine grasslands and agricultural crops. It supports no fewer than 150 different bird species.

Spur winged and Egyptian geese, in particular, enjoy the vlei and there are huge groups of each recorded, especially during winter. One of the largest groups of grey crowned cranes in the country gathers here; a flock of around 140 birds. Together with the grasslands in Wakkerstroom and Dullstroom this vlei is considered one of the most important areas for blue crane.

To reach the Blood River Vlei take the R68/R33 north east from Dundee, taking a right at the sign Scheepersnek. The wetland is on your left around 6 km further on. You will need permission to access the prime spots.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Vryheid

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The Willow Tree

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Oxford Lodge

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Oxford Lodge

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Fever Grove Guest House

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Fever Grove Guest House

Fever Grove is a 1920’s home, beautifully restored to its original character. The guest house offers eight en-suite rooms ... more

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