Limpopo Tourist AttractionsRoodewal Forestry Nature Reserve
Where? Roodewal Forestry Nature Reserve, Makhado, Limpopo
How? Call For Birding tours call +27 (0)83 662-9960
The African broadbill is one of the most difficult birds to spot in South Africa. But you can find it in Roodewal forest. It is the one place in the Soutpansberg where you are almost guaranteed to see at least one, which is why the reserve is so popular with twitchers.
You need to get there just before dawn or just after dusk, however, to spot this little black capped bird, which is not difficult as the 390 hectare reserve lies just east of Makhado ( 23° 1'56.49"S and 30° 2'27.58"E); an easy drive.
Other birds often sighted at Roodewal include the scaly-throated honeyguide, the colourful Narina trogon, gorgeous bush shrike and red-faced cisticola.
Deep in the forest you will find the source of the Luvuvhu River.
Much of the reserve is semi-deciduous scrub forest (low canopy forest), some of it so dense that in late afternoon shade you will not see much more than ten paces in front of you. That fresh leopard spore is often visible on the path, and leopard sightings in the remoter parts of the forest not unheard of, is indicative of the reserve's pristine state. Whilst you might catch sight of a leopard it is unlikely they will tolerate your presence for long; there is no danger of your being hurt, provided you respect the leopard's space.
There are two marked circular trails at Roodewal, neither of which is particularly taxing – the Honeyguide Trail and the Broadbill Trail, both under 2km, include the crowned eagle nest on their routes. Combining the two will allow you to cover the area. Make use of the picnic site for your packed lunch.
Note: the gravel roads to the forest, whilst good during the dry months, become extremely muddy and slippery during and after rain, so much so that even in a 4x4 access to the reserve is practically impossible.