Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve, North West Province
Give or take a kilometre the Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve lies 13 kilometres outside of Klerksdorp on the road to Potchefstroom and Eleazer - 1 000 hectares strewn with acacia thorn trees, little koppies, chalky depressions and wide expanses of grassveld. The reserve provides a true bushveld experience just a few kilometres from the city, and only 170 kilometres from Johannesburg, and is easily done in a day.
For bird enthusiasts the Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve often forms part of a bird spotting tour and is regarded as a place for ‘serious’ birding. It helps that there are two loops of well-maintained roads and three seasonal dams in the reserve, so that accessing both the birds and the 30 odd species of wildlife resident in the reserve is relatively easy.
Special birds to look out for include the Gabar goshawk, the chestnutbacked finchlark, melodious lark and Kalahari robin, whilst night birds include the spotted eagle owl, barn owl, and rufouscheeked nightjar. The reserve has picnic and camping sites, whilst the caravan park is a good place to spot the ant-eating chat and familiar chat, both of which are quite tame.
Many visitors to the Faan Meintjies nature reserve come here either directly from Klerksdorp, or include the city in their trip. It is regarded as the oldest white settlement of the old Transvaal, and gold was one of the main reasons for the city forming. Today the city is still one of the hubs of the gold mining industry in the country, and is the centre of the ‘treasure route’ (N12) which traces the goldfields through the towns of Potchefstroom, Stilfontein and Klerksdorp.