About Blood River Vlei

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.

Did you know? Blood River Vlei is one of the largest inland wetlands in the country. It supports no fewer than 150 different bird species.

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.

Need to Know

Where20 km south-west of Vryheid, Battlefields, KwaZulu Natal

WhenBest during daylight hours

OvernightStay in Vryheid Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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