About Klipfontein Bird Sanctuary

Vryheid's Klipfontein Bird Sanctuary is not the only wetland connected to a sewage works – Blesbokspruit near Springs, and Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei in Cape Town are cases in point.

Klipfontein resulted when sewage water was diverted into a neglected grassland in 1995, producing a small, but highly productive, wetland, particularly for flufftail and rail bird enthusiasts.

This is just one of Vryheid's forest, wetland, grassland and mountain offerings. The small town markets itself as an outdoor bolthole, with access to thousands of plants, hundreds of birds, indigenous animals and the battlefields right on its doorstep.

Between the Vryheid Hill Nature Reserve, Bivane Dam, Ithala Game Reserve and numerous privately run game lodges, Mpofini Mountain and the bird sanctuary, Vryheid's claim is more than secured.

Klipfontein Bird Sanctuary lies south of the town's airfield, adjacent to the Klipfontein Dam. Its two bird hides, one of which recently received an overhaul after a hot burnout left it damaged, provide shade and shelter from which to spot the over 200 different birds that use this wetland during the year.

Apart from the obvious reedbed and wetland birds – African rail, African crake, red-chested flufftail, a pair of grey crowned cranes that breed in the reeds, ducks in the dams and pans and African purple swamphens in the mudflats, warblers of every description and the odd snip, heron, giant kingfisher, African fish eagle and Burchell's coucal, there are also birds that are not associated with water – a pair of Wahlberg's eagle, red-throated wrynecks, African firefinches and black-throated canaries.

The hides are padlocked. Make enquiries at Custom Graphics, a shop in Market Street in town.

Need to Know

WhereTo gain access to the bird hide, which is locked, collect a key from Custom Graphics shop in Market Street in Vryheid (opposite the municipal buildings), Battlefields, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours

OvernightStay in Vryheid Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal

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