Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve

Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve lies just north of the little town of Memel

Free State Game and Nature ReservesThe Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve

Just north of the little town of Memel where the Free State borders Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal, close to the Drakensberg Escarpment, and roughly 250 kilometres from Johannesburg, is a beautiful wetland area, proclaimed nature reserve, called Seekoeivlei.

Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve is a crucial habitat for over a quarter of the Free Stateís endangered birds, and consists of a floodplain ecosystem, drained by the Klip River, with a number of small seasonally-flooded oxbow lakes.

The wetland, named after the hippo, last seen here in 1894, stretches for about 20 kilometres from Memel northwards to the Mpumalanga border.

Seekoeivlei is the largest wetland in the southern African highveld that supports huge numbers of local and migratory water birds.

Obviously the attraction to the nature reserve is bird viewing, due to the large variety of rare birds and birds in general. Seekoeivlei is a breeding site for the whiskered tern, crowned and blue cranes and the endangered wattled crane.

The little bittern and yellowbilled stork, both seldom seen, join the white-winged flufftail as rare species found here, and, as part of a large-scale rehabilitation project the wattled crane and the hippopotamus have both been reintroduced.

Seekoeivlei has been a Ramsar site (list of wetlands of international importance) since January 1997. Itís interesting to learn that the Klip River, which drains the system, is a tributary of the Vaal River, upon which Gauteng depends for its water supply.

Part of the wetlands healing has been undoing the harm done by farmers who have dug canals to drain the wetland for agriculture and used the wetland for grazing, before it was proclaimed a wetland.

Activities near Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve

Sediba Trail

The trail, shaped in the figure of 8 has been thoughtfully constructed with ladders and bridges, for the safety of any hiker (beginner or experienced), and takes two days to complete, 10km on the first, and 6km on the second. There are many...

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