Get your birding gear together for a day trip to the Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve, where lark, waxbill, robin, grebe, finch, owl, cisticola, courser, spoonbill and the secretary bird are just some of the seasonal species to be spotted. Overnight facilities offer the added appeal of spotting nocturnal birds.

Did you know?

Klerksdorp is considered to be the oldest settlement of the former Transvaal province.

Thorny acacias, chalk pans and 1 000ha of grassland provide travellers – and bird lovers in particular – with a taste of the bushveld less than 200km from Johannesburg.

Often described as a destination for the serious birder, the Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve offers easy access to flora and fauna along two loop roads. Depending on how much time you have, opt for the 14km or 28km loop along well-maintained gravel roads which take you to the extremities of the reserve.

Entry tickets have a convenient bird checklist printed on the rear, so set your binoculars for the Gabar goshawk, chestnut-backed finchlark, melodious lark, fiscal flycatcher, chestnut-vented tit-babbler, violet-eared waxbill, malachite sunbird, mountain wheatear, and Kalahari robin during the day.

Venture further into this nature reserve for about 2km to a disused quarry where you’ll find the African pipit, long-billed pipit, buffy pipit, Cape longclaw, chestnut-backed sparrowlark and grey-backed sparrowlark.

Three seasonal dams provide ideal habitat for summer species such as the African spoonbill, maccoa duck, South African shelduck and little grebe. Watch the small scrub alongside for signs of the scaly feathered finch.

The grasslands attract many different species of quail, cisticola and courser. And the hard-to-miss secretary bird will be seen striding around in typical fashion.

After sunset, keep a trained ear open for the spotted eagle owl, barn owl, and rufous-cheeked nightjar, and an eye open for the telltale eye reflection of nocturnal wildlife.

Visitors’ comfort has been taken into account with picnic and camping sites provided for day trippers, or the caravan park is a good place to set up home for a few days of birding to spot the brubru, bokmakierie, red-throated wryneck, shrike and honeyguide, along with the ant-eating chat and familiar chat, both of which are relatively tame, allowing for ideal photographic opportunities.

Birds aside, Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve is also home to more than 30 wildlife species including giraffe, impala and zebra.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)18 487 8781
Cell: +27 (0)82 937 4542

How to get here

The Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve lies 13km outside Klerksdorp on the road to Potchefstroom.

Best time to visit

Summer, when the bird population is at its peak.

Around the area

Follow the N12 Treasure Route, which traces the goldfields through the towns of Potchefstroom, Stilfontein and Klerksdorp.

What will it cost

R15 per adult and R70 per vehicle.

What to pack

A South African birding book (Roberts is the best) and a good pair of binoculars.

Where to stay

Three good-quality chalets and a well-appointed caravan park are available in the reserve. Further afield, in nearby Potchefstroom, there are various B&Bs and guest houses.