Birding in Rustenburg will fill any birder – from beginner to expert twitcher – with delight. Tick off hundreds of birds including raptors, waterbirds, bushveld birds and LBJs (little brown jobs) in a superb variety of habitats ranging from mountains, bushveld and grasslands to huge dams.

Did you know?

Rustenburg is home to the 2 largest platinum mines in the world.

Mention the name of Rustenburg to locals and they’ll think of Sun City, platinum mining and farming. They probably won’t think of birdwatching in Rustenburg.

But Rustenburg is encircled by some of South Africa's best birding destinations: from Kgaswane Mountain Reserve and the huge Pilanesburg and Madikwe Game Reserves to Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve and Barberspan Bird Sanctuary. That's why birding in Rustenburg is so richly rewarding.

The 4 000ha Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve northeast of Rustenburg is a great attraction for birders. Over 340 bird species have been recorded here, and if it's water birds you're after, then this is the place to spot them. Look out for waders of all kinds, storks, ducks, geese and grebes. There's also a special 800ha bird sanctuary here, but if you want to visit this you must book in advance.

The RAMSAR-accredited Barberspan Bird Sanctuary, a huge 2 000ha body of water between Delareyville and Sannieshof, is one of South Africa's largest sanctuaries for waterfowl and migratory birds and is a pioneer in ornithological research.

At Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, famous for its breeding herd of sable antelope, look for nesting pairs of martial and Verreaux eagles, and a breeding colony of Cape vultures.

Pilanesburg Game Reserve is excellent for bush birds, including the dazzling crimson-breasted shrike. At Madikwe Game Reserve there are up to 300 resident and migrant bird species, including ostrich and secretarybirds, three kinds of vultures and the highly sought-after African finfoot.

A good central place to stay for birding in Rustenburg is Kedar Country Hotel Conference Centre and Spa located on Paul Kruger's historic farm of Boekenhoutfontein. A National Monument, it covers 1 200 acres of bushveld with plentiful game and birds galore.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

North West Parks Board
Tel: +27 (0) 14 555 5351/2/3/4

Kedar Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa
Phone: +27 (0) 14 573 3218
Email: sales@rali.co.za

How to get here

From Pretoria or Johannesburg take the N4 north until you reach Rustenburg. This will take about three hours.

Best time to visit

Summer is best because all the migratory birds are back.

Tours to do

If you need a break from feathers, take a tour to glitzy Sun City.

Get around

Birding is always best done on foot, but in game reserves, you'll have to make do with a car.

What to pack

Binoculars, camera, sunscreen, hat, comfortable walking shoes/boots, bird field guide.

Where to stay

The Kedar Country Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa.