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Rustenburg, in South Africa’s North West province, is encircled by some of South Africa's best birding destinations. These include Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, the Pilanesberg National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve, the Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve and the Barberspan Bird Sanctuary.
The 4 000ha Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve is a great place to start. Over 340 bird species have been recorded there. If it's water birds you're after, Vaalkop is the place to spot them. Look out for waders, storks, ducks, geese and grebes. Vaalkop is also home to a special 800ha bird sanctuary – to visit it, book in advance.
The Ramsar Convention accredited Barberspan Bird Sanctuary is one of South Africa's largest sanctuaries for waterfowl and migratory birds. It’s also a hub for pioneering ornithological research.
At Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, famous for its breeding herd of sable antelope, look out for nesting pairs of martial and Verreaux eagles, as well as a colony of Cape vultures. The Pilanesburg National Park is the destination for bush birds, including the dazzling crimson-breasted shrike.
AAt Madikwe Game Reserve, there are up to 300 resident and migrant bird species, including ostrich and secretary birds, three kinds of vultures and the highly sought-after African finfoot.
There’s no shortage of excellent birding opportunities in the Rustenburg area, so take your time as you take in South African birdlife at its finest.
TTravel tips & planning
Who to contact
North West Parks Board
Tel: +27 (0)18 397 1500
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
Welcome back migratory birds in summer.
Things to do
Visit Sun City to enjoy a wide range of family-friendly activities.
What to pack
Pack binoculars, a local bird guide and comfortable walking shoes.