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JJust 22km north of Pretoria, you’ll find the Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve Wildlife Sanctuary where you can picnic, go fishing, do some game viewing and finally tick those elusive bird species off your spotting list.

In Gauteng, there’s a constellation of private and public reserves, sanctuaries and wooded hideaways grouped within a destination called Dinokeng. One of the most popular places for a day outing is the Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve. Originally an irrigation dam, the abundance of vegetation attracts birds, game and fish.

Did You Know?
TThe southern banks of the Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve are best for wildlife, picnicking, and bird watching, whilst the northern shores are exclusively for water sports and fishing, with a few basic camp sites.

TThe northern part of the dam is usually visited by anglers who catch bass, carp and kurper, while game viewers head to the quieter south side to see zebra, kudu, waterbuck, impala and blue wildebeest. The reserve also has black-backed jackals that come out in the early morning and late afternoon.

FFor birders, this is a fantastic place to spot osprey, white-winged terns, purple swamp hens, jacanas and black crakes—and if you’re really lucky, the secretive finfoot. One of the best ways to see birds and game is to take a leisurely stroll around the dam, stopping at the bird hides along the way. At just 7km, it’s easy and the rewards are great. The eastern bird hide is also a good place to view game.

The animals at Roodeplaat are used to seeing humans and are not skittish, which makes for wonderful photographs (and some humble bragging on social media). If you plan on staying longer, you can camp or stay in a chalet.

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