Free State (East) – Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve
About the Birding
Several waterbird species can associate with the Sterkfontein Dam, including Little Grebe, Goliath Heron, Egyptian Goose, South African Shelduck, Caspian Tern, African Fish Eagle and Osprey.
Amur Falcon, and the odd Red-footed Falcon, typically perch on roadside telegraph poles although their numbers have been much reduced in recent years. Keep an eye to the sky as raptors overhead could include Verreaux’s Eagle, the odd Martial Eagle, and Rock Kestrel.
About the Birding Site
The Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve is situated outside Harrismith and is well-known for its vulture restaurant. Sterkfontein is the third largest dam in South Africa. The reserve has a total area of almost 18 000 ha, of which the dam covers 6 940 ha when full.
Birding habitats here include the dam itself and associated shoreline, Drakensberg escarpment grassland, with ouhout (Leucosidea sericea) scrub, protea woodland and forest pockets in a few isolated valleys. This habitat mix results in a bird community of nearby 200.
Other Related Information
Access and facilities:
Access to the reserve is from the R74 on the Oliviershoek Pass from KwaZulu-Natal and Harrismith. An entrance fee is payable.
Turnoff to Sterkfontein Nature Reserve off the R74: -28.418944, 29.065028
If travelling to Durban, consider the scenic detour on the R74 from Harrismith past Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve to Bergville, connecting back onto the N3 just after Winterton.