Greater Johannesburg and Environs – Northern Farm Nature Reserve

About the Birding

The dams, cattle pens and irrigation canals are the main attraction of the reserve and birders have the opportunity to view, study or photograph numerous water and reed birds like; Little and Great Crested Grebe, African Swamphen, Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Black Crake, Purple and Goliath Heron, African Black Duck, Egyptian Goose, White-faced Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Blue-billed, Red-billed and Cape Teal, Spur-winged Goose, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard. There is a Heronry in a large Pine Tree at the main dam, with primarily nesting Black-headed Heron as well as a single dead tree for the nesting White-breasted Cormorants.

You can expect a good haul of Warblers in summer with Common Reed, Lesser Swamp, Little Rush, African Yellow, Sedge, Willow, Marsh and Great Reed Warbler all possible.
The Cattle Pens are great for Pipits, Red-capped Lark, Western Yellow Wagtail and occasionally Common Starling. The pylons are where the Amur and Red-footed Falcons are seen in late summer, whilst other year round raptors include African Fish, Long-crested and Black-breasted Snake Eagle with occasional Black and Ovambo Sparrowhawk’s. The flowering Wild Dagga attracts the usual Sunbirds, but many other species also enjoy this flowering shrub and around the restaurant Karoo, Kurrichane and Groundscraper Thrush have been recorded
As a birder, consider visiting during the week, as the farm will be a lot quieter and more enjoyable. In winter you can expect around 80 species whilst summer will produce 100+ species in a good half-day birding.

About the Birding Site

This 2500ha reserve is one of Gauteng’s more popular reserves with more than 270 species recorded. The farm is a mosaic of habitats including pasture with cattle pens and grasslands interspersed with exotic tree stands with wetlands, canals and dams with reedbed fringes and has the Jukskei River running along the south-western boundary. It has a number of reasonably well-maintained dirt roads suitable for sedan motors. Please ensure you remain on the roads and don’t drive off-road whilst birding – however walking is encouraged.

A mid-week visit is recommended for Birders, as there are few or no mountain bikers and other than the farm workers, you can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the farm, to yourself.

The farm is extremely popular as a multi-recreational destination for birding, mountain biking, trail running and equestrian events. On weekends, Mountain Bikers flock to the farm, so if you visit as a Birder and are driving, please be aware that they have right of way and of course be courteous to the staff that work on the farm. The small restaurant is only open on the weekends for coffee and toasties adjacent to the bike wash and parking area and has a great vibe with all the mountain bikers and the few trail runners.

Other Related Information

OTHER RELATED INFORMATION
Alternate directions: N14 toward Krugersdorp, exit on R114 to Eldoraigne/Diepsloot and keep left. Cross over the 3-way stop and continue past a small garage on the right hand side, then turn right and immediately left onto a dirt road and the gate to the farm will be on your right.
Farm Gate Co-ordinates -25.937, 27.988

GPS coordinates: S 25° 56′ 15.00″, E 27° 59′ 2.00″

Text prepared by:
Mike Pope

Key species:

Red-footed Falcon (Summer), Greater Kestrel, Cape Teal, South African Shelduck, Black Sparrowhawk, Natal Spurfowl, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Sedge, Marsh and Great Reed Warbler (summer), Fairy Flycatcher (winter), Red-capped Lark, Common Starling, Namaqua Dove, Western Yellow Wagtail (summer), Long-crested Eagle, Black Kite (summer), Amur Falcon (summer), Northern Black Korhaan, White-fronted Bee-eater, South African Cliff Swallow, Cape Grassbird, African Yellow Warbler, Cape Shoveler, Blue-billed Teal, Goliath Heron

Access Details

Online Payment (R65/person)

  • Click on https://northernfarm.org/book-your-visit/
  • Select from “What you would like to book?’
  • Choose Single Access Northern Farm Pass (for a 1-day visit)
  • Click Submit
  • Complete the required information
  • Reason for Visit – Select Birding
  • Agree to T&C’s, click Submit and complete your Purchase

Opening Times
Winter – 7am – 6pm
Summer – 6am – 6pm

Contact Mike Pope at mikeinq8@gmail.com to arrange access, if you have trouble with the online payment.