Greater Panorama – Rietvaley Game Ranch

About the Birding

Rietvaley Game Ranch offers self-catering accommodation and guided game drives with a game viewer. The scenic 4×4 routes and your guide (not a professional bird guide, but someone who is familiar with the area) will lead you to some of the most hidden avian assemblages in South Africa. Gurney’s Sugarbirds twitter among the mountain proteas as they probe the flowers for nectar, Narina Trogons skilfully elude your presence in the river thickets, Crowned Eagles echo their superiority in the Diepkloof and a Half-collared Kingfisher flickers past as it traverses the Spekboom River.

The lodge is a fine place to view birds in winter because of the numerous bird baths that are regularly filled with water. Some species you may encounter at the lodge are African Green Pigeon and Purple Crested Turaco that enjoy the fruits of the fig trees, Mocking Cliff Chats that hop on the rock walls, Bearded, Cardinal, and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers and the occasional visit of a Black Stork at the dam below the lodge. In summer there will be plenty of opportunities to spot the elusive Black Cuckoo and Red-chested Cuckoo in and around the lodge.

On the reserve there are several lookout points that offer amazing opportunities to view raptors and vultures soar past at eye level. On the mountain we regularly encounter Cape Vulture, Jackal Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Verreaux’s Eagle. At the Diepkloof lookout one can view an active Crowned Eagle nest where these birds are regularly seen. On the river hiking trails one may encounter an African Finfoot, African Black Duck, Black Crake, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, and Tambourine Dove. There are several bird hides on the property that are well suited for guests who want to photograph birds and quietly enjoy nature. Guests who have an interest in Anthropology will enjoy the hiking trails to San rock art panels.
Rietvaley offers a stunning diversity of birds and may harbour well over 250 different species.

About the Birding Site

Rietvaley Game Ranch is a privately owned property in Mpumalanga which is situated 24 km from Lydenburg on the R37 toward Burgersfort. The 5060 ha reserve is part of a greater natural area of game ranches and reserves of approximately 50 000 ha. Located on the reserve is an exquisite, off-grid, self-catering lodge that can accommodate birding groups of up to 12 guests. Rietvaley Game Ranch exhibits diverse grassland communities, towering cliff faces and deep forested ravines that cleave the woodland on their way to fertile valley plains of the Spekboom River. In summer your list can total over 150 species in a weekend, including some special endemic species.

Other Related Information


GPS Co-ordinates (Entrance): 24°56’17.15″S 30°21’51.61″E
GPS Co-ordinates (Lodge): 24°54’4.48″S 30°22’11.58″E

It is advisable to use Google Maps and the above coordinates to view a satellite image of the entrance from the R37 as it is located on a bend in the road.
From the Total fuel station in Lydenburg:

Head north on the road toward Ohrigstad and turn left at the T-junction on the R37 toward Burgersfort. Continue on the road to Burgersfort for exactly 22 km from the T-junction (at 11 km you will pass the gate of Kudu Private Nature Reserve and at 15 km you will pass Oppiberg Restaurant & Lodge) and turn right at the red cattle gate into the entrance of Rietvaley Game Ranch. Continue on the dirt road toward the main gate. Guests will be met at the main entrance.

Key species:

African Finfoot, Black Stork, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Cape Vulture, Coqui Francolin, Long-crested Eagle, Martial Eagle, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Retz’s Helmet-shrike and Southern White-faced owl.

Contact details:

Mobile: +27 721 399 723
Email Address: