Highlands and Wetlands – Verloren Valei Nature Reserve

About the Birding

As the reserve is now a closed reserve to travel around the reserve you must be accompanied by an environmental monitor, but generally there are three directions in which to travel.

Before entering the main gate one can travel in a northerly direction up the road past the reserve known as De Berg Road which ultimately takes one up to the highest point on the Escarpment known as De Berg (2331m asl). This route will present Sentinel and Cape Rock Thrush, Ground Woodpecker, Mountain Wheatear, Pied Starling, Grey and Red-winged Francolin, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Denham’s Bustard, Jackal Buzzard, Lesser and Rock Kestrel, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Levaillant’s, Lazy, Wing-snapping, Cloud and at times Pale-crowned Cisticola. There is a large wetland patch on the western side of this road some 3 to 4 kilometres north of the entrance gate where Grass Owl, Corn Crake, and White-winged Flufftail have been recorded, which is particularly rewarding in the late summer. The largest wetland is off De Berg Road some 3 km further north where the cranes especially the Wattled Cranes are often seen. This road is also usually very good for Swifts White-rumped, African Black, Alpine and Common in summer.

The second area of interest in the reserve is the rocky outcrops southeast of the office where the Lunsklip River flows out of the reserve where in recent years Cape Eagle -Owl has been breeding, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Malachite Sunbird, and many of the other specials can be seen.

The third route to follow is in a clockwise circuit from the office in a southerly and western loop to the western edge of the reserve, and then back to the office. This is the most likely route in which to see Yellow-breasted Pipit, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Buff-streaked Chat, Jackal Buzzard, Sentinel and Cape Rock Thrush, swallows and an array of larks in the right conditions. This westerly route is where Rudd’s Lark has been historically seen.

About the Birding Site

Verloren Valei Nature Reserve is situated in near-pristine wetlands and offers excellent examples of the natural wetland characteristics of the sour grasslands of the Steenkampsberg Plateau. The wetland system of some 850 hectares was declared a Ramsar Site in 2003. It spans the watershed of the Crocodile and Olifants catchment basins, and four rivers making up these systems rise on the reserve. It is particularly rich in orchid species that come into flower between September and the beginning of February.

Other Related Information


From Dullstroom travel for 6 km on the R540 in a northerly direction then turn off onto De Berg Road, and proceed for 8 km to the reserve entrance gate on your left.

Alternatively, head out of Dullstroom towards the Town Dam and immediately before the gates turn left up to the railway line. Turn right before the railway line and follow the service road for some 8 km before joining the De Berg road. This route passes wetlands and dams where many specials have been seen.

Contact Details:

Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency

As mentioned above the reserve is now a closed reserve so to book a visit contact the reserve office on 013 254 8800, or the reserve manager on 063 927 7362 (WhatsApp 076 279 63150 or email velaphis@yahoo.com/ shirley.sibiya@mtpa.org.za. A nominal charge is levied by the reserve.

Friends of Verloren Valei: info@verlorenvalei.org.za.

Text prepared by:

GJ Skinner – Chairman Escarpment Bird Club (with credit to The Friends of Verloren Valei).

Key species:

Yellow-breasted Pipit, Blue and Wattled Cranes, Denham’s Bustard, Cape Vulture, Cape Eagle -Owl, Buff-streaked Chat, Eastern-Long-billed Lark, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Grey and Red-winged Francolin, Nicholson’s Pipit, Ground Woodpecker and Southern Bald Ibis.

Contact details:

The reserve is now a closed reserve so to book a visit contact the reserve office (+27(0)13 254 8800) or the reserve manager (+27(0)63 927 7362 / WhatsApp +27(0)76 279 63150 / email velaphis@yahoo.com/ shirley.sibiya@mtpa.org.za).

A nominal charge is levied by the reserve.

Friends of Verloren Valei: info@verlorenvalei.org.za