The main birding habitats on the farm are all accessible via the various hiking and running trails, mountain biking routes and farm roads. Those visiting for the first time might find starting with a drive to orientate themselves helpful. Birding in areas of grassland and bush is often most productive during the early morning whereas visiting the main dam is likely to be rewarding at any time of day. The farm also serves as a convenient base to explore the surrounding farmland.
From Klipkraal, there is easy access to a network of public gravel roads, one of which runs along the eastern edge of the meandering Grootspruit. Large farm dams and extensive wetlands support a variety of waterfowl including flamingos and Yellow-billed Storks. While much of the original grassland has been transformed by cultivation, many small streams and wetlands remain providing good habitat for African Snipe and Marsh Owl. Secretarybirds are known to nest locally and may be found in remnant grassland patches.
The Klipkraal Protected Area (2 140 ha) is situated in the ridges north of the Vaal Dam in southern Gauteng. Klipkraal hosts a variety of habitats including, grassland, bush clumps, ridges, wetlands, and agricultural lands. This protected area is a biodiversity stewardship site and was declared under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 57 of 2003. Three hiking trails ranging between 5 and 13 kilometres are available seasonally to overnight visitors. Trail running and mountain biking routes are also available. Overnight accommodation options include several well-equipped and secluded cottages, farmhouses and a group camp. Overnight visitors may drive around the farm for birding – information on accessible roads can be obtained from the owner.
Klipkraal Protected Area is located north of the Vaal Dam in southern Gauteng. To get to Klipkraal from the N3, take the R23 Heidelberg off-ramp, travel through Heidelberg, then turn right onto the R549 Vaal Dam Road, travel 10.9 km, then turn left just past Karen Beef onto the Boschkop road (16.2 km), at the T-junction, turn right following the Boschkop signboard, then turn immediately left onto a gravel road following the Vaal Dam signboard, after 2.7 km turn right following the Stryfontein/Klipkraal signboard. The Klipskuur entrance is 4 km down the road on the right (-26.7864, 28.2423), and the Habitat entrance is 1.6 km further on the right (-26.7991, 28.2335).
From the R59, take the R551 Johan Le Roux Road offramp (exit 20, Meyerton) and turn left, after 2.1 km turn right onto Pierneef Boulevard, after 1.5 km, take the first exit at the roundabout onto Jim Fouche Road. After 6.1 km, turn right onto Hewitt Road. Travel for 6.5 km, then turn left onto the R54 and drive for 24 km, then turn left onto the De Kuilen gravel road, the Habitat entrance is 4.2 km further on the left (-26.7991, 28.2335), the Klipskuur entrance is 1.6 km further on the left (-26.7864, 28.2423).
Text by Natalie de Beer and Craig Whittington-Jones (GDARD)