North West – Mafikeng Game Reserve

About the Birding

The Mafikeng Game Reserve, situated alongside the ephemeral Molopo River, provides some relaxed birding experiences to be had along the road network that covers open areas of Kalahari grassland, mixed bushveld and low acacia scrub.

Almost 200 bird species have been recorded over the years with an interesting mix and much to entertain the visiting birder.

Common sights in the reserve include Northern Black Korhaan, Ant-eating Chat, Common Ostrich, Bokmakierie, African Red-eyed Bulbul, Kalahari Scrub-robin, Spotted Thick-knee, Fiscal Flycatcher, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Black-chested Prinia, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler (Warbler), Cape Starling, Acacia Pied Barbet, Marico Flycatcher, Rattling Cisticola, Sabota Lark, Black-throated Canary, Common Scimitarbill, Swainson’s Spurfowl, African Hoopoe, Green-winged Pytilia, Blue Waxbill, and Barred Wren-Warbler.

Open grasslands with scattered trees are the favoured haunt of African Pipit, Rufous-naped Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Desert Cisticola, Double-banded, Courser, Namaqua Dove, Plain-backed Pipit and Cape Longclaw. Summer nomads are Lesser Grey Shrike, Diederik Cuckoo, European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike, Barn Swallow and Spotted Flycatcher. Red-billed Quelea can be very abundant after good rains.

Secretarybird are seen on occasion as is White-backed Vulture and Greater Kestrel. Nocturnal species include Rufous-cheeked Nightjar (summer) and Western Barn Owl.

A variety of game species can also be found on the open plains including buffalo, gemsbok, giraffe steenbok, zebra, springbok, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, eland, impala, warthog and waterbuck. Predators here include brown hyaena and black-backed jackal.

Key species:

Northern Black Korhaan, Bokmakierie, Yellow Canary, Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver), Crimson-breasted Shrike, Marico Flycatcher, Barred Wren-Warbler, Eastern Clapper Lark, Common Scimitarbill, Sabota Lark

About the Birding Site

The Mafikeng Game Reserve is located against the municipal boundary of Mahikeng (the capital city of the North West province) extending eastwards to cover a conserved area of 4 600 hectares of open Kalahari grassland, mixed bushveld and associated acacia thorn scrub.

Key species:

Northern Black Korhaan, Bokmakierie, Yellow Canary, Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver), Crimson-breasted Shrike, Marico Flycatcher, Barred Wren-Warbler, Eastern Clapper Lark, Common Scimitarbill, Sabota Lark

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
Mafikeng Game Reserve entrance: 25°51’42.6″S 25°41’42.0″E
To reach the Mafikeng Game Reserve drive into Mahikeng on the R503 (Lichtenburg Road), cross over the bridge and turn right into Shippard Street. Travel east for 2 km and turn right into Jacaranda Street (immediately after the sportsgrounds) and continue out of suburbia to the main entrance gate.

A network of roads traverse the reserve – the main circuit easily taking two hours. A map is obtainable at the gate. An entrance fee is payable.

Gate times: Summer 07:30 – 19:00; Winter 07:30 – 18:00.

Other related information:

Recommended accommodation nearby:
There are no BirdLife Recommended Accommodations in the area.

Accommodation is available in chalets bordering the reserve (Cookes Lake Resort). Various accommodation options are also available in Mahikeng itself. There is also a lapa with picnic sites in the reserve.

The reserve offers two rustic self-catering guest houses: Hunters Rest Guest house has three bedrooms and comes fully equipped; Angels Rest Guest House has five bedrooms and also is fully equipped. The safari tented camp has seven tents. All tents are en-suite and come with a queen size bed with linen. The two bush camps have no hot water or electricity. One open-air shower and one open-air flush toilet are at each camp.

Local guide information:
There are no BirdLife Recommended Tour Operators in the area.

Text prepared by:
Martin Benadie | Specialist Birding Guide

Key species:

Northern Black Korhaan, Bokmakierie, Yellow Canary, Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver), Crimson-breasted Shrike, Marico Flycatcher, Barred Wren-Warbler, Eastern Clapper Lark, Common Scimitarbill, Sabota Lark

Contact details:

Mafikeng Game Reserve
Tel: + 27 (0)18 397 1675/6/7
E-mail: mafgr@nwptb.co.za
Website: http://www.parksnorthwest.co.za/mafikeng-game-reserve/

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