North West – Molopo Nature Reserve

About the Birding

Breeding pairs of Bateleur, Tawny and Martial Eagle have all been observed on Molopo. White-backed Vulture is also common and Lappet-faced Vulture is frequently observed.

Moplop gives access to a suite of dry acacia-associated birds and in years of higher rainfall this is bolstered by incredible bird numbers.

Other than the key species already mentioned, Molopo is an excellent locale for Red-crested Korhaan, Fawn-coloured Lark, Yellow Canary, Common Scimitarbill, Violet-eared Waxbill, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Black-chested Prinia, Cape Starling, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Pale Chanting Goshawk and Kalahari Scrub-robin.

Other exciting finds could be Pririt Batis, Kori Bustard, Ashy Tit, Gabar Goshawk (look out for the melanistic form), and Common Ostrich. More open grassy areas can be good for Desert Cisticola and Namaqua Dove.

In summer, good birds are Lesser Grey Shrike, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, Icterine Warbler, White Stork, Abdim’s Stork, Black Kite and various cuckoos.
Waterbirds are attracted to the various artificial waterpoints in Molopo such as White-faced Whistling Duck, Hamerkop, Grey Heron, Red-billed Teal, Little Grebe and South African Shelduck.

The reserve also has good numbers of Eland, Blue Wildebeest, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Waterbuck, Springbok, Steenbok, Duiker and Warthog. Predators such as Cheetah, Brown Hyena, Caracal, Black-backed Jackal and African Wild Cat are also sometimes seen.

Key species:

Southern Pied Babbler, Monotonous Lark (summer), Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Marico Flycatcher, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler (Warbler), Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver), White-backed Vulture, Red-headed Finch

About the Birding Site

Several of the reserves in the extreme western parts of the province are ideal for the more intrepid birder. One such spot is the 24 000 hectare Molopo Nature Reserve which comprises scenic Kalahari Desert topography with undulating grass and thornveld dunes. Over 150 bird species have been recorded on the reserve, many being sought-after species for keen birders. Owing to its location one can always expect the unexpected…

The reserve gets its name from the Molopo River that forms the border between South Africa and Botswana, running from the Lichtenburg-area all the way to the confluence of Botswana, Namibia and the Northern Cape.

A special feature of Molopo is the fossilised Phepane river bed which can be visited and explored. This feature, which is millions of years old, once carried huge volumes of water.

Key species:

Southern Pied Babbler, Monotonous Lark (summer), Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Marico Flycatcher, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler (Warbler), Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver), White-backed Vulture, Red-headed Finch

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
The reserve is located against the Botswana border in the far west of the province, 250 km north of Vryburg and 7 km west of the settlement of Vorstershoop.

Both day and night drives in the reserve are permitted with the permission of the reserve authorities. A number of artificial waterholes have been constructed. The network of tracks through the reserve are suitable for 4×4 (and 4×2 with diff lock) vehicles only.

Other related information:

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

Bush campsites (Phiri Camp) are available in Molopo Nature Reserve. There are also accommodation options in Vryburg but that is some distance away and not ideal.

Local guide information:
No BirdLife Recommended Tour Operators or local guides are currently available in the area.

Text prepared by:
Martin Benadie | Specialist Birding Guide

Key species:

Southern Pied Babbler, Monotonous Lark (summer), Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Marico Flycatcher, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler (Warbler), Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver), White-backed Vulture, Red-headed Finch

Contact details:

Molopo Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)53 939 0200; +27 (0)72 965 6800
E-mail: molopo@nwptb.org.za ; info@tourismnorthwest.co.za
Website: http://www.parksnorthwest.co.za/molopo-game-reserve/

Entrance fee is payable.

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