North-west Zululand – Louwsberg Bivane Dam
About the Birding
Bivane Dam was completed in 2000 on the beautiful Bivane River, with the objective of supplying the surrounding sugarcane farms further downstream near Phongola. The dam itself is roughly 700 hectares in size and is owned by Impala Irrigation Board though is easily accessible and the surrounding areas boast impressive numbers of endemic and rare plants; a major attraction for botanists! The dominant geological features in the area are the rolling hills with exposed quartzite ridges, wooden drainage lines and steep cliffs all surrounding the dam itself.
About the Birding Site
North-west Zululand is one of the most varied of the birding routes in KwaZulu-Natal ranging in habitat from high altitude temperate grasslands in the west, to low lying subtropical thickets in the east including several large wetlands. Given this incredibly high habitat diversity, it is no surprise that the route also boasts an impressive checklist of birds including 58 of Southern Africa’s endemic and near-endemic species, many of which are confined to the extensive grasslands and wetlands.
Other Related Information
Take the R69 road from Vryheid to Louwsburg. After 30km, turn left at the signboard “Bivane Dam”. Continue along this dirt road for approximately 12km. The turn-off to the dam is then signposted on the left.
Notable points of interest include the:
Bivane Dam turnoff: -27.661030984304563, 31.09227522894244
Bivane Dam main gate: -27.56537838322438, 31.07158325959262