The Rietvlei Nature Reserve
Rietvlei Nature Reserve is one of the world’s largest urban nature reserves, 3 800 hectares in extent, situated south of the city but still within the city limits. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve lies very close to the highway between Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport at a height of about 1700 m above sea level, which is about 300 m higher than Pretoria. There were always some small mammals on the farm Rietvlei. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve has been restocked with game that is endemic to the highveld and is now home to large herds of game and because of its open grassland landscape it offers visitors a unique opportunity to view many species of animals. Some of these occur naturally only in South Africa (for example the Black Wildebeest and the Blesbok). Other animals found in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve include the world’s largest antelope, the Eland, Burchell’s Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Springbok, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Ostrich, two of Africa’s “big five” Buffalo and White Rhino, Bushpig, as well as a number of Black-backed Jackal, Mountain Reedbuck, Oribi, Grey Duiker, Steenbuck, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Springhare, Aardwolf and Banded Mongoose. In recent years a family group of five hippos, as well as cheetah, were introduced to Rietvlei. Rietvlei also offers lots to interest bird lovers. South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, is seen here from time to time, the Secretary Bird is a regular visitor and Rietvlei is home to a breeding pair of Fish Eagles. In addition, many other species of bird can be seen including the Orange-throated Longclaw, the Little Egret, the Darter, the Reed Cormorant, the White-breasted Cormorant, the Goliath Heron, the African Finfoot and the Green-backed Heron. Rietvlei nature reserve is open to private vehicles and offers superb sightings of the wildlife of the South African Highveld. There is a bird hide and an area set aside for pic-nics at Marais Dam upstream from Rietvlei Dam and there are day and overnight hiking trails as well as horse trails (all accompanied by reserve staff). There is also a fishing area/camping site along part of the banks of Rietvlei Dam. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is open daily from 08h00 to 18h00 on weekdays and from 06h00 to 18h00 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Entrance to the reserve closes at 16h00. An entrance fee is charged. Enquiries at the gate and at +27 (0)12 345-2274.