Marievale’s for the birds (and birdwatchers)!

This past Sunday, my brother introduced Joubert and me to the Marievale Bird Sanctuary, a popular destination for birdwatchers and photographers in Gauteng’s Far East Rand.

Marievale 11Oct2015 (16)

Marievale protects 1012 hectares of the much larger Blesbokspruit RAMSAR wetland, surrounded by mine dumps and other development. Facilities include two 4-bed chalets overlooking the wetland for overnight visitors, a conference centre, picnic sites, walking trails and several photographic hides. The roads in the reserve are rough gravel, for the most part easily traversed in a normal sedan.

Marievale 11Oct2015 (13)

The reserve’s vegetation comprises extensive stands of reedbeds (about 70% of its surface area) and flooded grasslands, interspersed with areas of open water and, during drier periods, mud flats frequented by impressive concentrations of wading birds. The area can hardly be described as pristine however, as the wetland itself owes its existence to the altered flow of the river caused by mining, railways and roadworks, inundating what would otherwise have been grasslands. Pollution from the mines and industries surrounding it, and upstream, is now threatening Marievale’s man-made wetlands.

Marievale 11Oct2015 (35)

Nevertheless, the list of bird species recorded at Marievale has around 280 entries; during the extremely enjoyable six hours we spent in the reserve on Sunday we managed to tick 70 of those. Many of the birds are quite accustomed to the steady flow of human visitors and offer excellent photographic opportunities from the hides or while walking and driving around.

Marievale Bird Sanctuary is controlled by the Gauteng Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and is easily accessed from the R42 to Delmas, just 4km outside the town of Nigel (map drawn with Google Maps).

Marievale location

 

 

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45 thoughts on “Marievale’s for the birds (and birdwatchers)!

  1. perdebytjie

    Dries,dis sekerlik een van die Oosrand se bes bewaarde geheime.Dis ‘n plek wat ons gereeld besoek..douvoordag met ons koffieflessie en kameras.Deesdae is ons effe skrikkerig sekuriteitsgewys,maar die voëllewe daar is besonders.Ons het Skoonpa se assies ook gestrooi waar die spruit vinnig vloei…sy gunstelingplekkie vir koffie en beskuit.Ek is so bly julle het dit besoek!Jou foto’s is pragtig soos altyd.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Dankie Dina! Dalk loop ons mekaar nog eendag by Marievale raak, ons sal beslis weer gaan om vir Marilize ook te gaan wys. Hierdie keer was ons met sonop daar en het gebly tot die voels begin wegkruip het vir die middagson. Volgende keer wil ek bietjie die laatmiddag daar spandeer en sien wat kom te voorskyn teen skemer – ek hou duim vas vir n otter of twee 😉

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