Cape Bird Club
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Rondevlei Nature Reserve

Rondevlei from the lookout tower - Otto Schmidt
Rondevlei from the lookout tower - Otto Schmidt
Rondevlei 1 - Penny
Rondevlei - Penny Dichmont
Rondevlei 2 - Penny
Winterbottom Hide - Penny Dichmont
Black Crake - John Fincham
Black Crake - John Fincham
Malachite Kingfisher - John Fincham
Malachite Kingfisher - John Fincham
African Swamphen (Purple Gallinule)
African Swamphen (Purple Gallinule)
African Fish Eagle
African Fish Eagle an uncommon visitor to Rondevlei
Red-knobbed Coot + chicks - Otto Schmidt
Red-knobbed Coot + chicks - Otto Schmidt

This small 250ha site, established in 1952, is managed by the Cape Town City Council and is ideal for a few hours’ birding close to the city. Rondevlei forms part of the larger False Bay Nature Reserve which includes other birding areas such as Zeekoevlei and Strandfontein.

Habitat includes a large seasonally fluctuating vlei (or lake) with areas of open water, reedbeds, lowland fynbos and strandveld . The summer months are dry and the vlei (lake) often recedes some way from the shoreline at this time.

A series of five hides and two observation towers along a short, well maintained footpath, plus a small museum make it especially suited to the beginner.

225 species have been recorded to date. On an average day in summer 70 species may be seen, with 40 in winter when the summer migrants have departed.

The vlei and extensive reedbeds support large breeding colonies of herons, night herons, egrets, ibis and spoonbill. A good selection of open- water ducks, coots and grebes can be seen, with Great White Pelicans often roosting on the sandbanks, cormorants and darters in the dead trees. African Marsh Harrier can be seen hunting over the reedbeds and African Fish Eagle is an occasional visitor.

The reed edges often yield warblers, weavers and kingfishers, with Common Waxbill and Levaillant’s Cisticola present. Common Moorhen and African Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) feed along the shoreline.

The surrounding vegetation provides several common bush birds including Karoo Prinia, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Canary, Cape Robin-chat and Cape Spurfowl.

Secretive raillids and waders include African Snipe, Greater Painted Snipe, African Rail and Black Crake, with Little Bittern occasionally seen. Summer migrant waders include Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Marsh and Wood Sandpipers and Common Ringed Plover. Rare vagrants have pitched up in recent times, including Spotted and Baillon’s Crake.

The hides offer great opportunities for photographers.

Whilst rarely seen the vlei is home to a small family of Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).

OPENING TIMES: 08h00 – 17h00 daily (except Christmas Day). A small entrance fee is payable.

Picnic areas plus parking and public toilets are available.

Rondevlei’s entrance is situated at the western end of Fisherman’s Walk; at the corner of Fisherman’s Walk and Perth Roads.

Fisherman’s Walk, Zeekoevlei 7945. The Reserve Supervisor 021 706 2404

The Cape Bird Club runs regular monthly beginners’ birding outings, for members and open to the public, usually on the first Saturday of each month. Meet at 08h00. Leader Merle Chalton 079 343 1047


Mel Tripp