|MARIEVALE BIRD SANCTUARY
Part of the Marievale Gold Mine, this area encompasses two lakes and a large wetland or 'vlei' area. Both resident and migratory birds are drawn here and mine management has acknowledged their value. The park exists as a bona fide sanctuary. While obviously of appeal to keen bird watchers, those not of an ornithological bent will not be disappointed, as the wide-open spaces and chatter of birds is gratifying for all and sundry. Depending on people numbers, objectives and requirements, visits can be arranged at the number above.
Marievale Bird Sanctuary is situated in the southern half of the Blesbokspruit RAMSAR site, an area that is also a designated Important Bird Area (IBA SA021) in South Africa
Small patches of grassland are found on the eastern margin of the sanctuary. It is controlled and managed by the Gauteng Departmnet of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment.
Ecology The floodplains and flow of the river have been seriously affected by the building of embankments, roads, railways, pipe lines and power lines across the low-lying areas of the Blesbokspruit, mainly due to the advent of gold-mining in the 1940s. This change impeded the natural flow and created large, open, shallow stretches of water. Nowadays, excess water is pumped into the system from nearby mines, sewage treatment plants and industries, and together with the impeded drainage, has created a vast system of 'dams', vastly different to the palustrine wetland it once was. Nevertheless, this has enabled waterbirds, and in particular, waterfowl, to fully exploit the area as a prime breeding and feeding locality.
# Great Crested Grebe
# Redknobbed Coot
# Malachite Kingfisher
Marievale is on the East Rand near Nigel. One can get to Nigel from Pretoria via the R50 Delmas road, which is a bit longer than the M1/N3 route, but is perhaps more pleasant. From the N3 (south of Johannesburg) Take the R550 offramp and turn left. After about 20 km you will reach a T junction. Turn right and go through Nigel. A few Km outside the town take the left fork towards the sanctuary(signposted). This road goes through rather run-down mine property, past an army base.
The sanctuary is open daily. Opening times are 05h30 to 19h30 from October to March and 06h30 to 18h00 from April to September.
There is no entrance fee.
Contact Tel. 011-3641101.