Monday, April 22, 2013

A Drive through Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Pretoria

Rietvlei is situated 25 kilometres from OR Tambo International Airport between Kempton Park and Johannesburg.  The nature reserve is 3800 ha and includes Rhino, hippo,  cheetah and Lion.  The lions are the only animals that are not free roaming.

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We spent two hours driving around the reserve and found a few rare birds that you don't see every days.rietvlei















The first encounter was with a male and a female Secretarybird. The Secretarybird is classified as Vulnerable. The bird is instantly recognisable by having an eagle-like body on crane-like legs or as my kid calls it a mean looking chicken. The bird is largely terrestrial and hunts with it long legs while walking through the grass. I have seen this bird take on snakes in the past and its always in the birds favour. Secretary birds consume snakes, other reptiles, amphibians, tortoises, rats and other small mammals as well as young game birds. The Secretary bird is widespread throughout Africa south of the Sahara but are listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss.

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The next on the list was the White-fronted Bee-eater. Although this is not uncommon it is good to see so close to Johannesburg. Their status is common resident in grassland and savanna’s and Im sure we will see it right through winter at Rietvlei.


The next picture is of a yellow billed duck. Quite common and always spotted at Rietvlei I just had to take a few pictures as the colours on this bird are just spectacular.


African Grey Hornbill


Ant-Eating Chat


Our last entry before we left was a Rhino and her calf.