One of the country’s most renowned hiking trails would be the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve which covers over 66 km of walking. Bring a pair of binoculars and complement your stroll by doing some bird watching along the way. Trails can be shortened to suit your needs – to as little as 1 km. Be sure to bring an ample amount of drinking water… seeing as we live in Africa, after all. A bird list, map and information guide can be obtained from the main administration centre.
Yeah, yeah it’s not quite bird watching in the wild but people go there to… watch birds. If waiting around to spot the diminutive brown-hooded kingfisher is not your thing, then head to Montecasino and walk around the Montecasino Bird Park. Here they host daily bird shows, educate the public on conservation and offer a relaxed atmosphere for the public to interact with the world’s finest feathered creatures.
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
Pack a picnic blanket, grab the family and spend the day at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens. Head to the waterfall with your fancy camera and a pair of binoculars and watch the Verreaux’s eagles as they nest. Above and beyond the pair of popular eagles, the gardens also see 233 other bird species pay them a visit. Download the Walter Sisulu bird checklist here and see how many you can spot the next time you go.
Rondebult Bird Sanctuary
Germiston is home to one of Southern Africa’s most diverse bird sanctuaries and acts as a stomping ground for budding ornithologists. There is a network of pathways linking the eight well-maintained hides which overlook the sanctuary’s three large pans, ideal for any birdwatcher. Each bird hide is locked to prevent sabotage and damage, so you will need to gain permission to enter these hides from security.
The area around the Bullfrog Dam in Benoni is known to attract a variety of bird species to the area. Some of the more interesting birds to see here include flamingos (especially during Winter), Egyptian geese (during Spring through to Summer) and the Great Crested Grebe. Pack a pair of hiking boots as the trail is known to be rugged.
Details: 170-, 172 President Brand Rd, Benoni, 1514
Home to the Whitefronted bee-eater, the Magaliesburg mountain range is known for its wild and wonderful greenery speckled with interesting animals. With over 300 species of birds, including the Cape vulture, Magaliesburg is a popular birding hangout over weekends. It also makes for a great escape from the city as it’s not too far and features a string of popular restaurants, such as Black Horse Brewery.
By Shawn Greyling