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Marievale Bird Sanctuary

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7km from Nigel

-26.3844, 28.5103


+27 11 439 6300


The Marievale Bird Sanctuary is located south-east of Johannesburg, close to the East Rand town of Nigel. The approximately 1 000ha sanctuary is situated at the southern end of the Blesbokspruit floodplain - a RAMSAR site and a designated Important Bird Area (IBA SA021). 

Open all year round, with free access, the Marievale Bird Sanctuary is among Gauteng’s best birding spots, with over 280 wetland and grassland species. The reserve is characterised by expanses of marsh with large reed beds and open patches of water (becoming mudflats during drier periods).

Areas of natural grassland and farmland surround the wetlands and attract typical species such as long-tailed widows, African pipits and marsh owls. Water birds, particularly waders, are the main attraction. Marievale is one of the Highveld’s best places to see black, squacco, purple, grey, Goliath  and black-headed herons. There are also warblers, ducks and sandpipers. 

Early summer is the best time to visit Marievale, when the grass is low and the birds are breeding. Facilities include a new conference centre, 2 overnight chalets, 4 bird watching hides and several walking trails. 

A picnic site and toilets are located near the entrance. Visitors should be aware that the dirt roads in the reserve are uneven and sections of them become impassable in the wet season. 

Address:R42, Marievale Road Extension, Nigel

East Rand



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