The Sandveld Nature Reserve faces the Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve on the Southern shores of the Bloemhof Dam. Although they are neighbours, they each sit in a different province- Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve in the North West and Sandveld Nature Reserve in the Free State.
A bit off the beaten track, this lesser-known twitcher's paradise lies about 200km from Bloemfontein where Kalahari thornveld and Karoo scrub vegetation abounds.
The park is covers over 37 000 hectares of land and is the playing ground for many rare birds. With birds such as the great crested grebe, pygmy falcon, desert cisticola, martial eagle and fulvous duck only being a few of their staggering 295 species of birds, this is a birder’s paradise.
With close to 300 recorded species, this is one of the country’s most significant birding spots.
It’s a great place to see sociable weavers with their communal nests holding hundreds of birds. Other species to look out for include the crimson-breasted shrike, waxbill, lapwing, goshawk and the critically endangered white-backed vulture. Sandveld is also home to seldom-seen sable and roan antelope.
The dam is where many of them hang out alongside their black and white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, sable, black backed jackal, blue wildebeest and roan antelope. You might even hear the cry of wolves at full moon here. The dam will please keen fishermen too. Night drives, walks and picnic sites are available for you to enjoy.
Don’t miss this undiscovered gem.
HOW TO GET HERE
The reserve is situated 200km north-west of Bloemfontein on the R34 between Hoopstad (Free State) and Bloemhof (North West province), and is +/-35km from Hoopstad and 10km from Bloemhof. Bloemfontein is approximately 380km from Johannesburg.
You'll need to drive yourself around in the reserve.
WHAT TO PACK
Typical safari gear: binoculars, cameras, bird book.
WHERE TO STAY
The Sandveld Nature Reserve offers basic but clean chalets and camping facilities, with and without electricity.
WHAT TO EAT
The Sandveld Nature Reserve has no restaurant or shop, and visitors must bring all their food and beverage requirements.
How to get thereSandveld Nature Reserve, , R34 between Hoopstad and Bloemhof, Free State