Where to find zebras (and more!) in Pretoria

A scheme to provide employment to many otherwise unemployed people during the Great Depression of the late 1920s has developed into a wonderful nature reserve where zebras, birds, buck and vegetation abound in peace.

The Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve to the east of Pretoria was originally a farm called Riet Vallei (Reedy Valley) which was boght by the Pretoria City Council with the idea of creaating a dam on the Ses Myl Spruit (Six Mile Stream) to augmnet the city’s water supply.

To provide employment the dam wall was built by hand by a large number of people. It was completed in 1934. The dam now provides great sailing and fishing.

An egret, holding a frog in its beak, sits on the back of a rhino.

The nature reserve was declared in 1937, at which time it had small herds of small buck like Springbok, oribi, grey duiker, steenbok and mountain reedbuck.

A long tailed widow bird in the grass

In 1948 the reserve was also declared a reserve for indigenous flora. It was then known as the Rietvlei Reserve for Game and Indigenous Flora. In 1954 the name was changed to Maria van Riebeeck Nature Reserve and in 1992 it was changed again, this time to Rietvlei Nature Reserve, as it is still known.

Cape buffalo peacefully grazing

A large number of animals including white rhino, Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, Burchell’s zebra, black wildebeest, blesbok, eland, red hartebeest, waterbuck, reedbuck, springbok, steenbok, grey duiker, oribi, cheetah and jackals, together with many bird species, are to be found in the reserve.




© Text and photos copyright Tony McGregor 2011

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