Marievale Bird Sanctuary Hot
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Marievale Bird Sanctuary is probably one of the most popular birding destinations for Gauteng birders and with its network of well-placed hides is also ideal for water bird photography.

The Marievale Bird Sanctuary is situated in the wetland area of the Blesbokspruit Ramsar site and is a wetland of international significance. The area covers over 1000ha and over 230 bird species have been recorded here, including many national rarities. The sanctuary boasts five excellent bird-watching hides and also has a 9km vehicle route. Hadedah hide is the most popular for bird photography with the Shelduck hide being ideal for afternoon photography.


Best Time to Photograph
Early morning through until mid-morning.
Type of Photography
Best Time of Year
Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
With this location being extremely popular it is advisable to arrive early in order to find a good position at the various hides. Most hides have perches set up in front of the hides that attract Kingfishers and Swallows as well as Reed Cormorants and African Darter. Watch the reed beds for Squacco Heron, Little Bittern and Spot-Necked Otters.
Recommended Gear
Long tele-photo lenses with bean-bags are a must for bird photography from the hides. Remember that early mornings can be very chilly so layered clothing is advisable.


Site Highlights
The Hadedah hide is probably the best placed hide for bird photography in the morning with Shelduck Hide being best in the afternoons.


Season and Weather
The Marievale Bird Sanctuary has a typical highveld climate with approximately 700m of rain falling per annum and this mainly during the summer months. Frost occurs regularly at night during winter months


Closest Town
Getting There
Head south from Johannesburg on the N3 highway and take the R550 off-ramp. Turn left and follow this road for 20km’s. Turn right at the T-Junction and pass through Nigel. The reserve is signposted with the entrance being on the right-hand side of the road.
Marievale Bird Sanctuary


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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.