The Abe Bailey Nature reserve is located in Carletonville, close to Khutsong on the West Rand. The 4,200 hectare reserve is named after pioneering mining magnate Abe Bailey who lived, farmed and hunted in the area in the 19th Century and whose hunting lodge is now the reserve’s main office. With approximately 220 species of both grassland and wetland birds it is a birder’s delight.
The reserve is known for its excellent viewing of both grassland and wetland birds and its patches of woodland provide sightings of interesting and unusual birds. The reserve keeps a list of the more than 250 species of bird that have been spotted here and over 100 of these species are known to be residents or regular migrants.
Spend some time patiently listening and watching for the birds and you will be lucky enough to see some rare and beautiful creatures such as Red-throated Wrynecks, Paradise Flycatchers, Karoo thrushes, Grey-headed sparrow and Glossy Starlings among others. There are no bird hides in the reserve and the best spot to catch a glimpse of some of the larger water birds such as Black Crakes, Purple African Swamphens, Yellow-Billed Stork, Greater Flamingo and the African Fish-Eagle is along the bridge which crosses the wetlands. In good weather you might also spot Black Herons, Red-knobbed Coots and Moorhens.
The birdlife here is best spotted on foot and it is advisable to ask the helpful staff for directions to the best tracks and trails depending on what you would like to see. Facilities include a shaded picnic site, ablutions, dormitories and chalets for overnight stays. Lecture facilities are available for up to 60 people.