Situated 18km from the centre of Tshwane, the 3 800-hectare Rietvlei Nature Reserve surrounds the magnificent Rietvlei Dam which supplies Pretoria with 15% of its water. The reserve comprises endangered Bankenveld grassland and is home to approximately 2 000 animals including cheetah, leopard, buffalo, white rhino and a host of buck, making it one of the better populated game reserves in Gauteng. The bird watching is remarkable with two dams on the reserve with bird hides which provide open water and wetland habitats.
Activities at the dam include freshwater fishing (catfish, yellowfish, carp and tilapia), which is allowed at the northern and western shores and a variety of non-motorised water sports, which operate from the yacht club, located on the north-western shore. Guided one and two day hiking and horse trails can be arranged and guided game drives through the reserve are also available (note visitors must provide their own vehicles, advance booking required).
The reserve has about 60km of well-maintained tar and dirt roads that allow for great game viewing. Look out for cheetah, rhino, leopard, buffalo, blesbok, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, Burchell’s zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, springbok, mountain reedbuck, steenbok and grey duiker.
It is possible to stay overnight at the park in the Rietvlei campsite, although this must be booked in advance.
If you're looking for activity filled getaways in Gauteng then a visit to Rietvlei Nature Reserve provides just that.
The reserve has its origins in the 1930s when the Rietvlei Dam was dug by hand. Today the dam is fed by the Sesmylspruit (Six Mile Stream), five fountains and five boreholes. Upstream lies Marais Dam that acts as a sludge dam for the Rietvlei. Originally the dam was not open to the public, but in 1948, following the creation of a nature reserve and the introduction of endemic game species by the then Pretoria City Council, the Rietvlei Nature Reserve was proclaimed.
The reserve enjoys a Highveld climate characterised by dry, frosty winters with temperatures rarely dropping below zero and in the summer daytime temperatures reach up to 34°C.
- September to March: 5.30am to 5pm
- April to August: 6am to 4pm
- Entrance to the reserve R48
- School children (six to 16 years) R27
- Pre-school children (two to five years) R6
- Children under two free
- Pensioners and disabled persons R27
On the R21 take the Irene/Rietvleidam off-ramp and turn in an easterly direction (towards Rietvleidam). At the first four-way stop turn right towards Olifantsfontein and the St George’s Hotel. Drive for 1.5km, crossing the Sesmylspruit. On the left is the signboard for the reserve. Turn left and follow the road up the hill to the main gate. Drive past the stone entrance until you get to the offices and entrance gate.