Sandveld Nature Reserve

At the Sandveld Nature Reserve in the Free State you can experience Kalahari thornveld – with its signature camelthorn trees, sociable weavers and crimson-breasted shrikes – without having to travel to the Kalahari. The reserve also offers several other habitats, with a large variety of bird and game species. It is also popular with anglers.

The Sandveld Nature Reserve is 1 of South Africa’s top birding spots, with 295 bird species recorded here, as well as a wide range of mammals, including black and white rhino. It offers visitors an uncrowded experience in the wild. Leading South African ornithologist Rick Nuttall has studied waxbill species in the Sandveld Nature Reserve, which he rates as 1 of his favourite birding spots in South Africa: ‘It’s a very special place, made all the more special by the lack of crowds and by the presence of camelthorn trees cradling sociable weaver nest masses, which can each host up to 300 birds,’ says Nuttall.

‘The reserve offers a variety of habitats including Kalahari thornveld, Karoo scrub, sweet-thorn savannah, open water and the dam shoreline, contributing to the great variety of species,’ he adds.

Bird species in the reserve include crimson-breasted shrikes, white-backed vultures, sociable weavers, waxbills, lapwings, gabar goshawks, cuckoos, larks and other species of shrikes.

The reserve also has abundant game, including giraffe, buffalo, eland, gemsbok, sable and roan antelope, and black and white rhino.

Other attractions are angling and watersports on the 25 000-hectare Bloemhof Dam, which has hosted F1 powerboat racing over a number of years.

The dam also offers a great variety of waterbird species, including the South African shelduck, white-faced duck, Cape teal, Southern pochard, grey heron and goliath heron.

Birders, anglers and tourists are offered basic but clean camping and self-catering chalet facilities at the reserve.


Sandveld Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)53 4331701/2/3


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.