CapeTownMagazine.com

The only nature reserve in Cape Town home to hippos

For Moments of Joy
Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Un-clicking the clique-iness
 
+27(0)72 350 2062
Cape Town & Surrounds
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
excitement@capetownmagazine.com
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
CapeTownMag

The only nature reserve in Cape Town home to hippos

You can bird watch, fish, picnic and camp at Rondevlei Nature Reserve

Last updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2023

Rondevlei Nature Reserve is a wetland wilderness found in Grassy Park, known for its impressive birdlife. It’s also the only place in Cape Town where you can see a population of hippos. There are two viewing towers with spectacular scenery and several bird hides, allowing birdwatchers to sit in secrecy and observe the comings and goings of life in the wetlands.


Rondevlei forms part of the larger False Bay Nature Reserve. Image: @madrap83

VIEW BIRDLIFE FROM A LOOKING TOWER

Rondevlei was established in 1952 to protect the natural wetlands of the Cape Flats. The nature reserve is an important wetland for birds in South Africa, with over 200 bird species and five bird hides to watch and photograph birds. There’s also a variety of small mammals and reptiles like caracal, porcupine, cape fox, grysbuck, steenbuck and mongoose. 

The two viewing towers provide an elevated view of the reserve and nearby sea. You might spot  ducks, herons, gannets, pelicans, egrets and other feathered-friends. Rondevlei is an interesting reserve to take the kids or for those who’ve never been birdwatching before. There’s also a designated picnic area.


On an average day in summer 70 bird species may be seen, with 40 in winter when the summer migrants have departed. Image: @mosaic.photography

SPOT THE HIPPOS AT RONDEVLEI

The reserve is home to a small population of Hippopotamus, and is the only place in Cape Town where you can see Africa’s deadliest large mammal up close. They’re most active at night, but some visitors have been able to see a hippo or two from the viewing towers. 

They’re usually found on the far south, but their footprints can be seen in the mud around the bird hides. They feed around the water, along with the pelicans, herons, and cormorants who are usually seen from the water banks.


The vlei has between six to eight Hippopotamus amphibius, with the male hippos being “extremely territorial”. Image: @momsen_wild

GO ON A BOAT TOUR 

Imbuvu Nature Tours is a community-based tourism company situated at Rondevlei that organises chartered boat tours to see the diverse wildlife from the water. Each tour accommodates up to 8 people and lasts up to an hour. Visitors can choose between a sunset cruise with sundowners or sunrise cruise with a tea stop on the southern bank.

On a daily basis, the company offers guided nature walks that take you through Rondevlei’s ‘medicine cabinet’ of indigenous vegetation along with fishing services and tackle that can be hired for overnight fishing or on an hourly/daily basis. You could opt for staying overnight at the reserve as well, on an island bush camp with self-catering or fully-catered options.


There is a permanent wetland with Cape Flats Sand Fynbos to the north, and seasonal wetlands and Cape Flats Dune Strandveld in the south. Image: @travel.vlogger.diary

MORE ABOUT RONDEVLEI NATURE RESERVE

Rondevlei Nature Reserve is open: Daily, 7.30am to 5pm
Find it: Perth Road & Fishermans Walk, Pelikan Park, Zeekoevlei
Cost: Free entry
Contact on: 021 706 2404

By Khadeeja Adams

---

DISCOVER MORE IN AND AROUND CAPE TOWN

Take the kids out with these free and budget-friendly activities for kids.

Grab the family and drive out to Olifants River for music, dancing and lots of lilo.

You can hike, braai and picnic at this 80-year-old garden in Betty’s Bay.

Got any plans this weekend? Check out our guide for 7+ things to do.

---

Loved discovering this? Make sure you get our popular weekly newsletter. Follow and like us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterest for updates.

Cape Town Events Calendar
February 2024
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29

Woodstock Brewery beer tastingLocal craft beer tasting even ...

Nine craft beers, small-batch Thursdays + a guide for beginners

Cannibisters 2024Cape Town’s very own cannabis club, ...

Now with over 90 strains of weed and The Serenity Room

Off-road adventure at Scootours BanhoekBest day ever? Monster Mountain ...

Scootours Banhoek has scooters, vine bikes and archery

Escape rooms Cape TownPossibly the best escape room in the ...

HintHunt’s Marble is being called “the king of escape rooms”

Bamboo Plant Power plant based healthy takeaways Netflix and chill & office lunch are ...

From mushroom burgers and loaded fries to “sticky wings”

Mardouw Country HouseHow to have an unforgettable 40th, 50th ...

Private chef and 3-course meals at a 5-suite manor

Amina Boutique Hotel You can now book out this entire hotel ...

Infrared sauna, pool, special art, stunning rooms

Cederkloof Botanical outdoor jacuzziWe just found our next place for a ...

Cederkloof: Cottages with jacuzzi + house with pizza oven

Excentric Hair5 ways to transform your hair (with ...

Give your locks some love or change them completely

mischu breakfast specialWeekends are for mischu

Where else do you get brunch for under R100 in Sea Point?

Woodstock Brewery burgersA brewery with food specials for every ...

Burgers, schnitzels + curry specials at Woodstock Brewery

Excentric Hair camera diagnosisHow healthy is your hair, really?

How to get a free diagnosis + R100 off your first visit

Retreat Yourself 2024(Re)treat yourself at this wellness ...

Sacred ceremonies, sweat lodge, Red Tent, kids club and more

GiveawaysTravel Tips