Groenkloof Nature Reserve

25°47′36″S 28°12′14″E / 25.7934°S 28.2039°E / -25.7934; 28.2039Coordinates 22: 25°47′36″S 28°12′14″E / 25.7934°S 28.2039°E / -25.7934; 28.2039Established1895Groenkloof NR, City of Tshwane

The Groenkloof Nature Reserve, located adjacent to the Fountains Valley at the southern entrance to Pretoria, was the first game sanctuary in Africa. The reserve of 600 ha is managed by the Department of Nature Conservation. The National Heritage Monument is located within the reserve. It is flanked by Christina de Wit Avenue and Nelson Mandela Drive, that separate it from the Voortrekker Monument and Klapperkop Nature Reserves. In aggregate these reserves conserve some 1,400 ha of bankenveld vegetation which is threatened in Gauteng.[1] The reserve is open to day visitors from 5:30 to 19:00 in summer, and 7:00 to 18:00 in winter.


This valley on the southern outskirts of Pretoria was proclaimed a game sanctuary by President Paul Kruger on 25 February 1895. Its main purpose was to protect the shy and timid oribi, which occurred there, and other game that were being depleted by hunters.[2] For many years however, the reserve was leased for exotic timber plantation, to supply wood and paper. A memorial wall is to be seen beside traces of the homestead of the early pioneer Lucas Bronkhorst, who settled here around 1839.

In April 2015 the head of the reserve, David Boshoff, was suspended and evicted from his council home by the Tshwane metro HR manager. The eviction came in the fifth month of a strike by the majority of the reserve's workers, who reportedly negated their agreement with management to return to work in February.[3]


When the reserve was reproclaimed in 1994, the plantations were removed to allow the natural vegetation to regenerate. Open grassland occurs along the Apies valley and the higher plateau. Native trees occur at varying densities on the hillsides and in the lower valley. These include white stinkwood, hook-thorn, mountain karee, velvet bushwillow, wild pear and puzzle bush.[2]

Since 1999 the reserve was stocked with various game species. These include zebra, blesbok, impala, kudu, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest (since 2002), giraffe (2002), sable (2003) and ostrich. Jackal, duiker and rock hyrax are also resident.

Over 120 bird species have been recorded in the reserve and the adjacent Fountains Valley.[4] Game birds include guineafowl, Swainson's spurfowl and crested francolin. The grassy floodplain of the Apies river and its riparian vegetation provide breeding habitat for a number of weaver, bishop and widow species, while the open woodlands on the lower hill slopes provide breeding territories for bushshrike and tchagra species.[4]

Bird species of Groenkloof Nature Reserve[4]
Common name Scientific name Status Breeding
Common ostrich Struthio camelus uncommon
Reed cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus vagrant
Grey heron Ardea cinerea rare
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis uncommon
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta rare
Hadeda ibis Bostrychia hagedash abundant
Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiacus uncommon
Yellow-billed kite Milvus aegyptius rare
Verreaux's eagle Aquila verreauxii uncommon
Steppe buzzard Buteo vulpinus rare
Little sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus rare
Coqui francolin Peliperdix coqui rare
Crested francolin Dendroperdix sephaena rare
Swainson's spurfowl Pternistis swainsonii regular
Helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris abundant breeder
Crowned lapwing Vanellus coronatus regular
Blacksmith lapwing Vanellus armatus rare
African wattled lapwing Vanellus senegallus rare
Speckled pigeon Columba guinea rare
African olive pigeon Columba arquatrix rare breeder
Red-eyed dove Streptopelia semitorquata regular breeder
Cape turtle-dove Streptopelia capicola abundant
Laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis abundant
Rock dove Columba livia rare
Grey go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor abundant
Red-chested cuckoo Cuculus solitarius uncommon breeder
Black cuckoo Cuculus clamosus uncommon breeder
Levaillant's cuckoo Clamator levaillantii rare breeder
Klaas's cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas rare breeder
Diderick cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius regular breeder
White-rumped swift Apus caffer uncommon
Little swift Apus affinis uncommon
African palm-swift Cypsiurus parvus uncommon
Speckled mousebird Colius striatus regular
Red-faced mousebird Urocolius indicus regular
Woodland kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis rare breeder
Brown-hooded kingfisher Halcyon albiventris rare
European bee-eater Merops apiaster uncommon
African hoopoe Upupa africana regular
Green wood-hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus regular breeder
Black-collared barbet Lybius torquatus common
Yellow-fronted tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus rare
Crested barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii abundant
Lesser honeyguide Indicator minor uncommon
Brown-backed honeybird Prodotiscus regulus rare
Golden-tailed woodpecker Campethera abingoni rare
Cardinal woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens uncommon
Red-throated wryneck Jynx ruficollis rare
Rufous-naped lark Mirafra africana rare breeder
Barn swallow Hirundo rustica rare
White-throated swallow Hirundo albigularis rare
Greater striped swallow Hirundo cucullata regular
Lesser striped swallow Hirundo abyssinica rare
South African cliff-swallow Hirundo spilodera rare
Rock martin Hirundo fuligula uncommon
Common house-martin Delichon urbicum rare
Black cuckooshrike Campephaga flava rare
White-breasted cuckooshrike Coracina pectoralis vagrant
Fork-tailed drongo Dicrurus adsimilis common
Black-headed oriole Oriolus larvatus regular
Pied crow Corvus albus uncommon
Arrow-marked babbler Turdoides jardineii common
Dark-capped bulbul Pycnonotus tricolor abundant breeder
Kurrichane thrush Turdus libonyanus regular
Groundscraper thrush Psophocichla litsipsirupa uncommon
Karoo thrush Turdus smithi rare
Mocking cliff-chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris rare
African stonechat Saxicola torquatus rare
Cape robin-chat Cossypha caffra common
White-browed scrub-robin Cercotrichas leucophrys rare
Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus rare
Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustris rare
Cape grassbird Sphenoeacus afer rare
Bar-throated apalis Apalis thoracica rare
Zitting cisticola Cisticola juncidis rare breeder
Neddicky Cisticola fulvicapilla regular
Rattling cisticola Cisticola chiniana uncommon breeder
Lazy cisticola Cisticola aberrans rare
Tawny-flanked prinia Prinia subflava abundant
Black-chested prinia Prinia flavicans uncommon breeder
Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata uncommon
Southern black flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina rare
Fiscal flycatcher Sigelus silens regular
Chinspot batis Batis molitor rare
Fairy flycatcher Stenostira scita rare
African paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis uncommon breeder
Striped pipit Anthus lineiventris rare
Common fiscal Lanius collaris abundant
Southern boubou Laniarius ferrugineus abundant
Black-backed puffback Dryoscopus cubla regular
Brown-crowned tchagra Tchagra australis rare breeder
Black-crowned tchagra Tchagra senegalus regular breeder
Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus common breeder
Grey-headed bush-shrike Malaconotus blanchoti rare breeder
White-crested helmet-shrike Prionops plumatus rare
Brubru Nilaus afer rare
Common myna Acridotheres tristis common breeder
Cape glossy starling Lamprotornis nitens regular
Red-winged starling Onychognathus morio rare
White-bellied sunbird Cinnyris talatala regular
Amethyst sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina regular
Cape white-eye Zosterops virens rare
House sparrow Passer domesticus rare
Cape sparrow Passer melanurus common breeder
Southern masked-weaver Ploceus velatus abundant breeder
Southern red bishop Euplectes orix regular breeder
Red-collared widowbird Euplectes ardens uncommon breeder
White-winged widowbird Euplectes albonotatus regular breeder
Long-tailed widowbird Euplectes progne rare breeder
Bronze mannikin Spermestes cucullatus uncommon
African firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata rare
Jameson's firefinch Lagonosticta rhodopareia rare
Blue waxbill Uraeginthus angolensis rare
Black-faced waxbill Estrilda erythronotos rare
Common waxbill Estrilda astrild uncommon
Purple indigobird Vidua purpurascens rare breeder
Yellow-fronted canary Crithagra mozambicus common breeder
Black-throated canary Crithagra atrogularis regular
Streaky-headed seedeater Crithagra gularis regular
Cinnamon-breasted bunting Emberiza tahapisi rare

Special invertebrates of the reserve include Gunning's rock scorpion, golden-starburst baboon spider, the violin spider L. speluncarum which is endemic to caves of the Pretoria area,[5][6] and the purse-web spider, Calommata transvaalica,[7] which is severely threatened by urbanization in Gauteng.

Facilities and activities

Entrance fees differ depending on the intended activity, and the number of persons partaking. The reserve is popular with cyclists, and mountain bikers can follow a 20 km route. The three hiking trails are designated as the red (1.3/3.5 km), white (3.7 km) and yellow (10.5 km) trails. Hikers can reserve an overnight hut. Off-road enthusiasts can explore 14 km of 4x4 tracks, while game viewing is possible from a 5 km motor car route. Guided horse rides and pony rides for kids are also offered. There are two picnic areas, named Meriting and Mashupeng, and a lapa may be rented for evening get-togethers.


See also

  • flagSouth Africa portal


  1. ^ George Bredenkamp & Noel van Rooyen. 34. Rocky Highveld Grassland. In: Low, A.B. & Rebelo, A.G. (eds) Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Groenkloof Nature Reserve". Services. City of Tshwane. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. ^ Barnard, Yolanda (3 April 2015). "Groenkloof's nature reserve head evicted from house". Pretoria East Rekord. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Groenkloof Nature Reserve". Birds in Reserves Project. ADU, University of Cape Town. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  5. ^ Lotz, L.N. (2012). "Present status of Sicariidae (Arachnida: Araneae) in the Afrotropical region". Zootaxa. 3522: 1–41. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3522.1.1.
  6. ^ "New data on south African species, Present status of Sicariidae" (PDF). Sansa Newsletter (17): 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  7. ^ Fourie, Rene; Haddad, Charles; Jocqué, Rudy (4 May 2011). "A revision of the purse-web spider genus Calommata Lucas, 1837 (Araneae, Atypidae) in the Afrotropical Region". ZooKeys (95): 1–28. doi:10.3897/zookeys.95.745. PMC 3095129. PMID 21594067.

Media related to Groenkloof Nature Reserve at Wikimedia Commons

  • v
  • t
  • e
Ditsong Museums
Streets and squares
  • Church Square
  • Sammy Marks Square
  • Pretorius Square
  • Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square
  • Time Square
  • Parks and gardensNature reservesOther