Promoting accessible bird hides

With over 850 species, South Africa has a remarkable diversity of birds. These birds are observed and appreciated by a growing community of birdwatchers, both local and international. In order to promote birdwatching, BirdLife South Africa realises that facilities such as hides and boardwalks are needed as it allows people to get close to birds, thus allowing the viewing of secretive species and providing bird photography opportunities. It is important for bird hides to be carefully designed, properly constructed and well maintained. For more information about this topic download the document “A guide to build universally accessible bird hides

It is also important to BirdLife South Africa that hides are built with accessibility in mind and that they can be visited by people in wheelchairs, people who are old or frail, and even parents who visit a hide with their children. Below is a list of some hides in South Africa and next to the name of each hide an accessibility rating is given to indicate how accessible a hide is:

 Grade 1: The hide/trail has no barriers (for example steps) or steep gradients. The paths have good surfaces and there are ample resting places. The facility is probably accessible to all.

 Grade 2: One or two features may reduce the accessibility of this hide/trail. It may be sections of the path with less than perfect surfaces, slight gradients or gates that are difficult to use. The facility might not be accessible to all, but might with the help of an assistant.

 Grade 3: Several features on this hide will reduce accessibility for some people. There may be no resting points, long or steep gradients, a narrow path in places, poor surfaces or obstacles like kissing gates. The facility can only be assessed with great difficulty and the help of an assistant for some people will definitely be needed.

 Grade 4: These hides have lots of features that reduce their accessibility such as narrow parts to the path, steep gradients or muddy and stony surfaces. This facility is not accessible to all, even with assistance.

These gradings are a general guideline and if a person will be able to visit a hide, will depend on the physical abilities of the individual.

 {This section is under construction!}

The Bird Hides in South Africa are listed according to provinces. Click on the different Hides below for more information.

Eastern Cape

Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Seekoei River Nature Reserve One hide Not assessed
Cape Recife Nature Reserve One hide Not assessed


Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Free State National Botanical Gardens One hide Not assessed
Golden Gate National Park One hide Not assessed
Seekoeivlei – Memel Moorhen
Mvubu (Hippo)
(Grade 1)
(Grade 1)
(Grade 1)


Birding site Bird Hide Rating Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve Zeekoeigat Hide
Wildlife View Hide
Picnic Site Hide
Eastern Bird Hide
(Grade 2)
(Grade 3)
(Grade 4)
(Grade 3)
Marievale Duiker
Hadeda Hide
Otter Hide
Shelduck Hide
Moving Hide Bus Stop
(Grade 2)
(Grade 2)
(Grade 1)
(Grade 3)
(Grade 3)
(Grade 4)
Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve Coots Corner
Fern and Fountain
Marais Dam
Islands View Hide
(Grade 1)
(Grade 3)
(Grade 2)
(Grade 1)
Grootvaly Wetland Reserve Sensory Trail Hide – SAPPI Hide
Raised Hide
(Grade 2)
(Grade 4)
Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary One Hide (Grade 2) Rondebult Nature Reserve Seven Hides (Grade 2)
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens One Hide (Grade 2) Kloofendal Nature Reserve One Hide (Grade 4)
Northern Farm Two Hides (Grade 1) Delta Park Hide 1
Hide 2
(Grade 1)
(Grade 4)
President Ridge Bird Sanctuary One Hide (Grade 1) Cumberland Bird Sanctuary One Hide (Grade 2)


Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park Thiyeni Hide
Thobotii Hide
Mpafa Hide
Not assessed
Mkhuze Game Reserve Kwamalibala Hide
Kumahlala Hide
Kubube Hide
Kumasinga Hide
Beacon Hide
Nsumu Pan Bird Hide (1)
Nsumu Pan Bird Hide (2)
Mantuma Camp Reception Bird Hide
Not assessed
Dlinza Forest Dlinza Forest Bird Hide
Dlinza Forest Boardwalk
Not assessed
Richards Bay Nature Reserve Rail Bird Hide Not assessed
Karkloof Conservation Centre Karkloof Conservation Centre Hide Not assessed


Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Blouberg Nature Reserve Vulture hide Blouberg Not assessed
Kruger National Park Orpen Dam and Nkumbe – lookout points
Kruger–Nxanatseni Region (btwn Olifants & Limpopo Rivers)
Sable Dam Hide (near Phalaborwa Gate)
Matambeni Hide (near Letaba)
Pioneer Dam Hide (near Mopani)
Shipandani Hide (near Mopani)
Nyawutsi Hide (btwn Mopani and Shingwedzi)
Kanniedood Hide (near Shingwedzi)
Not assessed


Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Kruger National Park Kruger – Marula Region (btwn Olifants & Crocodile Rivers)
Gardenia Hide (btwn Biyamithi & Berg-en-dal)
Nthandanyathi Hide (btwn Lower Sabie & Crocodile Bridge)
Lake Panic Hide (near Skukuza)
Ratel Pan Hide (near Timbavati Picnic Site near Satara)
Sweni Hide (near N’wanetsi Picnic Site)
Not assessed
Wakkerstroom Crane Hide
Iain Drummond Memorial Hide
Clive Beck Hide
WOW (Wings over Wetlands) Hide
(Grade 4)
(Grade 4)
(Grade 4)
(Grade 4)

Northern Cape

Birding site Bird Hide Rating
See The Diamond Route Unknown Not assessed

North West

Birding site Bird Hide Rating
VULPRO One Hide (Photography) (Grade 2)
Borakalalo National Park Two Hides Not assessed
Pilanesberg National Park Rathlogo Hide
Mankwe Hide
Kwa Maritane Hide
Phiriloop / Malatse Dam
Mothatha Vulure Hide
Mokorwane Dam Hide
Rughoek Dam Hide
Lengani Dam Hide
Not assessed
OPM Prozesky Bird Sanctuary Two Hides (Grade 4)
Barberspan One Hide Not assessed

Western Cape

Birding site Bird Hide Rating
Paarl Bird Sanctuary Paarl Bird Sanctuary Not assessed
West Coast National Park Geelbek
Salt Marsh Bird Hide 1
Salt Marsh Bird Hide 2
Not assessed