Roodeplaat Dam is a concrete arch dam situated 22km north-east of Pretoria on Pienaars River, a tributary of the Crocodile River, which flows northwards into the Limpopo River. Previously an irrigation dam, it is now very popular for recreational activities, from water sports to bird watching.
The Roodeplaat Nature Reserve is divided into two sections, which are separated by the dam and a stretch of private land. This part of Roodeplaat is especially great for water-based recreational activities and is home to the Roodeplaat Rowing Club, which hosts many university and other rowing events. Roodeplaat’s bush, lawns, and quality roads are perfect for all kinds of outdoor leisure activities, be it fishing, water sports, game viewing, bird watching or just relaxing, picnicking, and having a braai.
The northern shores of the reserve is great for canoeing, sailing, and angling for fish species like bass, kurper or carp. This area is well-equipped with picnic sites, braai areas, and toilets, along with basic campsites on the water’s edge. Birding enthusiasts can look out for several species of terns, warblers (especially in summer), kingfishers, and African fish-eagles. Visiting hours are from 06h00 – 20h00.
The Southern Side
The southern shores of the reserve are a firm favourite for those who wish to spot wildlife and often a lot quieter than the northern side. Game species here include plains zebra, greater kudu, waterbuck, warthog, impala, and blue wildebeest. Black-backed jackals can also be spotted and there is plenty of birdlife, such as the coqui francolin, glossy ibis, and black cuckooshrike. Spotting a hundred birds in a day is possible from the scattered bird hides available. Visiting hours are from 06h00 – 18h00.
There are 2 bird hides in the reserve for birding enthusiasts. Insiders say that the eastern bird hide also offers good game viewing opportunities, too. Birds you can spot include finfoot, osprey, white-winged terns, purple gallinules, black crakes, and jacanas.
Look out for kudus, zebras, warthogs, impala, and blue wildebeest. You may also see black-backed jackals in the early morning or late afternoon.
Best time to visit
Birds and wildlife are always more active early in the morning or late afternoon.
What to pack
Bring a picnic along with you. There are tables under the shady trees.