The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Shongweni Dam and Game Reserve

Afrikaans name: Shongweni Dam

Shongweni Dam offers some tranquility and an escape from city life

Photo © Steven Herbert


Shongweni Dam is just inland from Durban. It is no more than 30 minutes drive away.

The surrounding bush is home to a variety of game including White Rhino, Buffalo, Giraffe, Impala, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest and more. The Vervet Monkeys can be a real nuisance so make sure you don’t leave any food lying around in the picnic and campsites.

A wide variety of birds can be seen as well. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded. Here is a bird checklist.

Besides game-viewing other activities include fishing, canoeing, sailing, rock-climbing and walking.

There is a camp-site where you can bring your own camping equipment or you can book into the tented camp site offering comfortable tents right at the waters edge.

Shongweni Dam is down in a valley and it takes some time before the morning sun reaches it

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Shongweni Dam wall

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above and below - Apparently Shongweni Dam wall has the largest Hydroplate Fuse Gate in the world which would be really fascinating if you knew what it was. If you are interested click here. The dam took 5 years to construct and was completed in 1927.

Parts of the Shongweni Dam wall remind me of European castles

Photo © Steven Herbert

Checklist of some of the birds to be seen at Shongweni Dam

Natal Spurfowl

White-faced Duck

Egyptian Goose

Spur-winged Goose

African Black Duck

Yellow-billed Duck

Lesser Honeyguide

Red-throated Wryneck

Cardinal Woodpecker

Black-collared Barbet

Crested Barbet

Crowned Hornbill

Trumpeter Hornbill

African Hoopoe

Narina Trogon

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

Speckled Mousebird

Diderick Cuckoo

Burchell's Coucal

Purple-crested Turaco

Spotted Eagle-Owl

Speckled Pigeon

Laughing Dove

Cape Turtle-Dove

Red-eyed Dove

Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove

Tambourine Dove

Three-banded Plover

Blacksmith Lapwing

Black-shouldered Kite

Black Kite

African Fish-Eagle

African Harrier-Hawk

African Goshawk

Little Sparrowhawk

Steppe Buzzard

Lanner Falcon

African Darter

Reed Cormorant

White-breasted Cormorant

Little Egret

Grey Heron

Black-headed Heron

Cattle Egret

Green-backed Heron


Hadeda Ibis

African Spoonbill

Black Stork

Black-headed Oriole

Fork-tailed Drongo

African Paradise-Flycatcher

Black-backed Puffback

Southern Boubou

Chinspot Batis

Pied Crow

White-necked Raven

Common Fiscal

Grey Cuckooshrike

Southern Black Tit

Brown-throated Martin

Barn Swallow

Lesser Striped Swallow

Dark-capped Bulbul

Sombre Greenbul

Cape White-eye

Rufous-naped Lark

Olive Thrush

Southern Black Flycatcher

African Dusky Flycatcher

Red-capped Robin-Chat

White-browed Scrub-Robin

African Stonechat

Mocking Cliff-Chat

Red-winged Starling

Black-bellied Starling

Cape Glossy Starling

Olive Sunbird

Grey Sunbird

Amethyst Sunbird

Scarlet-chested Sunbird

Collared Sunbird

White-bellied Sunbird

Spectacled Weaver

Village Weaver

Fan-tailed Widowbird

Thick-billed Weaver

Common Waxbill

Bronze Mannikin

Red-backed Mannikin

Pin-tailed Whydah

House Sparrow

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

African Pied Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Yellow-throated Longclaw

Yellow-fronted Canary

Golden-breasted Bunting

References and further reading

Wild Issue 25 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 89

Where to see Birds in KwaZulu-Natal - Author: Bennett and Herbert - Published: 1995 - Page: 24

Top Birding Spots in Southern Africa - Author: Hugh Chittenden - Published: 1992 - Page: 296

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2018 - Page: 179

Country Life - Issue 225 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 89

Birding Hotspots - Author: Trevor Hardaker - Published: 2007 - Page: 36

Conollys Guide to Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Denis Conolly - Published: 1982 - Page: 207


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