The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Barberspan Nature Reserve

Afrikaans name: Barberspan Natuur Reservaat

A pan at Barberspan Nature Reserve

Barberspan Nature Reserve

Photo © Johan van Zyl

North West

Barberspan Nature Reserve is one of the largest sanctuaries for waterbirds in southern Africa. The pan covers 2,000 hectares and is home to many species of birds.

The pan is located 17 km from Delareyville on the N14. It is about a 3 hour drive to get there from Johannesburg.

The main attractions at Barberspan Nature Reserve are birding and fishing. Birders have built up a checklist of over 360 species over the years. This includes a number of birds that are not normally seen in the southern African region. Anglers will be hoping to catch Yellowfish, Carp and Barbel.

The accommodation options available at Barberspan are camp sites along the waters edge and 3 houses. There is not much in the way of other facilities.

The entrance to Barberspan Nature Reserve

Entrance to Barberspan Nature Reserve

Photo © Johan van Zyl

A boardwalk leads to a hide

Boardwalk to one of the hides

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Mammals of Barberspan Bird Sanctuary

Please note that this is only a guide and, while we have made every effort to be accurate, we can't be held responsible for any errors.

Antbear / Aardvark

Black Wildebeest

Black-backed Jackal

Black-footed Cat


Cape Fox

Cape Hare

Cape Porcupine

Ground Squirrel

Large-spotted Genet

Red Hartebeest

Scrub Hare

South African Hedgehog




Striped Polecat

Tree Squirrel

Wild Cat

Yellow Mongoose

Birds of Barberspan Bird Sanctuary

Please note that this is only a guide and, while we have made every effort to be accurate, we can't be held responsible for any errors.

Common Ostrich

Swainson's Spurfowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Maccoa Duck

Egyptian Goose

South African Shelduck

Spur-winged Goose

Cape Teal

Yellow-billed Duck

Cape Shoveler

Red-billed Teal

Southern Pochard

Acacia Pied Barbet

Crested Barbet

African Hoopoe

Pied Kingfisher

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater

European Bee-eater

White-backed Mousebird

Red-faced Mousebird

Diderick Cuckoo

African Palm-Swift

Little Swift

White-rumped Swift

Spotted Eagle-Owl

Marsh Owl

Speckled Pigeon

Laughing Dove

Cape Turtle-Dove

Red-eyed Dove

Namaqua Dove

African Purple Swamphen

Common Moorhen

Red-knobbed Coot

Namaqua Sandgrouse

Marsh Sandpiper

Common Greenshank

Wood Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Ruddy Turnstone

Little Stint

Curlew Sandpiper


Spotted Thick-knee

Black-winged Stilt

Pied Avocet

Grey Plover

Common Ringed Plover

Kittlitz's Plover

Three-banded Plover

Chestnut-banded Plover

Blacksmith Lapwing

Crowned Lapwing

Grey-headed Gull

Caspian Tern

Whiskered Tern

White-winged Tern


Black-shouldered Kite

African Fish-Eagle

Steppe Buzzard


Lesser Kestrel

Rock Kestrel

Greater Kestrel

Lanner Falcon

Little Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

African Darter

Reed Cormorant

White-breasted Cormorant

Black Heron

Little Egret

Yellow-billed Egret

Great Egret

Grey Heron

Black-headed Heron

Goliath Heron

Cattle Egret

Black-crowned Night-Heron


Greater Flamingo

Lesser Flamingo

Glossy Ibis

Hadeda Ibis

African Sacred Ibis

African Spoonbill

Pink-backed Pelican

Abdim's Stork

Brown-crowned Tchagra


Cape Crow

Pied Crow

Red-backed Shrike

Common Fiscal

Barn Swallow

White-throated Swallow

Greater Striped Swallow

South African Cliff-Swallow

African Red-eyed Bulbul

Fairy Flycatcher

Lesser Swamp-Warbler

Willow Warbler

Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler

Cape White-eye

Rattling Cisticola

Levaillant's Cisticola


Zitting Cisticola

Desert Cisticola

Cloud Cisticola

Black-chested Prinia

Rufous-naped Lark

Spike-heeled Lark

Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark

Grey-backed Sparrowlark

Red-capped Lark

Pink-billed Lark

Fiscal Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Cape Robin-Chat

Kalahari Scrub-Robin

African Stonechat

Ant-eating Chat

Cape Glossy Starling

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver

Southern Masked-Weaver

Red-billed Quelea

Yellow-crowned Bishop

Southern Red Bishop

Long-tailed Widowbird

African Quailfinch

Red-headed Finch

Common Waxbill

Red-billed Firefinch

Pin-tailed Whydah

Village Indigobird

Cape Sparrow

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

Cape Wagtail

Cape Longclaw

African Pipit

Black-throated Canary

Yellow Canary

Lark-like Bunting

References and further reading

Where to Watch Birds in Southern Africa - Author: A. Berruti and J.C. Sinclair - Published: 1983 - Page: 141

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 87

Go Birding in the Transvaal - Author: Brendan Ryan and John Isom - Published: 1990 - Page: 52

Conollys Guide to Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Denis Conolly - Published: 1982 - Page: 266

Birding in Transvaal ????? What book is this? - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 52

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Guide to Southern African Game and Nature Reserves - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1989 - Page: 14

Atlas of National Parks and Reserves of South Africa - Author: Marielle Renssen - Published: 2006 - Page: 134

Birding Hotspots - Author: Trevor Hardaker - Published: 2007 - Page: 19


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