The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

Afrikaans name: Gariep Dam Natuur Reservaat

Entrance to the reserve

Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Free State

The Gariep Dam Nature Reserve, also known as the Gariep Nature Reserve, lies on the northern shore of the Gariep Dam near the small town of Norvalspont. The reserve was previously known as the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam Nature Reserve.

The reserve is around 17,700 hectares in size although only 6,000 hectares are accessible to the public. The rest is used for breeding mammals such as Black Wildebeest and Springbok.

It experiences hot summers and cold winters. The landscape consists of plains covered in grass or scrub with hills breaking up the landscape.

Some of the mammals to be seen in the reserve include Black Wildebeest, Springbok, Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest and Klipspringer. It is not known as a good birding spot. The bird list is dominated by waterbirds due to the nature reserve bordering the dam.

Accommodation is available at various places around the dam.

What did you see at the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve?

Mammals of Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

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

Bat-eared Fox

Black Wildebeest

Black-backed Jackal

Black-footed Cat


Brown Hyena

Burchell's Zebra

Cape Clawless Otter

Cape Fox

Cape Hare

Cape Porcupine


Chacma Baboon


Common Duiker



Ground Squirrel


Mountain Reedbuck

Red Hartebeest

Rock Hyrax

Scrub Hare

South African Hedgehog





Vervet Monkey


Water Mongoose

White Rhino

Wild Cat

Yellow Mongoose

Birds of Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

Please note that this list is not complete and 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

Egyptian Goose

South African Shelduck

African Black Duck

Yellow-billed Duck

Crested Barbet

European Bee-eater

White-backed Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

Red-faced Mousebird

Diderick Cuckoo

Little Swift

Speckled Pigeon

Laughing Dove

Cape Turtle-Dove

Red-eyed Dove

Ludwig's Bustard

Red-knobbed Coot

Common Greenshank

Black-winged Stilt

Crowned Lapwing

Grey-headed Gull


Jackal Buzzard

Verreaux's Eagle


African Darter

Reed Cormorant

Little Egret

Cattle Egret

Hadeda Ibis

African Sacred Ibis


Pied Crow

White-necked Raven

Common Fiscal

White-breasted Cuckooshrike

Barn Swallow

White-throated Swallow

Greater Striped Swallow

Rock Martin

Common House-Martin

African Red-eyed Bulbul

Yellow-bellied Eremomela

Cape White-eye

Zitting Cisticola

Karoo Prinia

Eastern Clapper Lark

Karoo Thrush

Fiscal Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Cape Robin-Chat

African Stonechat

Mountain Wheatear

Familiar Chat

Ant-eating Chat

Pale-winged Starling

Pied Starling

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver

Southern Masked-Weaver

Southern Red Bishop

Long-tailed Widowbird

Cape Sparrow

African Pied Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

African Pipit

Yellow Canary

References and further reading

Country Life - Issue 252 - Author: - Published: 2017 - Page: 46

go! - Issue 084 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 42

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2018 - Page: 201

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 108

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 1995 - Page: 312

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 294

Road Tripping South Africa - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2014 - Page: 16

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Published: 1987 - Page: 58

Things to do in Moer & Gone Places - Author: Jacques Marais - Published: 2015 - Page: 53

Conollys Guide to Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Denis Conolly - Published: 1982 - Page: 130

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Guide to Southern African Game and Nature Reserves - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1989 - Page: 154

Atlas of National Parks and Reserves of South Africa - Author: Marielle Renssen - Published: 2006 - Page: 92

Top - Birdlist for Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

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