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Nylsvley Nature Reserve

Afrikaans name: Nylsvley-natuurreservaat

Nylsvley Nature Reserve entrance

Entrance to Nylsvley Nature Reserve

Photo © Johan van Zyl


Around 150 years ago a group of Voortrekkers stumbled upon a large flooded area with a river leading to the north and decided that this must be the Nile River. So they named the area Nylsvley (Nyl for Nile and vley (or vlei) for an area of flooded grassland). The Voortrekkers were wrong as the Nyl River eventually drains into the Limpopo River, but the name has stuck. Today Nylsvley is a nature reserve around 40 square kilometres in size.

The nature reserve is well-known as a birding hot-spot and over 370 species of birds have been recorded here. Waterbirds are the prime attraction because of the extensive reedbeds and shallow areas of the dam. There are also areas of grassland and open woodland. Water levels in the pan vary and affect the number of waterbirds drawn to the area. In times of peak flooding the numbers of birds are at their highest.

Over 70 species of mammals are found in Nylsvley Nature Reserve. These include Roan, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Kudu, Tsessebe, Bushbuck, Leopard and Brown Hyena.

If you are in to insects you will be pleased to hear that dragonflies, butterflies and other insects are found in abundance at Nylsvley. Over 50 species of dragonfly and nearly 300 species of butterfly have been recorded.

Accommodation in Nylsvley Nature Reserve is fairly limited but there are a few camp sites, cottages and a guest house.

Visitor Centre at Nylsvley Nature Reserve

Above - Visitor Centre

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Nylsvley accommodation

Above - Accommodation

Photo © Johan van Zyl



Birding in Transvaal - Author: - Year Published: - Page: 101

Caravan & Outdoor Life - Issue 634 - Author: - Year Published: 2015 - Page: 27

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Guide to Southern African Game and Nature Reserves - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 48

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 81

Top Birding Spots in Southern Africa - Author: Hugh Chittenden - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 134

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