• Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Trip Includes

Rust de Winter roadside routes & Mkhombo Nature Reserve


Rust de Winter: 120 km north of Johannesburg

Mkhombo Dam: 160km north of Johannesburg

Rust de Winter Roadside Routes

The area

Good bushveld birding in acacia thornveld and broad-leaved woodland habitats, as well as a diversity of water-associated birds make the Rust de Winter area an excellent birding destination. The area has been substantially affected by an ambitious canal and irrigation system, which has helped create a variety of habitats in a relatively small area.

The Elands River with its associated woodland dominated by huge Monkey Thorn (Senegalia Galpinii) trees is the most prominent feature of the area. Other habitats include relict patches of alien trees, cultivated lands, open grassland and patches of thornveld.

Bird species recorded to date

Rust de Winter : Approx 260 species  

eBirds Hotspot link: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L4209712?m=&yr=all&changeDate=Set

Birding Targets


Dark Chanting Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Gabar Goshawk, Lanner Falcon, African Cuckoo Hawk, African Finfoot, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Kurrichane Buttonquail, Temminck’s Courser, Half-collared Kingfisher, Purple Roller, Ashy Tit, Cape Penduline-Tit, Southern Pied Babbler, Barred Wren-Warbler, Buffy Pipit, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Great Sparrow, Violet-eared and Black-faced Waxbill, Shaft-tailed Whydah.

Summer visitors

Lesser-spotted Eagle, Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier, Eurasian Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, African, Black and Great Spotted Cuckoo, Dwarf Bittern, Common and Harlequin Quail, Dusky Lark, Marsh Warbler, River Warbler.

Mkhombo Dam Nature Reserve


The area

Mkhombo Dam is probably the most productive waterfowl and wader location within easy reach of Johannesburg. It is situated in the very northwestern corner of Mapumalanga on the Elands River, east of Rust de Winter Dam. The dam is surrounded by large expanses of mixed woodland and is an excellent location for migrant warblers in late summer.

When water levels are high the dam offers reedbeds, inundated grassland, and a network of shallow pools. As water levels drop, large mudflats may develop.

Bird species recorded to date:

Mkhombo Dam Nature Reserve:  Approx. 310 species

 eBirds Hotspot link: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3078463

Birding Targets


Martial Eagle, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Goliath, Purple, and Black Heron, Cape and Hottentot Teal, Fulvous Duck,  Squacco Heron, Pied Avocet, Little Bittern, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Whiskered Tern, African Snipe, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Fawn-coloured Lark, Grey Penduline-Tit, Yellow Canary.

Goliath Heron
Goliath Heron

Summer visitors

Osprey, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, African Crake, Greater Painted-snipe, Black-winged Pratincole, Blue-cheeked, and Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Icterine, and Olive-tree Warbler, Yellow Wagtail.


  • Collection from home in preparation for an early morning start at Mkhombo Nature Reserve
  • Early morning coffee, tea and rusks on arrival
  • Birding along shoreline and in adjacent woodland until mid-morning
  • Head for Rust de Winter and enjoy lunch en route
  • Afternoon birding along Rust de Winter roadside routes
  • Late afternoon departure for return to home

  • Collection from your home or hotel within 80 km radius of central Johannesburg
  • Transport in an air-conditioned Microbus from your home to the venue and back
  • Early morning coffee/tea and rusks
  • Light picnic lunch
  • Bottled water

Three persons R1 895
Four persons R1 795
Five persons R1 700