One of the largest waterfoul sanctuaries in South Africa is Barberspan, a huge 2 000 ha body of water located some 16 km northeast of Delareyville.

The pan is the focal point of a provincial nature reserve and is fed by the Harts River.

Barberspan's terrain is flat and grassy and sometimes seems rather bleak, but its rich and varied birdlife makes it an ideal study area.

The pans, which are fed intermittently by the Harts River, are an important drought refuge for waterfowl which arrive in numbers from the surrounding pans to wait out the dry season.

Barberspan and the adjacent Leeupan, connected by a shallow channel, are over 4 000 ha in extent comprising shallow alkaline waters ideally suited to the many species which favour such conditions.

The area around Barberspan is undulating grassland and agricultural land, leaving the pans largely undisturbed.

Certain areas on the pans are designated for anglers to enjoy excellent fishing opportunities for carp, barbel and yellowfish.

Boating opportunities are offered and a number of photographers hides are available.

Bird-watching from a canoe (bring your own) is rewarding.

The reserve is flat and its grasslands support black wildebeest, springbok, blesbok, zebra and ostrich as well as smaller mammals including jackal, porcupine, yellow mongoose and ground squirrel. Summer is the best time to visit the reserve.

The Barberspan Bird Sanctuary is probably unique in South Africa, for the sheer numbers and variety of birds to be seen on the pans.

365 species have been recorded, including a number of rare migrants, making Barberspan an essential stopover for all birders.

Pelicans and flamingo, grebes, terns, herons, cranes, ibis and bitterns to mention just a few.

All but one of the South African duck species have been recorded at the pans.


The reserve is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Barberspan is signposted from the N14 which links the small towns of Delareyville and Sannieshof.
Barberspan Nature Reserve Barberspan Nature Reserve
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