The Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary is a section of the Liesbeek River between the Hartleyvale football ground and the South African Astronomical Observatory. This stretch of the river is parkland, with grassy picnic sites and shady trees along the busy Liesbeek Parkway. The sounds of seagulls, sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) and Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiacus) compete with the noise of traffic as they squabble over scraps of food. The more secretive herons, coots, ducks and smaller birds hide in the reeds across the river. Raapenberg is recognised as an important breeding site for many duck species.
Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary is part of the new Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP), which is destined to be an important open space within the city. The park is located at the confluence of the Liesbeek and Black River, and is managed by the City of Cape Town. All the landowners and stakeholders within the TRUP will work together to integrate the sensitive river and wetland systems, rich cultural background and developed areas of the parkland to make it a people’s place of note. The park includes the Provincial Heritage Sites of the South African Astronomical Observatory (erected in 1827), Valkenberg homestead (1830, now the Courtyard Hotel), Valkenberg Hospital (1899), the Nieuwe Molen windmill, and the Oude Molen farmhouse complex. Large sporting facilities, such as Hartleyvale, Malta Park and the River Club, are also part of the TRUP.
Management priorities are to rehabilitate the polluted rivers for recreational activities, to control alien vegetation, and create walkways along the rivers.
ADDRESS: Between Liesbeek Parkway and Station Rd, Observatory
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 10 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi, bus or train
ACTIVITIES: Birdwatching, walking, picnicking
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of the Liesbeek, www.fol.org.za
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 689 9141
Source: City of Cape Town (2010) City of Cape Town nature reserves: A network of amazing biodiversity. City of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.