Rietvlei Wetland Reserve

Rietvlei is a large wetland in the floodplain of the Diep River between Milnerton and Table View. This 663,27 ha reserve comprises mainly permanent and seasonal wetlands surrounded by Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation, with more than 220 plant species having been recorded. The vlei drains into Table Bay via the Milnerton Lagoon. The reserve offers a variety of habitats, including a permanent freshwater lake, shallow marshes that flood in winter, reed beds, a river, and an estuarine lagoon with salt marshes that is open to the sea. A strip of coastal dunes separates the reserve from Table Bay.

This is a birder’s paradise, especially in spring and summer, when migrant birds arrive from the northern hemisphere. Some 180 bird species are listed, including pelicans, flamingos, ducks, coots, herons, plovers, weavers and swallows. There are two bird hides that offer views of the southern water body and the large seasonal pan. Four times a year, a water bird census is taken, and often thousands of birds are counted. SANCCOB – the coastal bird rehabilitation centre, where oiled penguins and gannets are cleaned – is adjacent to the reserve.

Many small mammals, reptiles and insects live here, along with several frog species. The lagoon acts as a nursery to several coastal fish, such as harder and mullet which occur in safety alongside freshwater fish. From the coastal dunes, dolphins and whales are visible in season.

Water pollution and invasive alien plants, especially Port Jackson (Acacia saligna), rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) and kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), are a challenge. People who live nearby can help by planting indigenous gardens, getting rid of the kikuyu, and preventing oil, poison and fertiliser from running into the vlei.

ADDRESS: Grey Avenue, Table View
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-17:30 (daily); water sports hours 10:00-17:00 (weekdays), 09:00-17:00 (weekends)
SIZE: 663,27 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): Adults R17.00; children (3-17 years), students and senior citizens R10.00; children under 3 years free (for annual permits, special rates and updates, visit www.capetown.gov.za/naturereserves)
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Boating, picnic and braai areas, fishing, hiking and two bird hides
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Rietvlei Education Centre
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of Rietvlei, www.friendsofrietvlei.co.za
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 0315; fax 021 444 7226
E-MAIL: tablebay.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za


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.