Rietvlei Wetland - Milnerton
Rietvlei is an area of approximately 560 hectares
which has a deep water lake in the west and has
shallow water or dry land for the rest of its area.
Rietvlei is located on the Table Bay coastline between
Milnerton and Tableview. As the crow flies it is about
100 metres inland from the sea.
Along the shores of Table Bay are sand dunes and it is
these dunes that seperate the lagoon from the sea.
The deep part of the lake was dredged for its sand a
number of years ago and the sand was pumped to Woodstock
where it was used as filling for the container docks in the main harbour.
The lake is used for watersports such as skiing and windsurfing.
On the northern bank of the lake the Milnerton Aquatic
club have built a clubhouse for their members and
this area is grassed and has a slipway.
On the western and southern sides of the lake the alien bush
that has grown there for years has been removed and the
natural Strandveld Flora is now coming through.
In Spring there is a wonderful display of wild flowers of
all colours, shapes and sizes along the banks of the lake.
To the east of the lake is the real wetland area and
along this part of the lagoon you can see the birds.
They are so close to the main road that it is not even
necessary to get out of your car to see them.
Pelicans sunning themselves on the edge of the Rietvlei
The largest bird to be seen in this area is the pelican.
It is such a beautiful sight to watch as it glides
above the water or flies inland when searching for food.
When they land on the water they remind me of the
swans I saw in Zurich when I visted there 30 years ago.
On the northern side of the wetland jutting out into the
water is a boardwalk and hide where one can walk out quietly
and sit in the hide to observe the birds at close quarters.
It is so interesting to watch the little ducks diving for
food and the rednobbed coots building little islands
in the middle of the water to nest on..
It always amazes me how without hands birds manage to
build their nests and live in them.
There are a 102 different species of waterbird that frequent
the wetland. At anyone time there are about 70 species in residence.
At a recent count of the birds it was discovered that
there were over 10000 birds utilising the wetland.
As the wetland is close to the sea you will also be
able to see many seabirds in the area.
I often see seagulls and cormorants sitting
on the edge of the lake as I drive past.
The wetland is supplied with fresh water by the Diep river
during the winter months and any excess water flows into
the Milnerton Lagoon and then into the sea.
As the lagoon is always open to the sea and is tidal the
water is salty at high tide when the sea pushes up into
it and becomes fresh again when the tide recedes.
The lagoon has saltwater fish in it and if you are very
lucky you might just hook one or two when the tide is up.
There are many prawn beds in the lagoon and
the fish come in to feed on them.
The lagoon can be crossed by pedestrians using a wooden
bridge which was built many years ago to allow access
to the sea and for the golfers to get to the golf club which
is built on the sand dunes between the sea and the lagoon.
It is a links course.Today however the wooden bridge which was once used by cars
is only used by pedestrians and a very modern road bridge now crosses it.
New bridge over the Milnerton Lagoon
On the southern part of the island many new town houses
and upmarket houses have been built. They all either
have views of Table Mountain or the lagoon.
Both views are stunning, especially at night when the lights come on .
As Rietvlei and the lagoon are a 10 minute drive from
Cape Town they make for an ideal day visit.
Are you a birdlover?
Why not visit our shores and come and see our birds for yourself.
Email : Geoff Fairman
6 Bothma Street, Monte Vista 7460 South Africa
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Cape Town - Rietvlei - Milnerton
Page updated 14.6.2015