Rietvlei Wetland Reserve
Rietvlei is a large wetland in the floodplain
of the Diep River between Milnerton and Table View. The vlei drains into Milnerton Lagoon and
then into Table Bay.
Rietvlei Wetland Reserve is about 560
hectares in size. It has many different habitats including a permanent
freshwater lake, shallow marshes that flood in winter, reed beds, a
river, a lagoon that is open to the sea, and coastal dunes.
221 different indigenous plant species
have been recorded in the reserve. Two of these are threatened with
pink vygie (Lampranthus sociorum: Near
Gladiolus griseus (Critically Endangered).
Because of the different habitats, many
different indigenous animals have been recorded at Rietvlei Wetland
17 mammal species, e.g.
Cape Grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis),
Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris),
Cape Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis),
Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus),
Cape Dune Molerat (Bathyergus suillus) and
Four Striped Mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio).
About 180 bird species, e.g.
pelicans, flamingoes, ducks, coots, herons, plovers, weavers and
14 reptile species, e.g.
Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata),
Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilium),
Cape Skink (Mabuya capensis),
Slug Eater (Duberria lutrix) and
Mole Snake (Pseudaspis cana)
Eight amphibian species, e.g.
Common Platanna (Xenopus laevis),
Sand Rain Frog (Breviceps rosei),
Cape River Frog (Afrana fuscigula) and
Arum Lily Reed Frog (Hyperolius horstockii)
Ten fish species, e.g.
Elf (Pomatomus salteatrix),
Striped Mullet (Mugil cephalus) and
Southern Mullet (Liza richardsonii).
Red Data (threatened) animals include:
Rietvlei is a very popular place to watch
birds. The best time to visit is in Spring and Summer when many
migrant birds are present. These birds migrate to South Africa from Europe and Asia to escape
Winter in the northern hemisphere.
About 102 of the birds seen at Rietvlei
are water birds. Four times a year there is a water bird
and more than 10 000 individual birds are counted.
There is a bird hide where you can watch
birds. You might be lucky enough to see the African Fish Eagles that
live at Rietvlei.
Strandveld vegetation grows around the
vlei. Many annual daisies flower in Spring, filling the dunes with colourful flowers.
The Rietvlei Wetland Reserve has a new
environmental education centre. Classes of up to 40 primary schools
learners may visit the reserve to learn about the wetlands and
Rietvlei is an important recreational area
for the community. You can picnic or braai, go for walks along the
paths, and enjoy water sports in the main vlei. You can also watch
dolphins and whales from the beach.
The areas around Rietvlei are very built
up and the reserve needs its neighbours to help conserve nature.
Problems facing Rietvlei include water pollution and invasive alien
plants, especially Port Jackson, Rooikrans and Kikuyu Grass.
Neighbours can help by planting indigenous plants in their gardens,
getting rid of Kikuyu Grass and preventing oil, poisons and
fertilizers from running into the vlei.