Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary

What was once a wastewater treatment works, is now the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary, located close to the Lourens River Estuary on the outskirts of Somerset West.

The 10 hectare site has become a natural wetland, enjoying conservation status as part of the Lourens River Protected Natural Environments. The bird sanctuary is relatively unknown, but can boast a bird hide that can lure any avid ornithologist or wildlife photographer. There are an impressive number of avian species including the European Starlings, Common Fiscal, Cape Bulbuls, Cape Weavers, Lesser Reed Warblers, Bishops and the Ethiopian Snipe. Past the hide and following the path in a north-westerly direction, visitors can expect to see Yellow-Billed Ducks and Common Moorhen in one of the many ponds found in the sanctuary.

The most prominent pond in the sanctuary is home to various Kingfishers, Herons and Ibis species and previous visitors have recorded spotting raptors breeding along the side of the sanctuary so keep our head up with your eyes on the tops of the trees! The Western Cape is home to the greatest diversity of bird species in the country so it is no wonder that even the Mute Swan, which is locally extinct, makes an occasional appearance at the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is maintained by the members of the Somerset West Bird Club with the help of a conservator or manages the Lourens River, Dick Dent and the Harmony Flats Reserves for the City of Cape Town. Unfortunately due to the Sanctuary being somewhat isolated, vandalism can occur and it is always recommended to visit in a group. There is huge potential for further development of this reserve and the hopes are that the residents of Somerset West, the Strand and Stellenbosch give the sanctuary some attention to help it become a more popular tourist location.

Things to do and see

  • Six ponds
  • Bird Hide
  • Bridges & Pathways
  • Monthly Meet-ups with the Bird Club
  • Breeding Raptors
  • Locally Extinct Mute Swan
  • Waterfowl & Migrant Waders


There is no admission fee

Birds spotted by Bryne De Koks

  • Gymnogene
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Black Sparrowhawk
  • Cape Wagtail
  • Pied Crow
  • Cape Bulbul
  • Lesser Swamp Warbler
  • Levaillant’s Cisticola
  • Karoo Prinia
  • Fiscal Flycatcher
  • Common Fiscal
  • Red-Winged Starling
  • European Starling
  • Cape White Eye
  • Reed Cormorant
  • White Breasted Cormorant
  • Black Crowned Night Heron
  • African Darter
  • Cattle Egret
  • Little Egret
  • Yellow-Billed Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Black Headed Heron
  • African Spoonbill
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Hadeda Ibis
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Spurwinged Goose
  • Yellow-Billed Duck
  • Little Grebe
  • Redknobbed Coot
  • Common Moorhen
  • Blacksmith Lapwing
  • Brown-Throated Martin
  • Malachite Kingfisher
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Giant Kingfisher
  • Speckled Mousebird
  • Cape Turtle Dove
  • Laughing Dove
  • Swift Tern
  • Kelp Gull
  • Hartlaub’s Gull
  • Cape Weaver
  • Yellow Bishop
  • Common Waxbill
  • Southern Masked Weaver
  • Helmeted Guineafowl

Find Us

From Victoria Street – Travel down Victoria Street toward the Strand. When you reach the robot at the end of the road, where you can only turn left or right, you will notice what appears to be a small driveway straight ahead. Drive straight over the lowered pavement area into this “driveway”, turn left and drive along an area that is not paved and not actually a road really. The fence to the Sanctuary will be on your right. There are two gates, the first is usually locked, but the second, closer to the bridge, is always open for access to the reserve.

From Broadway Boulevard – From Cape Town, travel past the Strand Golf Course, thereafter the first robot will be the one described above. Here you will be able to turn right into the “driveway”.

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