The Amalinda Nature Reserve was established in 1968 and consists of 134 hectares of land surrounding the Amalinda Reservoir. The reserve will become one of the most important birding spots in the East London area as it will remain a sanctuary in the middle of ongoing development. Apart from the birding, there are also a number of mammals to be seen which include Common Reedbuck, Eland, Blesbok and Zebra. During a visit of between 2 to 3 hours you can expect to see an average of 60 bird species. The total bird species count for the reserve is 175.
Specials include Olive Bush-Shrike and Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, (See if you can distinguish the difference in the two species calls.) Red-throated Wryneck in the parking area below the dam, Chorister Robin-Chat and Red-capped Robin-Chat, as well as Marsh Warbler in the summer months. A look in the vegetation surrounding the dam may also produce Malachite Kingfisher. Look also on the old fish holding dams for a possible sighting of White-backed Duck and African Jacana. African Pied Wagtail is regularly seen in the vicinity of the dam wall.
The reserve consists of coastal forest and thornveld. The veld is characterised by grass covered slopes with scattered clumps of shrubs and trees and dense forest along the valley floors. A large reservoir features in the centre of the reserve, which is fed by several small streams.
The facilities in the reserve are basic, but allow for a picnic or similar in the parking area below the dam. A bird hide is to be constructed in November 1997. It is possible to walk through the whole of the reserve that should not take more than one full morning if birding as well as walking. Roads are established around the perimeter fence and through the reserve. To get there, head out from East London on the N2 towards King Williams Town. Just outside of East London take the off ramp to Amalinda main road and turn left. Watch out for the reserve sign on the right just after passing the sports field then take the right turn. Turn right onto the dirt road just before the McClelland School that then leads you into the reserve. The reserve is open permanently, but entry onto the reserve is by foot only. Any enquiries can be directed to Eastern Cape Nature Conservation at telephone number +27 43 635 2115 Eastern Cape Parks Website
The Amalinda Reservoir will produce Yellow-billed Duck, Red-billed Teal. The reeds at the opposite ends of the reservoir will have both Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Little Rush-Warbler calling from them. These areas will also produce Levaillant’s Cisticola and Blacksmith Lapwing. Reed Cormorant are very common along with African Darter. White-faced Duck are seen occasionally. The thornveld surrounding the dam contains Chinspot Batis, Helmeted Guineafowl, and Marsh Warbler. Look for Chorister Robin-Chat and Red-capped Robin-Chat in the forested areas and Cape Longclaw, Plain-backed Pipit and African Pipit on the grassy slopes to the right of the dam wall. This area is also full of LBJ’s in the form of Tawny-flanked Prinia, Lazy Cisticola and Wailing Cisticola. Watch out also for Crowned Lapwing and African Quailfinch. When in flower, the Aloe’s on the entrance road will produce Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird and Collared Sunbird. Although more difficult, Olive Sunbird and Grey Sunbird occasionally make an appearance. Giant Kingfisher is usually observed perching on the power lines in the reserve office area. A Forest Buzzard has been around in recent years and there are occasional sightings of African Fish-Eagle.