DISCOVERING CAPE TOWN’S LOWLAND NATURE RESERVES

Cape Town: the hottest biodiversity hotspot on Earth

Can we save what remains of our irreplaceable lowland veld types?

Above: Original (left) and 2018 (right) extent of natural vegetation types in the City of Cape Town. The grey shading (right) represents the area of wildlife habitat lost to urban development, agriculture and invasive alien plants. Source: City of Cape Town Biodiversity Report 2018


 

Find a lowland nature reserve near you

Click a pin on SANBI’s BGIS map of the City of Cape Town to view information.
 
Cape Town Nature Reserves
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Blaauwberg Conservation Area

The Blaauwberg Conservation Area (BCA) was proclaimed a local and provincial nature reserve in 2007. The reserve has a spectacular view down fynbos slopes, across the city, to 7 km of rocky, sandy coastline, the ocean and beyond. It is the only viewpoint in the world from where you can see two proclaimed World Heritage Sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island.

The BCA conserves three threatened vegetation types: Cape Flats Dune Strandveld (Endangered), Swartland Shale Renosterveld (Critically Endangered), and Cape Flats Sand Fynbos (Critically Endangered). The rich biodiversity embraces a wetland, 558 plant species, 42 mammals (including whales, dolphins and seals), 140 bird species, 28 reptiles and five amphibians. The BCA is the only City of Cape Town nature reserve where you can still find the white-tailed mouse (Mystromys albicaudatus), the ant bear (‘aardvark’; Orycteropus afer) and a bird known as Layard’s titbabbler (Parisoma layardi).

The BCA will eventually conserve about 2 000 hectares, and will be stocked with larger animals, such as eland and red hartebeest. Within the current 953 ha is evidence of early human occupation – with shell middens dating back 15 000 years. The reserve also conserves the site of the 1806 Battle of Blaauwberg, when the British took possession of the Cape from the Dutch for the second time. On Blaauwberg Hill, several buildings were constructed during World War II. These include a radar station, a lookout and a mess room.

Since the BCA’s proclamation, conservation in the area has progressed rapidly. Simple bollards at the coastal parking areas have stopped 4x4s from driving on the beach, and already, the endangered vegetation is recovering and the black oystercatchers (Haematopus moquini) have returned. Illegal vehicles had not only endangered the vegetation and black oystercatchers, but had destroyed a number of the shell middens. Management is limiting the population of Cape gerbils (Tatera afra), whose population exploded following alien vegetation clearing. Conservationists encourage the introduction of barn owls (Tyto alba), which eat the gerbils, by providing barn owl nesting boxes. The owl pellets are however carefully monitored to ensure that they are not eating the endangered white-tailed mice.

An initiative of the Friends of BCA, involving the closure of 4×4 tracks and the judicious clearing of alien vegetation, has shown that the strandveld vegetation can be restored. Partners of the BCA include CapeNature, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the Table Mountain Fund, the Botanical Society of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, C.A.P.E., the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa, and the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area.

NEW LIZARD FIND ADDS TO BCA’S ALLURE
In 2002, two Americans discovered the first specimen of a new lizard species in the BCA. Given the spectacular views of Table Mountain from the reserve, the animal was named Scelotes montispectus. ‘Montispectus’ means ‘to behold the mountain’ and ‘Scelotes’ refers to the genus of dwarf burrowing skinks to which this animal belongs. The presence of this species within the BCA is of immense conservation importance, and to date, only six specimens of this enigmatic lizard have ever been found. The fact that this lizard was so long undiscovered while occurring so close to Cape Town, emphasises the need for more intensive and detailed sampling.

ADDRESS: Bloubergstrand and Eerste Steen Resort, Otto du Plessis Drive, Blouberg
OPENING HOURS: Coastal section: Sunrise to sunset (seven days a week); Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
SIZE: 953 ha
BLAAUWBERG HILL: By prior arrangement only
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)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic sites, braai areas, hiking trails, historic buildings, surfing, windsurfing, birdwatching, whale watching and fishing (permit required)
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Classes on history, archaeology, geography and geology, as well as on the plants and animals in the local ecosystems (booking essential)
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of BCA host monthly activities
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 0454; fax 021 444 7317
E-MAIL: blaauwberg.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.

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Bothasig Fynbos Nature Reserve

Botanising, birdwatching and walking can be enjoyed in this 10 ha nature reserve, which is cared for by the Bothasig Rovers and residents.

ADDRESS: Border of Visserhof, Bosmansdam and Potsdam roads, Bothasig
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 8971; fax 086 201 2916
E-MAIL: tygerberg.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za

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Botterblom Nature Reserve

Outdoor activities including birdwatching, walking and hiking can be enjoyed in this 3.6 ha nature reserve. Environmental education is offered at the nearby Durbanville Nature Reserve.

ADDRESS: Botterblom Road, Vierlanden, Durbanville
CONTACT: Tel 021 979 0060; fax 021 979 0093
E-MAIL: durbanville.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za

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Bracken Nature Reserve

The 36 ha Bracken Nature Reserve is a core botanical site located in the heart of the Brackenfell residential and industrial area. The hill overlooking Brackenfell from the reserve is called Kanonkop (‘Cannon Hill’), as in the 1700s, a cannon would signal from the hill to the farmers when ships were approaching. The farmers took this as their cue to bring their produce to the harbour. Between 1950 and 1970, a granite quarry was operating on the hill, and when it closed, the quarry was turned into a landfill site. An indigenous garden is being developed at the main entrance. Footpaths are designed to enhance visitors’ experience with breathtaking views and a vibrant birdlife.

The vegetation types conserved in this reserve consist mainly of Swartland Granite Renosterveld and Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. Both vegetation types are poorly conserved and severely threatened with species extinction. Bracken Nature Reserve has a rich and unique diversity of succulents, geophytes, orchids, mosses and lichens. More than 160 different indigenous plants have been listed, 10 of which are endemic to Cape Town and threatened with extinction. Important species include: Antimima aristulata, cowslip (Lachenalia aloides), canary yellow vygie (Lampranthus glaucus) and carrion flower (Orbea variegata). Plenty of small mammals live on the site, like the Cape dune mole rat (Bathyergus suillus), the small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta) and a myriad of rodents. Birds like the black-shouldered kite (Elanus caeruleus), sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), red-capped lark (Calandrella cinerea) and the greywinged francolin (Francolinus africanus) are frequently sighted in the reserve. Reptile species include the Cape dwarf chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum), the parrot-beaked tortoise (Homopus areolatus), the Cape skink (Trachylepis capensis) and the Cape cobra (Naja nivea). The reserve also supports amphibians like the Cape sand frog (Tomopterna delalandii) and the Vulnerable Cape rain frog (Breviceps gibbosus).

Challenges
The former landfill is being rehabilitated with suitable soils from nearby sites, and planted with indigenous plants. Gas extraction pipes have to be laid down under the covered waste, to allow the potentially hazardous methane to escape as the waste decomposes. Habitat degradation, agriculture and urban sprawl remain constant threats to the reserve.

ADDRESS: 2 Reservoir Road, Brackenfell
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays only)
SIZE: 36 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic areas, walking trails, birdwatching, wheelchair-friendly trail
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Brackenfell Environmental Education Centre (booking essential)
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of Bracken and CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) arrange walks, birdwatching, plant surveys and alien clearing.
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 0380; fax 021 982 7135
E-MAIL: bracken.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za
WEBSITE: www.brackenfell.org/bnr

PERDEKOP – A WORLD OF BIODIVERSITY IN ONE PRECIOUS PATCH
This jewel of 2,2 ha is a satellite site to Bracken Nature Reserve. It is well renowned among botanists and conservationists for its rich biodiversity and high number of endemic species. Perdekop is situated east of the Brackenfell suburb, adjoining Protea Village. More than 240 plant species have been recorded on the site, which conserves the severely threatened Swartland Granite Fynbos and Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. It is also home to the rare, protected shrub mountain dahlia, which had never been seen on the Cape Flats until City of Cape Town staff discovered it there in 2006. Also known as the orange nodding head (Liparia splendens), the plant is protected under the Western Cape Nature Conservation Laws Amendment Act, 2000. It grows to 2,5 m tall, with simple, oval leaves. The flowers are orange and densely clustered into round flower heads, which nod downwards at the end of the branches. Perdekop can be accessed from Kruin Street in Brackenfell upon prior arrangement, and the site also offers a short walking trail. Each year, Perdekop hosts a spring festival on the first Saturday of September. For more information, send an e-mail to Thea Weyers at theaw@xsinet.co.za, or phone the management of Bracken Nature Reserve on 021 982 1323.

 

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.

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Durbanville Nature Reserve

Next to the Durbanville Racecourse is a special triangle of land. This 6 ha reserve is where Critically Endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Cape Flats Sand Fynbos meet. The area became a nature reserve in 1966, after local residents had found a rare plant, Aristea lugens, growing there and persuaded what was then the Durbanville Town Council to set aside the land for conservation purposes. Alien vegetation was cleared, an indigenous garden was planted, and an education centre was developed.

The reserve also manages a patch of critically important natural vegetation in the centre of the Durbanville Racecourse. There are about 130 plant species, three endemic to Cape Town and ten threatened with extinction. The small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta), angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata) and the Vulnerable Cape rain frog (Breviceps gibbosus) can also be seen.

ADDRESS: Racecourse Road, Durbanville
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays), closed on weekends
SIZE: 6 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic sites, wheelchair-friendly pathways, birdwatching, meeting room
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Educational activities for children in partnership with Cape for Kids (booking essential)
CONTACT: Tel 021 979 0060; fax 021 979 0093
E-MAIL: durbanville.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.

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Edith Stephens Wetland Park

In 1955, Edith Stephens, an eccentric and farsighted botanist, donated 3,7 ha of land to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to protect a rare plant species called Isoetes capensis, a relic plant found nowhere else in the world. In 2000, the City of Cape Town added the surrounding conservation-worthy land to extend the wetland park to 39 ha, and named the park after Ms Stephens.

The vegetation type at the Edith Stephens Wetland Park is a transition from Cape Flats Dune Strandveld to Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, both of which are highly threatened. The site supports 7 Red Data plant species, and some 95 bird species have been recorded. An important heronry is located here, and 5 water bird species breed on the islands in the detention pond. The large seasonal wetland provides an important habitat for breeding waterfowl, such as Cape shoveller (Anas smithii), yellow-billed duck (Anas undulata) and African snipe (Gallinago nigipennis). There are 5 amphibians, including the easternmost population of the Endangered western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus), that start their mass-breeding in the first weeks of August. 12 reptiles and 10 mammals can be found here, including the Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) that still move along the Lotus River canal.

The wetland park works in partnership with many organisations in the surrounding communities, and is home to Cape Flats Nature and the Primary Science Programme. Public facilities include an environmental education centre, a wetland boardwalk trail, a picnic area, a medicinal garden and a bird hide.

ADDRESS: Govan Mbeki Road, Philippi (off Jakes Gerwel Drive)
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays); bookings essential for weekends
SIZE: 39 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic sites, birdwatching, Working for Wetlands nursery, urban agriculture garden, medicinal garden
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: The environmental education centre provides local residents and schools with conservation, recreational and educational opportunities, from teacher’s workshops to children’s holiday programmes
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 6480 / 021 444 6483
E-MAIL: luzann.isaacs@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.

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Rondevlei Nature Reserve

Concerned bird lovers established Rondevlei as a bird sanctuary in 1952. Today, it is a well-run nature reserve, 290 ha in extent, with a museum, an auditorium, a network of footpaths, viewing towers, and several hides named after well known birders.

There is a permanent wetland with Cape Flats Sand Fynbos to the north, and seasonal wetlands and Cape Flats Dune Strandveld in the south. About 278 species of indigenous plants grow in the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. Rare and endangered plants are strongly nurtured: these include the Cape Flats cone bush (Leucadendron levisanus), the Rondevlei spiderhead (Serruria aemula var. foeniculaceae) and the Cape Flats erica (Erica verticillata), which became Extinct in the Wild. The Cape Flats erica was discovered in botanical gardens, and has since been propagated and replanted at Rondevlei.

In addition, there are 237 bird species, from ducks to herons, ibises, pelicans, weavers and more. Hippopotami (Hippopotamus amphibius) have been reintroduced, and there are 20 other mammal species, including Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis), porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis), Cape dune mole rat (Bathyergus suillus), Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) and small-spotted genet (Genetta genetta). Twenty nine types of reptiles and eight frog species have been seen. The only indigenous fish present is the Cape galaxias (Galaxias), while introduced alien fish include common carp (Cyprinus carpio), banded tilapia (Tilapia sparrmanii) and sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus).

ADDRESS: Corner of Perth Road and Fisherman’s Walk, Grassy Park
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-17:00 (seven days a week); 07:30-19:00 (on Saturdays and Sundays from December to February
only); closed on Christmas Day
SIZE: 290 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None (for environmental education and meeting room rates, visit www.capetown.gov.za/naturereserves)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Bus or taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnicking, bird hides, lookout towers, museum, lecture theatre, fishing platforms, boat trips, overnight island bush camp, a boma and conference facilities
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Rondevlei Environmental Education Centre and Leonard Gill Field Museum (booking essential)
FRIENDS GROUP AND BIRDERS: The Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei consist of local community members who support the reserve. The Cape Bird Club and A. Rocha International run birding and bird-ringing programmes.
CONTACT: Tel 021 400 9593; fax 021 706 2405; for environmental education camps, phone Cape Town
Environmental Education Trust on 021 706 8523
E-MAIL: rondevlei.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za
WEBSITE: www.rondevlei.co.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.

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Harmony Flats Nature Reserve

This 9 ha plot is located on the Cape Flats, between Strand and Gordon’s Bay. It is surrounded by low-cost housing, and contains Critically Endangered Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos. Locals sometimes refer to the reserve as a hidden treasure because of its spectacular flora.

Each spring, the reserve bursts into flower. The area contains nearly 220 plant species, many of which are rare and endangered. Plant species include lang-steelvygie (Lampranthus filicaulis), peacock moraea (Moraea villosa), blouoog-kalossie (Ixia versicolor), spider orchid (Bartholina burmanniana), thistle sugarbush (Protea scolymocephala) and chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides). The land was once home to the rare geometric tortoise (Psammabtes geometricus), which is now extinct at this site. The parrot-beaked tortoise (Homopus areolatus) and a number of insects and snakes, like mole snake (Pseudapsis cana), common slugeater (Duberiia lutrix) and spotted skaapsteker (Psammophylax rhombeatus), can however still be found in the reserve. A variety of bird species have also been observed in the area, like clapper lark (Mirafa apiata), orange-throated longclaw (Macronyx capensis), zitting cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) and white-rumped swift (Apus caffer).

WORKING IN HARMONY
The Harmony Flats Working Group (HFWG) started out as a group of volunteers from the nearby area Casablanca. The group was awarded a certificate by the Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.) in appreciation for their good work in helping to manage and conserve the area. They remove litter and clear alien vegetation as well as assist with environmental education and awareness raising. The annual Arbor Week programme near the end of August reaches over 400 learners. Children find special plants, participate in a competition, and plant trees on the edges of the reserve. Cape Flats Nature and the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wild Flowers (CREW) also organise ecology courses on plant and animal interactions, and how fynbos has adapted to drought, fire and other environmental conditions. Plans for the future include a resource centre, nursery structure, a children’s park, and an upgrade of the fence and paths.

ADDRESS: 11th Avenue, Strand
OPENING HOURS: Sunrise to sunset (no controlled access)
SIZE: 9 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Plant monitoring, spring flowers, walking trail
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: The Harmony Flats Working Group, supported and trained by CREW and Cape Flats Nature, organises lessons and plant monitoring.
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 6930
E-MAIL: harmonyflats.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.

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Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area

The Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area (KRCA) consists of approximately 52 ha, and is considered the best protected example of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos in the Cape Peninsula. Due to its location – in the middle of a racecourse – the vegetation has not been disturbed for over 100 years, and it was identified as a core botanical site and established as a conservation area in 1985. The KRCA is the largest stretch of natural vegetation remaining in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, with 283 indigenous plant species, of which 20 are endangered and two endemic. Erica verticillata and Erica turgida, both listed as Extinct in the Wild, were reintroduced in the KRCA in 2005. A small but healthy reptile, bird and mammal population can be found in the KRCA, and its seasonal wetland hosts the Critically Endangered micro frog (Microbatrachella capensis) population – the last of its kind on the Cape Flats and endemic to the southwestern part of the Western Cape. Although the area is managed by the City of Cape Town, it is owned by Gold Circle.

Challenges
The KRCA has become infested with alien vegetation and domestic garden escapees. Staff and volunteers remove litter, and spend time hacking out the alien Port Jackson (Acacia saligna) trees and seedlings. The natural vegetation sometimes has to be cropped so as not to obscure the horse racing. Part of the reserve was rejuvenated by a controlled burn in March 2005.

ADDRESS: Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth
OPENING HOURS: By prior arrangement only. Booking required.
SIZE: 52 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): ~R10.00
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Train, bus or taxi
ACTIVITIES: Walks, and Friends of the KRCA activities (E-mail fkrca-owner@yahoogroups.com for bookings.)
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Programmes and presentations available upon request
CONTACT: Tel 021 700 1843; fax: 021 797 6008
E-MAIL: conservation1k@kenilworthracing.com
WEBSITE: www.krca.co.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.

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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.

Challenges
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)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Bus or taxi
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.

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Zoarvlei Wetlands

Zoarvlei Wetlands are situated between the Paarden Eiland Industrial Centre and the suburbs of Rugby and Brooklyn. Most of the 140 ha of wetland is a dense mat of tall reeds, with a small stretch of open water near Brooklyn Chest Hospital. Here, 87 plant species and many birds are protected, and a great many water birds and gulls congregate. The open water can be reached along a sandy path from Donegal Road, Rugby – look out for giant molehills, a selection of spring flowers and many annual flowers.

Challenges
Zoarvlei has the potential to be an attractive area, as it is home to so many plant and bird species. At present, though, it is not visitor-friendly and further spoiled by illegal waste dumping. However, funding from CoastCare has been obtained, and the area is being rehabilitated. Also, the West Coast Field Studies Centre runs popular environmental education programmes at Zoarvlei to enhance the area’s value to the public.

ADDRESS: Between Donegal Street, Rugby; and Milner Street, Metro Industrial Township
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 140 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Bus or taxi
ACTIVITIES: Walking, birdwatching
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.

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Tygerberg Nature Reserve

The Tygerberg Nature Reserve lies in the northern suburbs. Proclaimed in 1973, it supports one of the last remnants of the highly threatened Swartland Shale Renosterveld vegetation. Its 300 ha area boasts 429 different plant species. Of these, 12 are threatened with extinction, eight are endemic to Cape Town, and three endemic to Tygerberg itself. The diversity of species found here is vast, with some 21 different mammals, 131 bird species, 22 different reptiles, 7 types of frogs, and numerous different butterfly species.

On the western side of the mountain, the Plattekloof Dam is being restored to a natural wetland with the addition of indigenous water plants and fish. This will help to improve the water quality, and provide food, shelter and nesting material for animals.

The view from the top of the reserve’s hill is magnificent, and emphasises just how meagre the patches of natural vegetation are amid the urban sprawl. The hill is covered in renosterveld, and spotted with paler circles of grass in summer.

A SPOTTED TIGER?
From a distance, the blotches visible on the hills of the Western Cape reminded Dutch settlers of a leopard’s skin, and in 1657, the hills became known as Luipaerts Berghen (‘Leopard’s Mountain’). This was changed to Tijgerberghen (‘Tiger Mountain’) in 1661, and is now known as Tygerberg. These regular round patches are called ‘heuweltjies’ or small hills. Many scientists think that these hills are the remains of ancient termite nests. Harvester termites bring plant material into their burrows, and over time, they change the nature of the soil. As a result, the plants growing on the hills differ from those in the surrounding veld. Animals such as ant bears (‘aardvark’; Orycteropus afer), porcupines (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and bat-eared foxes (Otocyon megalotis) often make their burrows in these hills.

ADDRESS: Totius Way, Welgemoed
OPENING HOURS: Summer 07:30-18:00 (weekdays), 07:30-19:00 (weekends and public holidays); winter 07:30-17:00 (weekdays), 07:30-18:00 (weekends and public holidays)
SIZE: 300 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): Adults R20.00; 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)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Hiking, picnic sites, birdwatching, panoramic views
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: The Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre is a well-run, popular venue, and contains a resource centre with a library and a herbarium. Lessons on a variety of topics, including geography, town planning and ecology, are offered. Booking is essential.
FRIENDS GROUP: Join the Tygerberg Bird Club, the Friends of the Tygerberg Hills or CREW (Custodians of Rare and
Endangered Wildflowers) for lectures, hikes, birdwatching, rare plant surveys and alien plant hacks.
E-mail jurgz@mweb.co.za for more information.
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 8971
E-MAIL: tygerberg.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.

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Uitkamp Wetland Nature Reserve

This site was proclaimed a nature reserve in 2001. Residents formed the Uitkamp Action Group in 2006 to help conserve this precious 32 ha wetland valley in a renosterveld region, with its 140 different plants and many rare species. In spring, masses of arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and pink watsonias (Watsonia meriana) flower in the waterlogged central valley amid restios, besemriet and the rare Ischyrolepis duthieae. The dryer edges are home to moederkappie orchids (Disperis capensis), babianas, sparaxis, moraeas, sundews and purple-and-red wine cups (Geisshoriza radians) as well as a variety of bushes. The wetland valley is also home to the Cape caco frog (Cacosternum capense) and the Cape rain frog (Breviceps gibbosus), both of which are considered as threatened.

Challenges
The wetlands are threatened by invasive alien port jackson (Acacia saligna) trees, kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) and other garden plants. Pollution by stormwater from the surrounding d’Urbanvale residential area also poses a challenge.

ADDRESS: Mosselbank Road, Durbanville
OPENING HOURS: 24 hours
SIZE: 32 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES: Nature walks amid a small wetland; interesting plants, birds and frogs
FRIENDS GROUP: Uitkamp Action Group, e-mail: yoellmj@mweb.co.za
CONTACT: Tel 021 979 0060; fax 021 979 0093
E-MAIL: uitkamp.wetland@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.

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Witzands Aquifer Conservation Area

Witzands Aquifer Conservation Area includes the Atlantis Dunefields and the Silwerstroomstrand Conservation Area. Both are priority nature sites located about 50 km north of Cape Town, and form part of the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Network. The conservation area protects not only the Atlantis Aquifer, the main water supply for Atlantis, Mamre and Pella, but also more than 163 plant species and a rich natural and cultural heritage. The mobile dunes (without vegetation and therefore unstable) and the rocky outcrops are the two outstanding features of Witzands Aquifer Conservation Area, whilst Silwerstroomstrand also features rocky shores and a sandy beach. Cape Flats Dune Strandveld and Atlantis Sand Fynbos are the two main vegetation types. More than 50 species of water birds roost, breed and feed in the many natural and artificial wetlands found here. Lizards, amphibians, and mammals such as steenbok (Raphicerus campestris), Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis), the small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta), Cape mole rat (Georychus capensis) and caracal (Felis caracal) have all been recorded in the area. Of special significance is the globally threatened black harrier (Circus maurus), which is successfully conserved in both the Atlantis Dunefields and Silwerstroomstrand Conservation Area.

ADDRESS: Corner of R27 and Dassenberg Drive, Atlantis
OPENING HOURS: For activities in the Atlantis Dunefields: 07:00-19:00 (permits available on-site)
SIZE: Approximately 3 000 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): Adults R50.00 on foot; R205.00 per 4X4 vehicle (max. 4 people); R118.00 per quadbike/motorcycle; R68.00 sandboarding (for annual permits, special rates and updates, visit www.capetown.gov.za/naturereserves)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Sand-boarding, beach-walking, rock pools, filming, 4×4 driving, camping (caravans, chalets & tents), picnic sites, braai areas, birdwatching, whale watching and fishing (permit required). Guided hikes are available upon request.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Formal programmes by appointment
FILMING: Small companies (still shoots) with a maximum of ten vehicles and 25 people pay one rate, with a higher rate applying for commercials and film shoots
CONTACT: Tel 021 400 6000; fax 086 628 4872
E-MAIL: witzandsnature.reserve@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.

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Wolfgat Nature Reserve

Wolfgat Nature Reserve, covering 248 ha, was declared a reserve in 1986. It protects spectacular coastal limestone cliffs along Baden Powell Drive. Still covered with Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation, this reserve conserves more than 150 different plant species. Evergreen shrubs, annual and perennial daisies, vygies and arum lilies are common. A colony of kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus vetula) nest on the limestone cliffs, and African black oystercatchers (Haematopus moquini) scurry along the rocky and sandy shores.

Challenges
Alien rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) trees have invaded large areas of the False Bay coast. Littering also remains a problem. However, Wolfgat Nature Reserve works with youth organisations in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, supporting youth development through conservation activities, such as beach and litter cleanups. The reserve was one of the pilot sites for the Cape Flats Nature project.

RUNNING WITH WOLVES
Wolfgat is named after the brown hyena or strandwolf (Hyaena brunnea), which occurred in Cape Town around the 1840s. A fossil den site of a brown hyena was found in the Wolfgat cliffs in 1962, dating back to about 45 000 years ago.

ADDRESS: Baden Powell Drive, Mitchell’s Plain
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays)
SIZE: 248 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None. By prior appointment only
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES: Picnicking, fishing in designated areas (permit required), watching coastal birds, swimming, paragliding
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: An education officer assists schools with field trips for groups of 30-40 learners. Larger
groups could take part in special programmes, like coastal hikes and clean-up campaigns.
CONTACT: Tel 021 400 3856/ 61; fax 086 576 1721
E-MAIL: wolfgat.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.

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Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

Zandvlei is a recreational area at Lakeside, where windsurfers entertain picnickers with their antics. It is one of the most accessible reserves, as it is next to Lakeside Station and close to Main Road. The Zandvlei Environmental Education Centre on the northern side is reached from Steenberg Station or Coniston Avenue, off Military Road in Marina da Gama.

Zandvlei is the only functioning estuary on the False Bay coast, and supports a variety of indigenous fish. Juvenile marine fish use the estuary as a nursery, where they can grow in safety. It is important that the estuary mouth is open for at least a part of the year, to enable young fish to enter the estuary and older fish to return to the ocean. It is opened artificially by the City of Cape Town’s Catchment Management Department when a high spring tide is expected. Southern mullet (Liza richardsonii), leervis (also known as garrick; Lichia amia), the Critically Endangered white steenbras (also known as pignose grunter; Lithognathus lithognathus), white stumpnose (Rhabdosargus globiceps) and elf (Pomatomus saltatrix) are among the 25 types of fish found in the estuary. Strict recreational fishing regulations apply, including minimum size catch and bag limits, to protect young fish and allow them to breed. Many sport anglers now prefer to ‘catch, tag and release’ fish, so that they can enjoy fishing without threatening fish populations. Local anglers are encouraged to remove alien invasive fish species, such as common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and barbel (also known as sharptooth catfish; Clarias gariepnus).

Wetlands like Zandvlei are important habitats for birds, both those that live here year round and those that migrate from Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa. There are about 150 species here, including great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), African fish eagles (Haliaeetus vocifer), Caspian terns (Sterna caspia), ducks, coots, herons, ibises, pelicans, kingfishers, swallows and weavers. Eighteen different reptiles have been recorded in the reserve, including the marsh terrapin (Pelomedusa subrufa), brown water snake (Lycodonomorphus rufulus) and mole snake (Pseudaspis cana), as well as 210 different plant species. Residents of neighbouring Lakeside and Marina da Gama enjoy the sound of birds and the croaking of frogs. They sometimes see Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis; image top left), porcupines (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and small grey and water mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta and Atilax paludinosus), and their gardens are often visited by Cape dune mole rats (Bathyergus suillus).

Challenges
Farming, urban development, invasive alien plants and dredging of the vlei have destroyed much of the natural vegetation around Zandvlei. The City of Cape Town, Working for Wetlands, FynbosLIFE and volunteers from the area are slowly restoring the natural Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation. They collect indigenous plants before bulldozers create new developments, and transplant them at Zandvlei. The extensive reed beds are an important part of the river, as they filter out silt and remove nutrients so that the water does not become thick and green with algae. The invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a problem, as it clogs large areas of the vlei.

ADDRESS: Coniston Avenue, Marina Da Gama
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays), closed on weekends
SIZE: 200 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi, train or bus (within walking distance of Steenberg and Lakeside train stations, as well as Main Road)
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Jetty, bird hides, picnic sites, boating, walking, windsurfing
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Zandvlei Environmental Education Centre is within walking distance of Steenberg
Station, and offers field trips for primary learners (book in advance for live reptile displays)
FRIENDS GROUP: The Zandvlei Trust help with conservation, education and awareness projects
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 1489
E-MAIL: zandvlei.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.

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Mamre Nature Garden

The Mamre Nature Garden is not only rich in biodiversity, but has an interesting cultural history. In the past, the people of Mamre called this area ‘Geelvlei’ (‘Yellow Vlei’) after the small, yellow flowers – ‘Boesman myre’ – which grew around a dam that was located there. The flowers grew so abundantly around the dam, that the whole area appeared yellow. The dam no longer exists, and the flora has since changed. The locals use the Mamre Nature Garden to collect wild flowers for the annual Mamre Moravian Church ‘Kinderfees’ (‘Children’s Festival’) and the Spring Flower Festival, which takes place in September each year.

The Mamre Nature Garden is 254 ha in extent, with a core area of 13 ha. The vegetation type on the reserve is the Endangered Atlantis Sand Fynbos, and more than 150 plant species have been recorded. These include vleiblom (Lachnaea capitata), rotstert (Babiana ringens), suikerkan (Protea repens), bloupypie (Gladiolus gracilis), rooisalie (Salvia lanceolata) and klokkiesheide (Erica decora). Small mammals, such as the bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis), Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis), Cape dwarf chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum), caracal (Felis caracal), small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta) and porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis), can still be found roaming around, as well as a host of birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Mamre was established in 1701, when Cape Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel sent a group of soldiers to set up a military post. The area was then known as Groenekloof. In 1806, a Moravian mission was established here, and the first sermons were held at Louwskloof, which is at the base of the Dassenberg hills.

ADDRESS: Head Office: Cnr of R27 and Dassenberg Drive, Atlantis
OPENING HOURS: By prior arrangement only
SIZE: 254 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic site, short trail, 1.5-hour hiking trail to Louwskloof – a National Heritage Site (by prior arrangement only), alien clearing, woodcutting (alien trees)
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: By prior arrangement only
CONTACT: Tel 021 577 5000/2/3/4; fax 021 577 5001
E-MAIL: witzandsnature.reserve@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.

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Diep River and Fynbos Corridor

The Diep River and Fynbos Corridor is a tract of land running north from the Blaauwberg Road Bridge, between Parklands and DuNoon informal settlement, all the way to Blaauwberg Hill. The river part of the corridor is owned by the municipality and is a unique example of a natural floodplain in the city. The terrestrial area consists of privately owned land, which has been set aside to connect the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve with the Blaauwberg Conservation Area. When the corridor is completed, it will become a valuable scenic feature in the Parklands landscape, as well as a vital ecological linkage between the two nature reserves. The Diep River and Fynbos Corridor protects remnants of the Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and the Endangered Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation types.

Challenges
The corridor is often exposed to too frequent and unseasonal fires, illegal waste dumping and littering, unauthorised off-road driving, cattle grazing and invasive alien vegetation. The footpaths are also frequently used to access the rapidly developing Parklands suburb.

ADDRESS: Gie Road, Parklands
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 216 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES: By prior arrangement
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: None
CONTACT: Tel 021 550 1086
E-MAIL: diepriver.fynboscorridor@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.

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Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve

The Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve is situated to the east of the residential area known as Royal Ascot. Similar to the Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area, it is primarily surrounded by a horseracing track. The area is approximately 19.4 ha in extent, and is divided into two portions that are separated by a residential development. A boardwalk and a pathway system make the smaller northern area accessible to the public. The larger southern area is enclosed by the racetrack, and not open to the public.

Its unusual geology, consisting of neutral to slightly acidic sand on ferricrete, makes the area suitable for Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, both of which can be found here. As such, the reserve offers an exceptionally high diversity relative to the size of the conservation area. There are 232 recorded plant species on the site, and of these, 12 have Red Data status, including Cliffortia ericifolia, Hermannia procumbens subsp. procumbens, Leucadendron levisanus and Acrolophia bolusii. The reserve also features the largest known population of Lampranthus stenus. Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve conserves the largest number of succulents (Mesembryanthemaceae and Aizoaceae) per unit area for any remnant of a similar size on the Cape Flats or the Cape Peninsula.

Two small permanent wetlands are also found on the site, and during winter, much of the area is inundated by water. This provides habitat for a variety of birdlife, and more than 70 species have been recorded. Thus far, at least ten species of butterflies and moths have been observed, and a number of grysbok can also be seen in both the northern and southern areas.

ADDRESS: Grand National Boulevard, Royal Ascot
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 19,4 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None; only northern area accessible
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: 20-minute walking trail in the northern area, birdwatching
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: By prior arrangement
CONTACT: Tel 021 550 1086
WEBSITE: www.royalascot.co.za
E-MAIL: milnertonracecourse.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.

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Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary

The Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary is a section of the Liesbeek River between the Hartleyvale football ground and the South African Astronomical Observatory. This stretch of the river is parkland, with grassy picnic sites and shady trees along the busy Liesbeek Parkway. The sounds of seagulls, sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) and Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiacus) compete with the noise of traffic as they squabble over scraps of food. The more secretive herons, coots, ducks and smaller birds hide in the reeds across the river. Raapenberg is recognised as an important breeding site for many duck species.

Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary is part of the new Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP), which is destined to be an important open space within the city. The park is located at the confluence of the Liesbeek and Black River, and is managed by the City of Cape Town. All the landowners and stakeholders within the TRUP will work together to integrate the sensitive river and wetland systems, rich cultural background and developed areas of the parkland to make it a people’s place of note. The park includes the Provincial Heritage Sites of the South African Astronomical Observatory (erected in 1827), Valkenberg homestead (1830, now the Courtyard Hotel), Valkenberg Hospital (1899), the Nieuwe Molen windmill, and the Oude Molen farmhouse complex. Large sporting facilities, such as Hartleyvale, Malta Park and the River Club, are also part of the TRUP.

Challenges
Management priorities are to rehabilitate the polluted rivers for recreational activities, to control alien vegetation, and create walkways along the rivers.
ADDRESS: Between Liesbeek Parkway and Station Rd, Observatory
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 10 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi, bus or train
ACTIVITIES: Birdwatching, walking, picnicking
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of the Liesbeek, www.fol.org.za
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 689 9141

 

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.

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Rondebosch Common

Rondebosch Common has a long history as an open space for public use. This valuable 40 ha block lies in a built-up area surrounded by established homes, schools and hospitals. The area supports a natural remnant of the Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, with patches of renosterveld, and is also a seasonal wetland.

Over 300 plant species have been verified on the site, of which nine appear in the Red Data List, whilst 110 different bird species have also been recorded. The common is very popular among locals, who can be seen jogging, walking their dogs, exercising and enjoying the open space every day.

A rundown on Rondebosch Common

When the Dutch settled in the Cape in the 1600s, they noted that the early inhabitants, the Goringhaiqua, migrated through the area every year with their herds, using the vegetation for animal grazing. In 1805 to 1806, the common was a rallying place for the Batavian (Dutch) farmers before the Battle of Blaauwberg, and for the conquering British forces after the battle. Troops also used the area during the Anglo-Boer War in 1899, and World War I and II. In 1855, the rector of St Paul’s Church was given permission to graze his cattle on the land, on the condition that it would remain open for public use. Over the years, bits and pieces of the land were lopped off and put to various uses, for example the building of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. Pine trees were planted to surround patches of land used for cemeteries. Today the cemeteries are gone, but the pine trees remain. Rugby, football, cricket and golf have all been played in Rondebosch Common, starting as far back as 1860. Today, formal sports have moved to better facilities, but cricket pitches, raised golf greens and a grassy rugby field can still be found near the car park. In 1961, Rondebosch Common was proclaimed a National Monument. Today, this large stretch of common land enjoys conservation status, and is administered by the City of Cape Town.

ADDRESS: Park and Campground Roads, Rondebosch
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 40 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi, bus or train
ACTIVITIES: Spring flower-spotting, history rambles, running, dog walking
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: No formal programmes, but suitable for nature and history lessons
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of Rondebosch Common keep the area clean, safe and free from litter and fire. The group controls the spread of alien vegetation, organises spring walks, keeps information boards updated, and has compiled a book on the common’s history, fauna and flora.
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 689 9141

 

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.

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Zeekoevlei Nature Reserve

Zeekoevlei is the largest natural inland waterbody in the city. The vlei is a popular picnicking, sailing and fishing spot. Pelicans, flamingos and many other birds can be seen within the 344 ha site. Houses line the northern and western shores, and the Zeekoevlei Yacht Club is situated on the west bank. The new headquarters for the FBEP are located on the southern shore. 23 sporting clubs use the vlei with two overnight environmental education centres along its shores.

ADDRESS: Zeekoevlei Road, Pelican Park
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-19:30 (summer), 07:30-18:00 (winter)
SIZE: 344 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: Only for power boats, payable to the Cape Peninsula Aquatics Club (for updates, visit www.capetown.gov.za/environment)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES: Picnicking, fishing, boating, birdwatching
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Zeekoevlei Environmental Education Centre, tel 021 396 1272
ACCOMMODATION: School camps, tel 021 706 8523
FRIENDS GROUP AND BIRDERS: The Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei consist of local community members who support the reserve. The Cape Bird Club runs birding and bird-ringing programmes.
CONTACT: Tel 021 706 2404; fax 021 706 2405
E-MAIL: zeekoevleinature.reserve@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.

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De Hel Nature Area

De Hel Nature Area is a riverine valley adjoining Table Mountain below Rhodes Drive to the northeast of Constantia Nek. The upper reaches of the Spaanschemat River runs through this 21,3 ha natural area, and environmental surveys of De Hel show that the site remains in a near natural condition. The land is designated as zoned public open space, and is owned by the City of Cape Town. A management partnership has been arranged between the municipality and the Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts (FOCVGB).

De Hel has not been dubbed ‘the jewel in the crown’ of Constantia’s riverine open spaces without good reason. Its steep slopes, densely covered in trees, run down to the riverbed, and at the bottom, a flat piece of land known as ‘the Meadow’ is still home to pockets of fruit trees and garden plants, as the Meadow was cultivated in the past. The site has also been declared a Provincial Heritage Site. De Hel is linked to ancient cattle tracks originating from the Khoi-Khoi pastoralists in the Cape. The Dutch East India Company also established one of their four woodcutters’ posts in the area, and because of this and its associations with slave labour and slave runways, De Hel is a heritage site of significance.

A plant survey identified 250 plant species; a third of these being alien to the site. The indigenous vegetation is Southern Afrotemperate Forest and Peninsula Granite Fynbos, and is home to the endangered silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum) and Erica phylicaefolia.

Some 16 species of mammals have been observed, and a bird count yielded 72 species to date, with 17 reptiles and amphibians recorded. Notable endangered species include the Knysna Warbler (Bradypterus sylvaticus) and the western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus).

Challenges
Invasive alien species are a threat to the granite fynbos, and controlling the spread of alien trees
without affecting the indigenous forest proves a difficult task.

ADDRESS: Between Southern Cross Drive and Constantia Nek Road, Constantia
OPENING HOURS: Sunrise to sunset
SIZE: 21,3 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES: Walking, jogging, birdwatching and photography
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: None
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 689 9141

 

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.

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Meadowridge Common

Meadowridge Common is a small protected area of approximately 8 ha – a valuable remnant of the Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. It contains as many as 137 different flowering plant species, of which four are listed as Endangered. These plants are representative of the almost 600 species that were collected by Dr William Frederick Purcell on the Bergvliet Farm between 1914 and 1919, and this collection can today be viewed in the Compton Herbarium at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Floral displays are at their best in spring, from September to October, and a number of insects, birds and amphibians, including the threatened Cape rain frog (Breviceps gibbosus), have been observed.

Meadowridge Common is managed by the City of Cape Town, with the help of the Friends of Meadowridge Common.

Challenges
Due to its small size, isolated location and low numbers of some plant species, the risk of extinction is high. The invasion of kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), pine trees (Pinus sp.), annual weeds, together with a lack of natural fires, suppress the natural vegetation. Other problems are uncontrolled dogs and soil that was dumped on the site over 20 years ago.

ADDRESS: Accessible from Edison Drive and Faraday Way, Meadowridge
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 8 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Bus or taxi
ACTIVITIES: Dog-walking, wildflowers, recreation
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Illustrated talks given upon request
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of Meadowridge Common assist with keeping the site clean and tidy, and controlling invasive alien species. The group keeps detailed botanical records, arranges spring walks, provides signage, and monitors the activities on the common. Contact them on 021 715 9206.
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 762 9180

 

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.

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Koeberg Nature Reserve

The Koeberg Nature Reserve, which surrounds the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, was proclaimed in 1991. It is a well-managed reserve, with an active alien-clearing programme, and protects Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, wetlands and Atlantis Sand Fynbos. So far, 301 plant species have been identified here. Trails lead to the beach, where white mussels (Donax serra) and plough snails (Bullia sp.) can be seen. The reserve is about 3 000 ha in extent, with a spectacular display of wild flowers in spring.

There is an abundance of introduced wildlife, such as springbok, bontebok, blue wildebeest, zebra and eland. There are occasional sightings of the African wild cat (Felis libyca), small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta), genet (Genetta sp.) and caracal (Felis caracal). The area is also home to the angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata) and a variety of other reptiles, and as many as 197 different bird species.

For more information, phone 021 550 4021/553 2466, e-mail gert.greeff@eskom.co.za, or visit www.eskom.co.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.

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Plattekloof Natural Heritage Site

Plattekloof Natural Heritage Site belongs to Eskom, the national electricity utility. The site conserves Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos.

For more information, phone 021 550 4021/553 2466, e-mail gert.greeff@eskom.co.za, or visit www.eskom.co.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.

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Cape Flats Nature Reserve

Cape Flats Nature Reserve is a private reserve that falls under the administration of the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Although the reserve was created to protect Cape Flats Dune Strandveld and Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, it also serves as a base for ecological teaching, environmental education and research.

For more information, visit www.botany.uwc. ac.za/eeru/CFNR or phone UWC’s Environmental Education and Resource Unit on 021 959 3891.

 

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.

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Driftsands Nature Reserve

Driftsands Nature Reserve on the Cape Flats is managed by CapeNature, the conservation authority for the Western Cape Provincial Government. The reserve is situated on Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, which is an Endangered vegetation type endemic to Cape Town. Here reserve staff offer environmental education activities to the surrounding communities.

CapeNature manages a large number of provincial reserves across the province. It also works with private landowners through the Conservation Stewardship Programme with maintaining biodiversity on private land.

For more information, visit www.capenature.org.za or phone the CapeNature head office on 021 659 3400.

 

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.

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Tokai Park

Tokai Park is part of Table Mountain National Park, which is managed by SANParks and Friends of Tokai Park. As the pine plantation is gradually harvested, the park conserves more of the highly threatened Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and Peninsula Granite Fynbos vegetation types in the area. When the pines are removed, the natural vegetation regenerates from the seed bank, which is still viable in the soil after decades. Fire is an important process in this regeneration.

Contact tokaifynbosfriends@gmail.com to join the Friends group’s weekly hacks and other activities.

For more information, visit www.sanparks.org, or phone SANParks head office in Cape Town on 021 701 8692.

 

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.

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Die Oog Conservation Area

Die Oog is a small conservation area located on what was once a dam on Bergvliet Farm. The dam was built sometime between 1716 and 1764 as a link to the Spanschemat furrow. It was later converted into a recreational lake owned by the Eksteen family, who used it to entertain their guests. The Eksteens even introduced swans to the lake, and created an artificial island.

Bergvliet Farm originally occupied most of the Constantia Valley, but was repeatedly subdivided into smaller patches of land. In 1982, a small remnant was designated a zoned public open space and named Die Oog. The City of Cape Town and the Bergvliet and Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association provided fences, benches and planted indigenous trees and shrubs, and the Friends of Die Oog Conservation Area were formed to help maintain and improve the site. The Friends group successfully secured funding for signage, wheelchair-friendly paths, a viewing platform, and improvement of the amenities. They have also initiated environmental education programmes, and are managing a website about Die Oog.

Die Oog is one of the few remaining breeding sites for the Endangered western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus), and the ‘roaring’ of the toads when they arrive in Die Oog in August to breed, is one of the true wonders of nature. The site has five different biodiverse areas: granite fynbos, which turns into a sea of colour in spring; the dam itself; the artificial island, which is a major roosting site for cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), reed cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus) and sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus); a seasonal wetland below the dam wall that leads to the Keyser River; and sanctuary and recreational areas planted with silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum) and ericas.

At night, the island sometimes hosts over 1 000 birds, such as coots, dabchicks (also known as little grebe; Tachybaptus ruficollis), moorhens, yellow-billed ducks (Anas undulata) and Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiacus). Black sparrowhawks (Accipiter melanoleucus) are fairly common, whilst the Cape weaver (Ploceus capensis), the hadeda ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), reed cormorant and the dikkop are all breeding residents.

The Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), water mongoose (Atilax paludinosusis) and porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) have also been observed, and besides the famous western leopard toad, the common clawed frog (platanna; Xenopus laevis) and the clicking stream frog (Strongylopus grayii) add to the amphibians of Die Oog.

Challenges
Invasive alien species are the main challenge for the site. The growth of aquatic weeds has to be contained, and indigenous geophytes and other plants are being re-established. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), which is an alien fish species, had also presented a problem, but have been removed, and attempts are being made to reintroduce the indigenous Cape galaxias (Galaxias zebratus) and Cape kurper (Sandelia capensis).

ADDRESS: Lakeview and Midwood Avenues, Bergvliet
OPENING HOURS: 07:00-19:00 daily
SIZE: 1,2 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES:Walking, birdwatching and quiet recreation. (Dogs, sports games and swimming are not allowed.) Guided visits can be arranged through the Friends of Die Oog.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: For school learner programmes, contact the Friends of Die Oog.
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of Die Oog
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 762 9180 & Friends of Die Oog Tel/fax 021 715 8665
E-MAIL: mppearce@lantic.net (Friends of Die Oog)
WEBSITE: www.dieoog.org.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.

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Macassar Dunes Conservation Area

The Macassar Dunes Conservation area, with its spectacular view across False Bay to Kogelberg and Hangklip, is an important site in the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Network. The area contains 178 plant species, and an area of more than 1000 ha is planned to be set aside as a nature reserve. In spring, the thicket vegetation is ablaze with wildflowers, and a pleasant walk through the dunes leads to False Bay Beach, where coastal birds, whales and dolphins can be seen.

The white milkwood trees (Sideroxlyon inerme) growing in the Macassar Dunes area are protected by law, and already, these dunes benefit members of the Khayelitsha and Macassar communities in tangible ways. The Traditional Healers’ Association, for example, harvests plants for medicinal purposes.

A partnership between Cape Flats Nature, the Macassar Dunes Co-management Association (MDCA) and iLitha Lomso (an environmental youth organisation) uses the site as an outdoor classroom for environmental education, attracting hundreds of learners from surrounding schools each year.

Challenges
Urban development is creeping closer, and threatens to engulf the Macassar Dunes and its Endangered Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation. There is huge pressure from sand mining (legal and illegal) in areas neighbouring Macassar Dunes.

ADDRESS: Macassar Road, Khayelitsha; Baden Powell Drive, Macassar
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays); closed on weekends
SIZE: 1 116 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES: Picnicking, fishing in designated areas (permit required), hiking, swimming, birdwatching
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Outdoor educational programmes are offered to mark special environmental events, such as Arbor Day, Water Week and Marine Week.
CONTACT: Tel 021 392 5134/5; fax 021 392 8878
E-MAIL: macassar.reserve@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.

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Kogelberg Nature Reserve

The R44, a mountain drive from Gordon’s Bay to the Bot River mouth, is one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world, and skirts the large Kogelberg Nature Reserve. The Kogelberg itself is often referred to as the heart of the fynbos. With 1 600 plant species it boasts a floral diversity per unit area higher than anywhere else in the world. The primary vegetation type is Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, comprising a low, closed shrubland, scattered with tall shrubs. There are many protea species and their relatives, hundreds of erica species, and a host of endemic species and families. There are numerous seeps and seasonally saturated wetlands, dominated by brunias and restios.

The majestic Verreaux’s eagle (Aquila verreauxii), klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) and baboons (Papio ursinus) are common sightings in the reserve, and whales and dolphins can be viewed from the road verges. The mountain slopes are strictly controlled and closed to the public, except for the hike along the Steenbras River Gorge, taking visitors past crystal clear mountain pools and cascading waterfalls, to the Steenbras Dam.

ADDRESS: Gordon’s Bay – 8 km along the R44 (Clarence Drive)
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00
SIZE: Approximately 3 000 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: R15.00 per person for hiking permit to enter Steenbras River Gorge (for updates, visit www.capetown.gov.za/environment)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Hiking trail, abseiling, kloof jumping (run by external company), whale watching, scenic drive and fishing (permit required)
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: None
ACCOMMODATION: The Kogel Bay Resort offers camping and caravanning facilities on the beachfront (reservations: 021 856 1286)
CONTACT: Tel 021 856 5605; fax 021 851 2148
E-MAIL: kogelberg.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.

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Lower Silvermine Wetlands

Situated between Clovelly and Fish Hoek, the Lower Silvermine Wetlands are a rehabilitated floodplain featuring Hangklip Sand Fynbos, sand dunes, and aquatic and wetland areas. The rehabilitation took two years to complete. The floodplain was initially planned to be canalised due to the flooding of nearby houses during the winter season, but a group of nature conservationists managed to ensure its rehabilitation instead. Remains of over 100 year-old dykes are found next to the wetlands as well as on Clovelly Beach. The nearly pristine Silvermine River is unique, as its natural state is almost intact, running from its source in the Silvermine Mountains to the sea in False Bay.

A plant inventory has been compiled, and since the vegetation consisted mostly of alien plants, many indigenous plant species have been reintroduced. However, more species are still being rediscovered, and a photographic record of the species that existed in the area before it was developed has proven very useful for the rehabilitation.

The area is a breeding ground for the Endangered western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus), the arum lily frog (Hyperolius horstockii), the Cape river frog (Amietia fuscigula) and the clicking stream frog (Strongylopus grayii). It was also the type site for the Cape platanna (Xenopus gilli), which now unfortunately seems to be extinct in the area.

Around 50 bird species are seen here, although many of the waders have disappeared due to the Typha (commonly known as bulrush) invasion. Painted snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) and Ethiopian snipe (Gallinago nigripennis) have bred in the area, but are no longer seen.

The area has a small mammal population of otter (Aonyx capensis), porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis). Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosusis) has also been observed.

Challenges
Typha, although indigenous, is overstimulated due to excess nutrients in stormwater runoff, and becomes a threat to other species. Also, despite plastic bags being available for dog-walkers to clean up after their animals, not everyone cooperates. The dog-walkers, however, contribute greatly to making the Lower Silvermine Wetlands a safe area for the enjoyment of young and old. A minor decline in the pond’s water quality has also been observed.

ADDRESS: Clovelly Road, Clovelly
OPENING HOURS: 24 hours
SIZE: Not applicable
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Train or taxi. A 15-minute walk from Fish Hoek Station, or free parking just off Clovelly Road, at the traffic lights on Main Road
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Walking, birdwatching, self-guided trail for the blind, cycling.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: None
FRIENDS GROUP: The Riverine Rovers are a subgroup of the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (FOSNA)
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 701 1233 & The Riverine Rovers tel 021 782 6144; fax 086 603 7554; e-mail: terry@marques.co.za (The Riverine Rovers)

 

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.

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Glencairn Wetland

Glencairn Wetland is located between the Glencairn Expressway (M6), Simon’s Town Road (M4), Glen Road and Gordon’s Camp, and is easily reached from Glencairn Station. The Else River runs through the site, and transforms into a wetland as it approaches the sea. Footpaths in the shape of the number 8 take hikers around the site, and the hour-and-a-bit-long hike leads to Glencairn Beach and the ascent of Elsie’s Peak.

The Glencairn Education and Environment Support Enthusiasts (GEESE) manage the site together with the City of Cape Town. Improvements to the site take place regularly, the most recent being the laying of stepping stones across the causeway, the construction of benches, and the development of a new pathway.

Owners are most welcome to bring their dogs along, provided they clean up after their animals, and prevent them from chasing the birds or entering the water. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) can be found in both the top and bottom pans, which provide excellent training ground for would-be young fishermen. Schools and clubs frequently visit the site on exploratory and educational outings.

Glencairn Wetland is home to several bird species, many of which return each year to breed. Evidence of otter, porcupine and mongoose is frequently recorded, although the nocturnal animals themselves are rarely spotted.

Members of GEESE strive to keep the wetland free of litter, and several municipal litter bins are
provided for visitors’ convenience.

ADDRESS: Glen Road, Glencairn
OPENING HOURS: 24 hours
SIZE: 20 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Bus or train
ACTIVITIES: Walking, birdwatching, guided hikes
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: School programmes; booking is essential. (Contact Rob Erasmus on enviro@absamail.co.za)
FRIENDS GROUP: Glencairn Education & Environment Support Enthusiasts (GEESE)
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 701 1233 & GEESE tel 021 782 6400; fax 021 782 5016
E-MAIL: cilla@bromley.co.za (GEESE)
WEBSITE: www.geeseglencairn.org

 

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.

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Helderberg Nature Reserve

Helderberg Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1960. It covers an area of 398 ha and extends up the Helderberg Mountain to a height of 1 137 m. Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos is the predominant vegetation type, with almost 600 plant species, including sugar bushes (Protea sp.), pincushions (Leucospermum sp.) and cone bushes (Leucadendron sp.).

On the northern side, in the deep, more fertile granite soil, there are also patches of Boland Granite Fynbos, including the waboom (Protea nitida), forming a fairly dense, closed shrubland. In wetter areas, one finds restios and a variety of ericas, as well as other shrubs and watsonias.

A small group of tame bontebok (Damaliscus pygarus pygarus) often grazes on the grass in the shady picnic area. The bontebok, along with some of the shade trees, have been introduced to the reserve. Naturally occurring grey duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis), steenbok (Raphicerus campestris), small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta), angulate (Chersina angulata) or padloper tortoises (Homopus sp.) and even an occasional snake can be seen. More than 170 bird species have been recorded.

ADDRESS: Verster Avenue, Somerset West
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-17:30, May-October; 07:30-19:00, November-April
SIZE: 398 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: Adults R10.00, children (3-13 years) and senior citizens R5.00, children under 3 years free (for annual permits, special rates and updates, visit www.capetown.gov.za/environment)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic area, Oak Café, hiking trails, summer sunset concerts, information centre, gift shop, museum displays in the Maskew Miller Herbarium (10:00-16:00)
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Mike Woods Environmental Education Centre (bookings: 021 852 8831)
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve are active, and support the reserve manager by running programmes for environmental education, fundraising, maintenance, upgrades and promotions. They also run a museum, a shop and an indigenous nursery.
CONTACT: Tel 021 851 6982; fax 021 851 2148
E-MAIL: helderbergnature.reserve@capetown.gov.za
WEBSITE: www.helderbergnaturereserve.co.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.

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Silwerboomkloof Natural Heritage Site

This beautiful 4,9 ha kloof in Somerset West, just northwest of the Helderberg Nature Reserve, was proclaimed a Natural Heritage Site in 1988. The site protects a fine forest of silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum), as well as granite fynbos and renosterveld, with 220 plant species. Silver trees belong to the protea family, and are the largest cone bush species. They are spectacular, and are found only on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Therefore, this population at Silwerboomkloof is an anomaly – outlying and isolated.

Challenges
The vegetation is old, and the silver trees are starting to die. The veld needs to burn, but because the site is surrounded by houses, it is difficult to get permission for a controlled burn.

ADDRESS: Van Gogh Road, Somerset West
OPENING HOURS: Open access
SIZE: 4,9 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Hiking trails, birdwatching
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: No formal programme
CONTACT: Tel 021 851 6982; fax 021 851 2148
E-MAIL: helderbergnature.reserve@capetown.gov.za
WEBSITE: www.helderbergnaturereserve.co.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.

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Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary

The Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary was once a wastewater treatment works near the estuary of the Lourens River. Today, the site is home to many coastal and wetland birds. It is conserved as part of the Lourens River Protected Natural Environment. The Somerset West Bird Club helps to look after the sanctuary, which falls under the management of Helderberg Nature Reserve.

Challenges
Although enormous potential exists within this reserve, it is often under threat from vandals due to its isolated location.

ADDRESS: Broadway Boulevard, Strand
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: 10 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES: The site offers a bird hide, and birdwatchers are advised to visit in groups.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: None
CONTACT: Tel 021 851 6982; fax 021 851 2148
E-MAIL: helderbergnature.reserve@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.

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Lourens River Protected Natural Environment

From its source in the Hottentots Holland Mountains to its mouth at Strand, the Lourens River extends over 23 km. It travels through fynbos, alien plantations and farmland, as well as residential, commercial and light industrial areas. The pristine mountain catchment area and upper reaches are not freely accessible, as they are on private estates. The estuary at the mouth is not accessible to the public, but may be viewed through the fence from Strand Beach.

Challenges
Invasive alien plants, such as the black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), as well as dumping, littering, squatting and illegal abstraction of water, are ongoing challenges.

In the lower reaches, the river passes the golf course on its way to the estuary at Strand, where interesting birds may be spotted. Sadly, the river is often cluttered with unsightly rubbish, and the banks are overgrown with thick grass.

ADDRESS: Somerset West to Strand
OPENING HOURS: Not applicable
SIZE: The river is 23 km long.
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic area, hiking trails, birdwatching
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: No formal programme
CONTACT: Tel 021 851 6982; fax 021 851 2148
E-MAIL: helderbergnature.reserve@capetown.gov.za
WEBSITE: www.helderbergnaturereserve.co.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.

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Robben Island World Heritage Site

Robben Island has a rich history, and is most famous for being the prison home of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, for 18 years. This popular tourist destination, which lies 11 km from Cape Town, is an important breeding site for many bird species.

For more information, visit www.robbenisland.org.za, or phone the Robben Island Museum on 021 413 4220/1.

 

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.


 
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