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)
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.