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
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.