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
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.