Cape Town is one of the most scenic cities in the world, surrounded by beaches, mountains and vineyards. It makes sense then that if you are in the area, you should get out and experience the natural side of Cape Town. However, given the abundance of nature reserves in and around Cape Town, we have selected 3 of the best small nature reserves in Cape Town to get you started.
Silvermine Nature Reserve
Silvermine is a favourite weekend destination among Capetonians. It is a quick 40 minute drive from the city centre and yet a day spent in the reserve will leave you feeling like you’ve been gone for a [particularly relaxing] week.
It forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, which is home to unique fynbos, a series of sandstone caves and of course the Silvermine Dam. The reserve is reached via the Ou Kaapse Weg road and once you’re inside you can adventure along one of the many hiking trails or mountain bike tracks. You can also rock up for a day of picnicking and wallowing in the dam or if you’re very adventurous, take on one of the rock climbing routes.
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Jonkershoek is a 9800 hectare reserve about 9 kilometres from Stellenbosch (in turn a 40 minute drive from Cape Town). It is a protected area in the Jonkershoek Mountains, which are part of the Boland Mountain Range. There are over 1000 plant species in the reserve, many endemic fynbos. Hikers in the reserve are treated to breath-taking views of the Cape Winelands and may encounter any number of mammals from the secretive honey badger or elusive leopard to klipspringer and baboons.
While Jonkershoek is popular for hiking, not everyone is keen on a work out every time they step into nature. The Assegaaibosch reserve is technically a separate reserve but has largely been incorporated into the greater Jonkershoek Reserve. Situated in the lower slopes of the Jonkershoek Mountains the walking trails are much gentler and there are a number of idyllic picnic spots where you can while away a day.
Tygerberg Nature Reserve
This small nature reserve lies in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. Despite being only 309 hectares, it boasts a huge array of plant and animal species. Apart from being home to the critically endangered swartland shale renosterveld vegetation type, it also has 11 plant species endemic to Cape Town and 3 which are endemic to Tygerberg itself.
Tygerberg is ideal for trail running, walking and bird-watching, and is an excellent children’s outing due to the short gentle walking trails and variety of mice and tortoises which are easy to spot. Tygerberg is unique in that it’s wheel-chair friendly and even has a picnic area especially designed to accommodate wheel-chairs., meaning everyone can get a glimpse of the awe-inspiring 360° views of Cape Town.
Cape Town accommodation is extremely popular owing to the combination of city attractions and nature. Both are weighted equally in terms of ‘must do’, so if you are staying at accommodation in Cape Town, make sure you visit at least one of these small nature reserves! And if you’re in Gauteng, make sure you visit one of these small nature reserves.
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