Southern Right Whales flock to the bays of De Hoop Nature Reserve to nurture their young. Bontebok – an endangered species – graze De Hoop’s lands in surprisingly large numbers. Eland and Cape Mountain Zebra are at home in the reserve too, along with ostriches, the scurrying yellow mongoose, a variety of other mammals and a large array of birds. Hugging the coastline east of Bredasdorp, De Hoop is a paradise of marine reserve, milk-white sand dunes and vlei. It’s one of the largest protected marine areas in the whole of Africa. … Read More
World Heritage Site status is probably enough of a reason to go and visit this 36 000 hectare utopia, but let’s also name a few of De Hoop’s specific drawcards: … Read More
The West Coast National Park is a place of exceptional beauty. Rugged, rock-studded shorelines, snow-white dunes, the turquoise waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, lots of coastal fynbos and densely-woven carpets of pretty flowers in springtime – the park has an abundance of scenery, and is home to scores of birds and animals. … Read More
Visit the mission village of Wupperthal, walk in the mountains and explore the ancient San rock art. Swim in the natural rock pools and breathe the deep peace of this area. In the Biedouw valley and towards the coast, the wild spring flowers are a spectacular sight in August and early September.
The Cederberg is one of the best areas for rock art in the World, with 2 500 discovered sites. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat offers fantastic guided walking trails to some of the ancient rock paintings of the San people (they also offer outstanding five-star accommodation, a divine health spa and loads of nature activities). Viewing these rock art sites – a kind of ancient-day Facebook, one can almost feel the flow of life of these first inhabitants of the Cape.
The Sevilla Rock Art Trail is on Travellers Rest farm about 40 minutes drive from Clanwilliam over the Pakhuis Pass. Buy a permit at the farm of Haffie Strauss before taking the trail.
At Rocklands you can take the donkey cart ride to Heuningvlei. It begins at the top of the Pakhuis Pass (where you leave your car) and takes two-and-a-half hours to Heuningvlei. Opt for a shorter ride part of the way if you prefer.
In Clanwilliam, be sure to stop awhile at Nancy’s Tea Room for lunch or tea. Clanwilliam is one of the ten oldest towns in South Africa. The area cultivates Rooibos tea, citrus fruits, table grapes and vegies. The citrus orchards can be seen along the Oliphants Valley from Citrusdal to Clanwilliam.
All in all, the Cederberg is leisure-seeker’s paradise. The sights are utterly amazing and allow for a jam-packed itinerary of absolute visual splendour! Get more info from our Getaway Consultants.
Staying in Cape Town? And wanting to get out on the mountain without making a marathon effort? Here’s a wonderful walk that will bring you all the beauty of the Silvermine Nature Reserve (part of the Table Mountain National Park) without causing undue wear and tear.
The River Walk in Silvermine is an easy and very scenic walk that comes highly recommended. Allow about an hour there and another hour back, and be sure to give yourself some time to refresh and picnic up at the reservoir. The “dam” as locals call it, is a favourite picnic spot for Capetonians and it can also be accessed more directly by car if you’re not in the mood for walking, or if ou’re planning a picnic that needs the whole kitchen sink. (Speaking of which, our walking companions on Saturday entertained us with a story about a picnic-lunch they were enjoying recently beside said dam, enhanced with a glass of good wine – a very Capetonian thing – when a child frollicked by and remarked appreciatively to his parents, “Hey look, those people are having a bar-lunch”.)
Getting back to the walk, you enter the reserve from Ou Kaapse Weg on the reservoir side. Have some cash handy to pay the entrance fee. Leave your car in the parking lot to the left just beyond the entrance to access the start of the River Walk. There’s a signboard that marks it quite clearly.
So off you go, to enjoy a couple of wonderful hours ambling alongside a gurgling river, and making your way through some beautiful corridors of indigenous fynbos. The Silvermine Reserve, incidentally, is an important conservation area for the Cape’s unique fynbos.
Right now, the reserve is abloom with colourful spikes of Watsonia, there to greet you right at the start of the walk. Higher up, we saw lots of buds of King Protea – the promise of great blooms to come of South Africa’s national flower. Also called the Giant Protea, this species produces blooms that can reach up to 300mm in diameter. We also saw some beautiful fiery Mountain Dahlias, and what is probably the last of this season’s Pincushion Proteas, great attracters of birds – especially the brightly painted Sunbird. The yellow variety of Pincushion is particularly plentiful this year.
Silvermine Nature Reserve is one of Cape Town’s most stunning natural assets, and the River Walk is just one way of enjoying this reserve. Superb accommodation options nearby include Steenberg Hotel and Glen Avon Lodge in the wine-yielding Constantia Valley, and Colona Castle Manor House on the False Bay coastline.