22 Stunning Nature Reserves in the Western Cape
22 Stunning Nature Reserves in the Western Cape
Title Image
22 Stunning Nature Reserves in the Western Cape
Cape Town is known for its natural attractions. Here we review everything you need to know about the top nature reserves: Info, prices, location, activities etc
Title Image

22 Stunning Nature Reserves in the Western Cape

Cape Town is known for its natural attractions. Here we review everything you need to know about the top nature reserves: Info, prices, location, activities etc
Title Image
22 Stunning Nature Reserves in the Western Cape
Cape Town is known for its natural attractions. Here we review everything you need to know about the top nature reserves: Info, prices, location, activities etc

The Western Cape in South Africa boasts an amazing diversity of landscapes, fauna, and flora. To protect and showcase this natural beauty, a number of nature reserves have been established. Read our handy nature reserves guide and see for yourself!

If you're after a more active experience, we've got you covered. These reserves offer a plethora of activities to keep you entertained, and cater to all sorts of preferences - from the most voracious thrill-seekers to the tamest of nature-walkers.

The activities range from hiking and rock climbing to swimming with penguins and surfing. Additionally, there are various overnight options available at these reserves - if you would like to make a weekend of it, that is!

Below, we have listed only the best reserves the Western Cape has to offer.

(Please note: All figures are as of 12 April 2017)

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Within 50 km of Cape Town
Between 50 and 150 km from Cape Town
Further than 150 km from Cape Town

Within 50 km of Cape Town

The best part about living or visiting nature reserves in or around Cape Town is how close the attractions are to the Mother City. A few even fall within city boundaries, making for the perfect opportunities to visit these natural sites even if your time in the Cape is limited.

You can also purchase a Wild Card for a fixed annual fee and get free entrance to national parks; for more information visit the website.

Die Oog Bird Sanctuary

Die Oog: tranquility right on your doorstep
@beachbum_blondie

Nestled within the suburb of Bergvliet, Die Oog is the perfect after-school destination for the little ones. Featuring a deck which overlooks the wetland stretching across to Constantia, the reserve is a tiny piece of greenery just a stone-throw away from the city.

It is abundant with birdlife, housing species such as wild weaver birds, which have built nests in one of the oldest trees on the property. This watering hole also sees migratory ducks and geese, which often settle there to raise their young.

If amphibians are your thing, you’ll like that this reserve is home to the famous, endangered leopard toad; you can hear the croaking all day long. The water almost always teems with life, filled to the brim with tiny freshwater turtles and their aquatic friends!

Things to do:

  • Feeding the ducks and geese
  • Bird-watching
  • Try to spot the tracks of the nocturnal water-mongoose

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Ascot Gardens (self-catering)
  • Paradiso Guesthouse

Cost:

  • Free (A donation box helps to keep the park running)

Where:

  • 16 Midwood Ave, Bergvliet
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Daily: 06:00 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Website: Die Oog
  • Contact: +27 (0)21 712 3510

Table Mountain

Table Mountain: jewel in Cape Town's Crown
@gavman18

The Table Mountain National Park, or TMNP for short, is Cape Town’s pride and joy. The park is a World Heritage Site, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and it offers something for everyone.

There are fauna, flora, beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, and epic views. Whether you are a tourist or a local, there really is no reason not to visit TMNP.

The park is situated within the Mother City and runs from Table Mountain right down to Cape Point. When visiting Table Mountain make sure to go all the way to the summit - those 360° views will leave you gasping for breath, and not because you’ve just trekked to the top.

You can either hike up, or take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway if you are short of time or feeling lazy. The cable-car is free to residents on their birthday; just bring along your ID.

Things to do:

Restaurants nearby:

  • Table Mountain Cafe
  • The Wi-Fi lounge

Accommodation nearby:

  • Overseers Cottage
  • Wash House
  • Visit SANParks to find out more and check availability.

Cost:

  • Cable-car:
    • Adults:
      • Return: R255
      • One-way: R135
    • Kids:
      • Return: R125
      • One-way: R65
    • SA senior citizens:
      • Return: R100
      • One-way: R53
    • Students:
      • Return: R130
      • One-way: R70
  • Tickets can be bought online here, where you may also check if the car will be running, as it operates subject to the weather.

Where:

  • Camps Bay along the coastline to Cape Point.
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Cable-car hours change regularly. Check the times here.
  • The cable-car closes for about ten days annually, for maintenance. Check this year’s dates on the Table Mountain website.

More Info:

Cape of Good Hope

On point as usual: Cape Point
@sudafricaperte

While the Cape of Good Hope lies further out than Table Mountain and its surrounds, it is still part of the Table Mountain National Park.

People often incorrectly credit this reserve as the southernmost tip of Africa, when really this claim to fame belongs to the Cape Agulhas (See later in this article).

Even so, a visit to the Cape of Good Hope is well worth the (approx.) sixty minute drive from Cape Town. Once you’ve entered this Natural World Heritage Site, you forget how close you are to the city, as it has a game park-like feel with free, roaming game.

You can also spot the park's resplendent and varied flora from your car. The area is associated with baboons, so keep your belongings close and properly secure.

A visit to the Cape Point Lighthouse will complete your experience at this reserve. You can either walk up to the lighthouse, or take the cable-ride, aptly named the Flying Dutchman, to the top. Once there, you will be treated to spectacular views.

Things to do:

  • Various walking, biking, and hiking trails
    • Explore old ship wrecks!
  • Take the Flying Dutchman cable-car to the Cape Point Lighthouse
  • Visit the Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama monuments
  • Beaches, swimming, surfing, and tidal pools
  • Take in the views from some of the highest cliffs in the country
  • Explore the legend of Antonie’s Gat (a cave)
  • Birdwatching (1200 species)
  • Whale watching
  • Game viewing
    • buck, zebra, ostrich, tortoises, and lots and lots of baboons
  • Fishing and angling, but you need a My Activity Permit.

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Olifantsbos Guest House
  • Eland and Duiker Cottages
  • For more options, and to book accommodation, visit the SANParks website.

Cost:

  • Cape of Good Hope
    • Adults: R135
    • Kids: R70 (ages 2-11)
  • Flying Dutchman Funicular
    • Adults: R65.00 return; R50.00 single
    • Kids: R25.00 return; R20.00 single (ages 6-16)
  • My Green Card allows the owner free entry into the TMNP 12 times

Where:

  • Cape Point Road, Cape Peninsula
    • 70km from the city centre of Cape Town
    • Google Maps pin here

When:

  • Cape of Good Hope Park
    • October - March: 06:00 - 18:00
    • April - September: 07:00 - 17:00
  • Flying Dutchman Funicular
    • October - March: 09:00 - 17:30
    • April - September: 09:00 - 17:00
  • Two Oceans Restaurant
    • 09:00 - 17:00
  • Curio Stores
    • 09:00 - 17:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 780 9010/11
    • info@capepoint.co.za

Silvermine

Soak in the setting at Silvermine
@barbscole

Situated at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg, Silvermine Nature Reserve covers the plateau of the mountain. Rich in fynbos and an array of wildlife, it is frequented by visitors all year round. A short dirt track off the main road leads you to the gates of the reserve, and from there you can choose your adventure.

The dam is revered by locals, and provides relief from the hot sun. Visitors often jump from the boardwalk straight into the fresh, black lake. The water is a home for a variety of aquatic creatures, so don’t be alarmed when the fish rub up against you.

The boardwalk wraps around the entire dam, making this site wheelchair-friendly, and a beautiful spot for a picnic.

Things to do:

  • Dogs welcome (provided you have a My Activity permit or a Wild Card)
  • Hiking and running trails
    • Explore nearby caves and waterfalls
  • Bird watching
  • Mountain-bike (provided you carry a My Activity permit)
  • Swim in the dam
  • Braai and picnic

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Adults: R40
  • Kids: R20
  • Free if you possess a Wild Card or a My Green Card. Details here.

Where:

  • Near Hout Bay and Constantia area
    • 30km from the centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Winter: 8:00 - 17:00 (April - September)
  • Summer: 7:00 - 18:00 (October - March)

More Info

  • Contact:
  • +27 (0)21 780 9002
  • tablem@sanparks.org

Bracken

Bask in the beauty at Bracken

You might find it hard to believe that this thirty-six hectare nature reserve, home to a variety of fynbos species that are on the verge of becoming extinct, has fulfilled many different functions.

In the 1700s, it was used to signal the arrival of ships for trade. Later, it became a quarry, and then a landfill-site, before it was finally classified as a nature reserve. The vegetation is in the process of being restored.

Only 32 km from the city centre, Bracken Nature Reserve also sustains a range of animal-life. Visitors can look out for a host of birds, such as the peregrine falcon, while enjoying walks and picnics.

Additionally you can view Cape grysbok, small spotted genet, and maybe even the endangered Cape rain frog. There is also a wheelchair-friendly path through the reserve.

Things to do:

  • Picnic
  • Birdwatching
    • Area rich in birdlife
  • Walking trails
    • Wheelchair-friendly
  • Animal-spotting
    • For example grysbok, reptiles, amphibians, and many rodents
  • Running and jogging
  • Fynbos identifying

Restaurants nearby:

  • Da Vinci’s Restaurant and Pub
  • Rio Grande restaurant

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Free

Where:

  • 2 Reservoir St, Brackenfell South, Cape Town
    • 32 km from centre Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Daily: 07:30-16:00

More Info:

De Hoop

Delve into the delights of De Hoop
@hmahabir

Declared a World Heritage Site, De Hoop gives visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in both aquatic and land-based nature. Perfect for family holidays, weddings, and honeymoons, this reserve offers an endless range of activities.

A three hour drive from Cape Town will get you to this reserve and, once there, you won’t know what to do first! Water lovers can snorkel, swim, and identify the plethora of marine species in the area.

For those who have the Jaws theme-song playing on an eternal loop in their heads, there really is plenty to do on solid-ground. Go on game-drives, or explore the bird and whale-spotting trails in the area.

Hundreds of Southern right whales frolic in the waves at De Hoop from June to November every year.

Things to do:

  • Hiking, walking, cycling, and mountain-biking trails
    • Framed by beautiful fynbos
    • Dune walks
  • Stargazing and star identification
  • Bird (260 species) and whale watching
  • Elim Wine Route
  • Spa treatments
  • Boat trips, swimming, and snorkelling
  • Picnics
  • Game drives (86 mammals)
  • Horse-riding
  • Tennis
  • Conference facilities
  • Functions
    • e.g. weddings
    • (up to 250 people)

Restaurants nearby:

  • The Fig Tree (Visitors advised to book in advance, as it is the only restaurant located in the reserve itself)
  • Old Gaol on Church Square
  • Willenes Restaurant
  • The Old Mill Restaurant

Accommodation Nearby:

  • Melkkamer Foremans Cottage
  • Melkkamer Vlei Cottage
  • Melkkamer Manor House
  • Campsite Rondawels
  • Opstal Vlei Cottages
  • De Hoop Village
  • Equipped Cottages
  • For information about accommodation , see this page.

Cost:

  • R40 per person Conservation Fee.
  • Wild Card members enter free.

Where:

  • Overberg District Municipality, 6740
    • 38 km away from centre of Cape Town
    • 3 hour drive from Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Monday - Thursday: 07:00-18:00.
  • Fridays: 07:00-19:00

More Info:

  • Enquiries:
    • +27 (0)28 542 1114/5
    • +27 (0)79 528 3549
  • Whale Trail and permit bookings:
    • +27 (0)21 483 0190

Boulders Beach

Check out these penguin poses at Boulders
@tali_kundel

A small, protected beach nestled in the quiet suburb of Simons Town, Boulders is home to a colony of African penguins. Since only 26 000 of these penguins are left in the world, it is truly a privilege to see them outside of an enclosure.

If that weren’t enough, the powdery, white sand combines with the clear, cool Indian Ocean to produce an idyllic cove, bordered by majestic boulders. There is also a boardwalk where you can observe the penguins in their natural habitat.

Boulders is easily accessible by car and train. Many locals choose this peaceful beach for a day out with the family - soaking in the sun and floating in the water. Pack a picnic, and make a day of it.

Things to do:

  • View penguins and their eggs up-close
  • Enjoy a day at the beach
  • Swim in the (not icy) Indian Ocean
  • Three boardwalks to view the penguins
    • Wheelchair friendly
  • Boulders to climb and jump off
  • Rock pools to explore
  • Boulders Visitors Centre
    • Offers guided tours

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Adults: R70
  • Kids: R35
    • (2-11 years old)
  • Free for Wild Card holders

Where:

  • Kleintuin Rd, Cape Town, 7995
    • 46 km from the city centre of Cape Town
    • Near Simon’s Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Daily:
    • December - January: 7:00 - 9:30
    • February - April: 08:00 - 18:30
    • May - September: 08:00 - 17:00
    • October - November: 08:00 - 18:30

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 786 2329
    • tablem@sanparks.org

False Bay Ecology Park

Fall in love with the fynbos at False Bay
@adeblocq

The False Bay Ecology Park consists of Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Zeekoevlei Nature Reserve, the Cape Flats Wastewater Treatment Works, and the Coast Park Landfill Site. All closely situated within the same confines (1200 hectares), it makes viewing them that much easier.

A long, tar road winds through the park, off which you can turn at many points to various picnic areas. There is an abundance of wildlife, despite its proximity to residential areas. Expect to see hippo, flamingo, pelicans, and many more animals.

There are various tours to educate and introduce people to the idea of sustainability. A working water treatment plant at the park displays one way in which a more reciprocal relationship between humans and nature is possible.

Things to do:

  • Aquarium
  • Guided walks
  • Biodiversity
  • Education centre
    • For school groups
  • Birdwatching
    • Hides and towers
    • 168 species
  • Museum
    • displays of the local mammals and birds
  • Menagerie
    • Reptiles and mammals
  • Conference room
  • Boat trips; sailing and rowing events
  • Fishing and angling
  • Picnics

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Blue Yonder
  • Blue on Blue Bed & Breakfast
  • The Lookout
  • Whale Watchers Luxury Seaside Apartments

Cost:

  • Zeekoevlei:
    • Free except for power boats

Where:

  • Down Old Strandfontein Road
    • Towards Strandfontein
    • Cape Town’s Southern Peninsula
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Rondevlei
    • Monday to Friday: 07:30-17:00
    • Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 - 19:00
      • December - February
    • Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 - 17:00
      • March-November
  • Zeekoevlei
    • Summer:
      • 07:30 - 19:30
    • Winter:
      • 07:30 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Rondevlei Nature Reserve: +27 (0)21 706 2404
    • Zeekoeivlei Yacht Club: +27 (0)21 705 3373
  • Website

Helderberg

Hide in the haven of heavenly Helderberg
@lexikondi

Located across the southern region of Helderberg Mountain in Somerset West, this reserve stretches 398 acres, boasts 600 plant types, and is famous for its proteas.

It is also home to leopards, Cape grysbok, steenbok, and more.

There’s lots to keep you occupied in this beautiful reserve. It is an established picnic spot, and hosts open-air music concerts during summer.

Learn about fauna and flora identification at the plant herbarium, indigenous plant nursery, and resource centre.

Things to do:

  • Walking and hiking trails
  • Picnic area
  • Outdoor summer concerts
  • Bird watching
  • Animal spotting
  • Explore fynbos, soil-types, and rock formations
  • Visitor Centre and gift shop
  • Indigenous plant nursery
  • Resource centre for school projects
  • Plant herbarium
  • Alien vegetation hacks

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Vehicles: R10
  • Adults: R20
  • Kids: R10
    • (3-18 years)
  • Toddlers: Free
    • (up to 3 years)
  • Students: R10
    • Student cards
  • Senior citizens: R10
    • 60+ years

Where:

  • Verster Avenue, Somerset West, 7135
    • 50km from the city centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • 1 December - 28 February: 07:30 - 20:00
  • 1 April - 31 October: 07:30 - 17:30
  • March and November: 07:30 - 19:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • General enquiries:
      • +27 (0)21 444 9744
    • Visitor centre:
      • +27 (0)21 851 4060
      • +27 (0)71 359 4139
  • Website

Between 50 and 150 km from Cape Town

If there's time to head out a little further from the city, you’ll have access to more nature reserves that enhance the Western Cape.

Since it takes a bit longer to get to these destinations, we recommend a full day (at least) to enjoy all that these parks have to offer.

Jonkershoek

Take to the hills at Jonkershoek
@robertspangey

This reserve stretches 9800 hectares, and encompasses the majestic Jonkershoek Mountains. Within is a smaller reserve, Assegaaibosch. Visitors can explore both World Heritage Sites.

Jonkershoek is perfect for nature-lovers and hikers. With more than 1100 plant types, and diverse animal and bird life, there is plenty to see.

You might spot klipspringer, common duiker, grysbok, or grey rhebuck. Just tread carefully - this reserve is home to some of Cape Town’s most dangerous snakes.

Things to do:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming at the dam
  • Picnic area
  • Mountain biking and cycling
  • Birdwatching
  • Exploring the fauna and flora
  • Game viewing

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Conservation Fee
    • Adults: R40
    • Kids: R20 (3-12 years)
  • Mountain-biking
    • R25 per person
  • Hiking
    • R30 per person

Where:

  • Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch, 7600
    • 62 km from Cape Town city centre
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Gate:
    • April - October (08:00 - 18:00)
    • November - March (08:00 - 19:00)
  • Reception hours
    • Daily: 07:00 - 16:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Office:
      • +27 (0)21 866 1560
    • Emergency:
      • +27 (0)82 467 0405

West Coast

Wade in the wonderful water at the West Coast
@jules_dasilva

This spectacular nature reserve borders the crystal-clear waters of Langebaan Lagoon, and is near the Saldanha Bay Harbour.

The reserve lies 98 km from Cape Town, and boasts an impressive diversity of wildlife.

During spring, the multi-coloured flowers bursts into bloom across the reserve, as far as the eye can see. If you think the fun ends here, however, you’d be more wrong than pineapple on pizza. Expect activities ranging from kayaking to biking and hiking, to birdwatching or even swimming in the lagoon's azure waters, this reserve has everything you need and more! Don't miss it!

Things to do:

  • Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and walking trails
    • Different difficulty levels
  • Kayaking, kiteboarding and other water sports
  • Bird watching
    • four different bird hides
  • Picnic and braai facilities
  • Whale watching
    • August and September
    • Tsaarbank area of the reserve.
  • Cars and motorbikes allowed
  • View game and other small animals
    • e.g. foxes, zebra, and springbok, bontebok, and a variety of other buck
  • Fynbos and plant-life
  • Eve’s Footprint and Trail
    • (2.5 day route)
  • Flower season

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation Nearby:

  • Camp
  • Cottage self catering
  • Chalet self catering
  • Dormitory
  • Floating chalet

Cost:

  • Outside flower season per day; October to July:
    • South African Citizens with ID:
      • Adults: R50
      • Kids: R25
    • Standard:
      • Adults: R75
      • Kids: R37
  • In Flower Season per day; August & September
    • South African Citizens with ID:
      • Adults: R70
      • Kids: R35
    • SADC Nationals with passport
      • Adults: R100
      • Kids: R50
    • Standard
      • Adults: R150
      • Kids: R75
      • Tariff for 1 day

Where:

  • West Coast Road; close to Langebaan
    • 98 km from the city centre of Cape Town
    • 1.5 hours from Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • 1 September - 31 March:
    • 07:00 - 19:00
  • 1 April - 31 August:
    • 07:00 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Phone:
    • +27 (0)12 428 9111

Kogelberg

Meet the majestic mountains of Kogelberg
@zana.peric

Abundant in fynbos, this 100 000 hectare reserve is largely undisturbed. In line with the park’s conservation-mission, many eco-friendly activities can be enjoyed.

Spend hours marvelling at the unspoiled grandeur of Kogelberg’s wildlife, or splash around by kayaking, tubing or swimming. There are also excellent bird and whale watching spots.

A visit to Kogelberg, which has been awarded ECO Certification by Ecotourism, is a great way to honour and enjoy nature simultaneously.

Things to do:

  • Sightseeing
  • Bird watching and whale watching
  • Walking, hiking, mountain biking & cycling trails
  • Canoeing, kayaking, tubing, swimming, and river-rafting
  • Spotting small game
    • You might even see wild horses!

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Adults: R40
  • Kids: R20
  • Group activities: from R25

Where:

  • Take the R44, and a sign will guide you onto a dirt road before Kleinmond.
    • 110km from the city centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Office hours: 07:30 - 16:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Office: +27 (0)28 271 5138
    • Emergency: +27 (0)28 271 5138
    • Accommodation and permit bookings: +27 (0)21 483 0190
    • kogelbrg@mweb.co.za

Further than 150 km from Cape Town

It takes more time and petrol to reach these reserves, but (trust us) it’s worth it. Since the journey is longer, we recommend you stay a few days.

So pack a bag (don’t forget the sunscreen), load the family into the car, and enjoy the scenic drive to the nature reserve of your choice outside Cape Town’s parameters.

Walker Bay

Wander along the pristine coast of Walker Bay
@travelboo

An Eden for the whale-spotter, Walker Bay is a coastal gem near Hermanus. Annually, copious southern right whales populate the bay to birth their calves. Likewise, this reserve offers some of the finest whale-watching views around.

The area is also an important site in the history of humankind at the Cape. Explore Klipgat Cave, in which Homo-sapiens dwelt more than 65 000 years ago.

Walker Bay is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, while taking in the history of human life in the area.

Things to do:

  • Explore Klipgat Cave
  • Whale and dolphin watching
  • Hiking
  • Birdwatching
  • Recreational fishing
  • Swimming
  • 4x4 fishing trail
  • Angling
  • Picnic spots

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Adults: R40
  • Kids: R20
  • Group activities: from R40

Where:

  • 16 17th ave, Walker Bay, Hermanus, 7200
    • 160 km from the city center of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Daily: 07:00 - 19:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Enquiries:
      • +27 (0)28 314 0062
    • Accommodation and permit bookings:
      • +27 (0)21 483 0190

Cape Columbine

Cruise along the cliffs of Cape Columbine
@andyyross

Cape Columbine rests approximately 5km from Paternoster. An area of exceptional beauty, it flourishes most during spring when it is blanketed in multi-coloured wild flowers, which are sure to set Instagrammers’ hearts a-racing.

Besides for offering fun activities, Cape Columbine boasts the last manually operated lighthouse built in the country.

Another highlight is beach camping, where you can fall asleep to the hypnotic sounds of the waves.

Things to do:

  • Hiking
    • Five day trail
  • Angling
  • Bird watching
  • Kayaking and diving
  • Two beach campsites
  • Horse riding
  • Stone Fish Studio and Gallery
  • Explore the flora

Restaurants nearby:

  • Noisy Oyster
  • Gaaitjie Restaurant
  • Reuben's
  • The Square Spoon

Accommodation nearby:

  • Tietiesbaai Rest Camp
  • Sea Shack
  • Strandloper Ocean Beach Hotel

Cost:

  • Admission into reserve:
    • Adults: R13
    • Kids: R9
  • Lighthouse tower:
    • Adults: R16
    • Kids: R8

Where:

  • Tietiesbaai
    • 166 km from the city centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here

When:

  • Reserve:
    • Daily: 07:00 - 19:00
  • Lighthouse tower:
    • Monday to Friday: 10:00 - 15:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Lighthouse: +27 (0)22 752 2705
    • Resort: +27 (0)22 752 2718

Cederberg Wilderness Area

Get seduced by the Cederberg's special scenery
@hennieodendal

This World Heritage Site has a different quality to other reserves in and around Cape Town. While the Cederberg Wilderness is only a three hour drive from the Mother City, being there will make you second guess your location.

Surrounded by the red and orange-stained cliffs of Cederberg Mountains, exquisite fynbos, and the vast, open reserve, visitors will be humbled by the sights.

A great spot for rock climbing, identifying fynbos, like the laurel protea, and for spotting game, the Cederberg Wilderness is a great way to immerse yourself in the grand outdoors.

Things to do:

  • Hiking, walking, and mountain biking trails
    • (day or overnight)
  • Rock climbing
  • Donkey cart rides
  • Swimming
  • Spot game
    • try to spot leopard!
  • Bird watching
  • Camping facilities
  • San and Khoi rock art
  • Rock formations
  • Seasonal flowers
  • Visit the Rooibos Tea Factory

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Algeria Campsite
    • 48 sites with power, braai, and water facilities
  • Kliphuis Campsite
    • 14 sites with warm water facilities
  • 13 Self catering units
  • 6 luxury chalets
    • Maltese Cross
    • Wolfberg Arch
    • Klipspringer
    • Grey Rhebok
    • Cedar
    • Waterfall

Cost:

  • Adults: R60
  • Kids: R35
  • Group activities from R60

Where:

  • Google Maps pin here.
  • 30 km from Clanwilliam (closest town)
    • 188km from the city centre of Cape Town

When:

  • Office hours:
    • Daily: 07:30 - 19:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)83 468 8030
    • (0)861 2273 628 873
    • chrtrails@gmail.com

Bontebok National Park

Breathe in the beauty of Bontebok
@martinesaffy

If you’re looking for serenity, but want to engage in exciting activities, Bontebok is for you. Located along the Breede River, this national park is brimming with colourful fynbos.

A leading example in conservation, Bontebok boasts a variety of birds, plant-life and game. Before the reserve rescued bontebok from extinction, only 17 existed. Now there are 3000.

Bontebok is the nature-lover’s perfect destination.

Things to do:

  • Walking, mountain biking, and hiking trails
  • Picnic and braai facilities at Die Stroom
  • Camping
  • Game viewing self-drives (bontebok and more)
  • Bird watching
  • Identifying flora
  • Swimming in and canoeing and kayaking on the Breede River
  • Stanley’s Bustard

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp
    • Chalets
    • Universal Access Chalets
    • Camping
  • Appelbosch Guest House
  • Flametree Guesthouse

Cost:

  • South African citizens per day with ID
    • Adults: R37
    • Kids: R18
  • SADC Nationals passport per day
    • Adults: R50
    • Kids: R25
  • Standard Conservation per day
    • Adults: R100
    • Kids: R50

Where:

  • Swellendam, 6740
    • 230 km from the city centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • 1 October - 30 April:
    • 07:00 - 19:00
  • 1 May - 30 September:
    • 07:00 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)28 514 2735

Cape Agulhas National Park

Cavort around the captivating Cape Agulhas
@shotleft

The spot where the the Atlantic and Indian oceans converge, as well as the Southernmost tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas is a special place to visit.

There’s also beautiful fynbos, the Elim Wine Route, and great hiking trails to explore.

Don’t forget to visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, the second oldest one still functioning in the country, as well as the third to be constructed.

Other museums include the Shipwreck and the Elim Heritage Centre. For spectacular views all over the park, Cape Agulhas is a must.

Things to do:

  • The actual southernmost point of Africa, and the meeting of the two oceans
    • a plaque indicates the actual spot.
  • Visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
    • Built in 1848; the third constructed in SA.
  • Go wine tasting along the country’s southernmost wine-producing region: the Elim Wine Route.
  • Bird watching
  • Whale watching
    • (August and September)
  • Diving and scuba diving
  • Fishing and angling
  • Braai and picnic
  • Hiking trails
    • Two Oceans Trail
    • Rasperpunt Trail
    • Spookdraai Trail
  • Take part in the annual Foot of Africa Marathon
  • Visit various museums:
    • The Shipwreck Museum
    • Elim Heritage Centre
    • Lighthouse Museum
  • Fynbos varieties

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Agulhas Rest Camp
    • Chalets
    • Lagoon House
  • Rhenosterkop Guest Cottages
  • Bergplaas Guest House
  • Rietfontein Guest Cottages

Cost:

  • South African citizens per day with ID
    • Adults: R37
    • Kids: R18
  • SADC Nationals passport per day
    • Adults: R47
    • Kids: R37
  • Standard Conservation per day
    • Adults: R148
    • Children: R74

Where:

  • 214 Main Rd, Agulhas, Bredasdorp, 7287
    • 225 km from the centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Daily: 07:00-19:00
  • Guests staying in the park can arrange alternative hours (but before 22:00) with Reception

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)28 435 6078
    • agulhasinfo@sanparks.org

Tankwa National Park

Traverse through the tranquility of Tankwa
@lifewithmarshall

Established as a national park in 1986, Tankwa has grown from approximately 27 000 hectares to more than 146 000 hectares.

This park is unique in that it integrates three separate ecosystems: grasslands, mountains, and desert. This setting makes for an incredible experience.

Go bird watching, spot game, take in the views, stargaze, explore the fynbos, and even build a snowman if there's snowfall. This impressive park is a treat to experience, so set off and enjoy the views of a lifetime!

Things to do:

  • Bird watching
  • Flower season
  • 4x4 trails
    • Leeuberg Trail
    • Watervlei Trail
  • Star gazing
  • Walks and trails
  • Cycling
  • Panoramic views
  • Play in the snow that sometimes falls in the Gannaga area of the park.
  • Self-drive game spotting (zebra, gembok, red hartebeest, springbok, eland and more)
  • Take in the fynbos

Restaurants and Accommodation Nearby:

Cost:

  • South African citizens and residents per day with ID
    • Adults: R37.00
    • Children: R18.00
  • SADC Nationals passport per day
    • Adults: R68.00
    • Children: R34.00
  • Standard Conservation per day
    • Adults: R136.00
    • Children: R68.00

Where:

  • 322 Km from the city centre of Cape Town
  • S 32° 14’ 27.9” E 20° 5’ 44.5”
  • Borders Northern Cape
  • R355, Calvinia, 8190

When:

  • 1 October - 31 March
    • 5:30 - 19:00
  • 1 April - 30 September
    • 06:30 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Phone:
    • +27 (0)27 341 1927

The Garden Route National Park

Encompassing the Wilderness, Knysna and Tsitsikamma National Parks, the Garden Route is a magnificent park that runs along the South Coast of the country.

Each of the three reserves are magnificent in their own right, so don’t ask us which is our favourite - it’s impossible to choose in an area as glorious as this one!

Wilderness National Park

awake in the whimsical world of the Wilderness
@wanderlust_sk

The Wilderness contains a range of intersecting rivers, beaches, lakes, estuaries, forests, and mountains. A environmentally diverse area, the park is particularly lush in spring.

Located between George and Knysna, the Wilderness has that ‘middle of nowhere’ feeling, while lying close enough to civilisation that you can drive out to buy a KitKat if the craving gets too strong.

Enjoy water sports, mountain and fitness excursions, or take in the fauna and flora in this beautiful park.

Things to do:

  • Hiking and abseiling
  • Canoeing, boating, swimming, fishing
  • Mountain biking
  • Bird watching (bird hides)
  • Paragliding
  • Dolphin and whale spotting
  • Explore rivers, lakes, and beaches
  • Flower season
  • Three forest zones
  • Star gazing

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

  • Boardwalk Lodge
  • Caravaning
  • Camping
  • Ebb and Flow Rest Camp
  • Log cabins

Cost:

  • South African citizens per day with ID
    • Adults: R37
    • Kids: R18
  • SADC Nationals passport per day
    • Adults: R74
    • Kids: R37
  • Standard Conservation per day
    • Adults: R120
    • Kids: R60

Where:

  • Dumbleton Road, Hoekville, Wilderness, 6560
    • 440 km from the city centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • Daily: 07:00 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Contact
    • Reception 24 hours:
      • +27 (0)44 877 0046
    • Farleigh Forest:
      • +27 (0)44 356 9021
    • enquiries.wilderness@sanparks.org

Knysna National Lake Area

Navigate the nuances of Knysna
@purdy37

Home to a tidal lagoon that eventually feeds into the Indian Ocean, the Knysna National Lake Area is enclosed by the Knysna heads - two stunning cliffs covered in flora.

These majestic scenes are perfect for picnics, walks and hikes, horse riding, or on-the-lagoon activities.

Visitors shouldn't miss the nearby elephant sanctuary. The town of Knysna itself is filled with fun places to go like markets, festivals, and golf courses.

Things to do:

  • Lake cruises, kayaking, water sports, fishing, boating,
  • Golf
  • Walking, hiking, and biking trails
    • Outeniqua Hiking Trail
  • Bird watching
  • Markets, festivals, and sporting events in the larger Knysna area
  • Elephant sanctuaries
    • Elephant walks
  • Horse riding
  • Picnic
  • Forests
    • Harkerville
    • Goudveld
    • Diepwalle and Gouna
  • The Forest Legends Museum
  • Visit the Big Tree (AKA the King Edward VII Tree)
  • Fauna and flora spotting
    • Knysna sea horse
    • Knysna dwarf chameleon

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • South African citizens per day with ID:
    • Adults: R30
    • Kids: R15
  • SADC Nationals passport per day:
    • Adults: R60
    • Kids: R30
  • Standard Conservation per day:
    • Adults: R120
    • Kids: R60

Where:

  • 23 km on the N2 from Knysna into Uniondale Road (R339) to Diepwalle
    • Camping sites and guest house
    • 500 km from city centre of Cape Town
  • Google Maps pin here.

When:

  • NA

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Thesen Island:
      • +27 (0)44 302 5600
    • Harkerville Forest:
      • +27 (0)44 382 2095
    • Diepwalle Forest:
      • +27(0)44 532 7770

Tsitsikamma

There's nothing trivial about the Tsitsikamma
@paigeclaassen

Since 1964 when it was established as a national park, Tsitsikamma has delighted visitors with its various hiking trails, diverse fynbos, and scenic views.

The park has two main camps in which you can stay: Storms River (The well-known Storm River Suspension Bridge traverses the river mouth) and Nature’s Valley. Both are exquisite.

With a range of activities for both thrill-seekers and the less adventurous, Tsitsikamma is a wonderful getaway.

Enjoy sailing, tubing, snorkelling, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, and even bungy jumping, if you feel like getting your blood pumping.

Otherwise, go bird watching, fynbos spotting, or head to the Fynboshoek Cheese Making Workshop for a delightful, dairy-filled experience.

Things to do:

  • Hiking, walking, and mountain biking trails
    • Dolphin Trail
    • Otter Trail
  • Forest excursions
  • Bird watching
  • Water activities, sailing, snorkelling, kayaking, diving, tubing
  • Climbing and abseiling
  • Segway Tours
  • Canopy Tour
  • Bloukrans Bungy jumping
  • Horse-drawn carriage trail
  • Fynboshoek Cheese Making Workshop

Restaurants nearby:

Accommodation nearby:

Cost:

  • Tsitsikamma Section:
    • South African citizens per day with ID
      • Adults: R49
      • Kids: R24
    • SADC Nationals passport per day
      • Adults: R98
      • Kids: R49
    • Standard Conservation per day
      • Adults: R196
      • Kids: R98
  • Nature’s Valley Section:
    • South African citizens per day with ID and
    • SADC Nationals passport per day
      • Adults: R44
      • Kids: R22
    • Standard Conservation per day
      • Adults: R88
      • Kids: R44

Where:

  • Dumbleton road, Wilderness, 6560
    • 615 km from city centre of Cape Town
  • Nature’s Valley:
  • Storms River:

When:

  • Storms River Mouth Rest Camp:
    • 06:00 - 22:00
  • Nature’s Valley Rest Camp
    • 07:00 - 18:00

More Info:

  • Contact:
    • Storms River Mouth:
      • +27 (0)42 281 1607
    • Tsitsikamma Forest:
      • +27 (0)42 281 1557
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