Around the corner from Stellenbosch you will find the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve surrounded by the astounding Jonkershoek Mountains, which also form part of the Boland mountain range. There is a plethora of hikes and kloofs to explore in the midst of staggeringly beautiful forests.
Four key rivers spring up and begin their descent from these mountains (the Eerste, Berg, Lourens, and Riviersonderend rivers), and wind their way through the rugged Jonkershoek terrain. You can also explore Assegaaibosch, another area within the reserve, which is slightly less taxing and more suited for a pleasurable little stroll and picnic.
Depending on the time of day and year, you may be lucky enough to see a variety of wildlife that includes the jackal buzzard, ground woodpecker, Cape sugarbird, orange-breasted sunbird, Cape bulbul and protea seedeater, the southern boubou, fiscal flycatcher, Cape robin-chat and forest canary. Also, keep an eye out for the Cape honey badger, baboons, klipspringer, mongoose and Cape mountain leopard.
Home to an amazing abundance of bird life (and even Hippos!) the False Bay Ecology Park and Rondevlei Bird Sanctuary has been seeing a steady increase in local fauna since the 1950’s.
Often referred to as a “lung” for the city, these wetlands disproportionately contain a large number of local bird species and are an oasis for birdwatchers (named one of the top five bird watching areas in South Africa by Getaway magazine). 168 species of bird have been recorded here, seventy-six of which are freshwater wetland species, and eighteen coastal species that roost and breed here. There is even a breeding colony of sacred ibis, that is easily visible from one of the many viewing hides.
Boat trips, a small strip of beach, an aquarium and a museum round off the experience, this is a beautiful spot to experience and enjoy, stow away the Twitter and listen to some real bird song :-)
Silvermine Nature Reserve is a hop, skip and a jump from the center of Cape Town and offers the gorgeous experience and views of driving up the Ou Kaapse Weg pass. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Tygerberg Hills, across False Bay, with Table bay in the distance and Table Mountain running along the side.
Silvermine offers the benefit of being able to "get away from it all" in a surprisingly short amount of time, it's as if the surrounding landscape and babbling brooks swallow you up and quickly drown out the traffic sounds as you venture deeper into nature.
There are picnic areas and designated braai spots (grilling/bbq pits) and if you are feeling adventurous, some caving and rock climbing to be done.
You can scale your activity according to your ability, so there really is something for everyone. Remember your sunscreen and hats, some of the Cape Fynbos is quite low and doesn’t provide much shade.
Where: Table Mountain National Park, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve)
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” - William Shakespeare
Cape Town and the Western Cape is home to the smallest Floral Kingdom in the world, natural beauty and variety abounds at every turn. This week we’ll look at some of the natural wonders on offer in our beautiful city.