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Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South Africa

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaWhy travel to South Africa? South Africa is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan country of enormous diversity and endless tourism attractions.

The ‘Rainbow Nation’ offers a unique brand of safari – where else could you tick off the Big Seven - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, great white shark and the southern right whale - a baleen whale, one of three species classified as right whales belonging to the genus Eubalaena.

Observing all these as you enjoy internationally acclaimed gourmet food before ending the day sipping award winning local wines on a sunny beach?

The range of accommodations in South Africa is as varied as the landscapes, from remote bush lodges to boutique city hotels, rambling country guesthouses to authentic old wine estates, and everything in-between.

Getting around is easy and inexpensive. Currently South Africa has a sophisticated transport infrastructure, with good quality roads and clear signage.

South Africa really is an eclectic blend of bush, beach and fine dining and should always be on top of any travel bucket list.

When to go to South Africa? The range of choices offered means that South Africa delivers a great holiday throughout the year.

The coastal areas of Cape Town and the Garden Route are arguably best during the warm summer months of September to March whereas the inland bushveld destinations (Kruger, Madikwe and Tswalu) offer the best safari game viewing opportunities during the dry winter and early summer months of April to October.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaIt is then that visibility in the bush is at its best and the animals gather predictably near limited water sources.

For those seeking a blend of wildlife, food, wine and beach we advise the summer months of November to March in the coastal areas that have nearby wildlife reserves.

For the more serious bush affecionado we suggest going on a South African safari inland during the winter and early summer months of April to October.

That said, both the coastal and inland bush areas offer attractive ‘green season’ rates for those whom wish to get a good deal.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a great place to begin when you want to see nature at its finest.

The Kogelberg is a range of mountains along the False Bay coast in the Western Cape of South Africa that form part of the Cape Fold Belt, starting south of the Elgin Valley and forming a steep coastal range as far as Kleinmond.

The Kogelberg area has the steepest and highest drop directly into the ocean of any southern African coastal stretch.

The mountains in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve are made predominantly of Table Mountain Sandstone and form some very rugged terrain, which is extremely rich in fynbos, the native Cape flora.

The Elgin Valley's surrounding mountain ranges are considered the hub of the Cape floral kingdom. They contain more plant species than anywhere else in the floral region, and a large section of the mountain range is now protected in the massive Kogelberg Nature Reserve.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaKogelberg Nature Reserve is a nature reserve of 3,000 hectare or 7,400 acres comprising the Kogelberg Mountain Range, to the east of Cape Town, South Africa.

With about 1600 plant species, it contains a floral diversity per unit area that is greater than anywhere else in the world. The unique local vegetation type is classified as Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos.

Located in the Kogelberg Mountains, along the mountainous coast on the eastern edge of Cape Town, this 3,000 hectare or 7,400-acre nature reserve protects a significant portion of Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos.

Among the enormous range of plants in this local vegetation type are hundreds of species of Erica, a wide range of Protea species and a great many plant families which are endemic.

The Kogelberg mountains are known as the heart of the Fynbos, and have a floral diversity per unit area that is greater than anywhere else in the world.

In addition to its unique mountain fynbos, other ecosystems include wetlands, as well as the riparian vegetation of the Palmiet River, which is the most untouched in the south western Cape and are home to forests of indigenous trees such as Wild Almond, Butter-spoon, Rapanea and Yellowwoods.

Shady montane forests exist in several spots - like Louwsbos, Platbos and Oudebos - where relic Southern Afrotemperate Forests grow in the ravines and river valleys.

The aboriginal inhabitants of the Kogelberg mountains were the San hunter-gatherers and the Khoi herders, whose shell-middens and burial areas can still be found there.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaDuring the early colonial era, explorers occasionally penetrated the mountains and reported on the area's unusual beauty and teeming wildlife, however no permanent settlements were made, as the landscape was considered far too extreme and inaccessible for farming.

The Kogelberg region therefore remained almost pristine. In the early 19th century the whole area was designated "Crown Land" by the government of the Cape Colony, and over a hundred years later, in 1935, the rugged area finally became accessible, when a road was built.

This brought about rapid change, as the Department of Forestry took over the region in 1937 and declared its intention of using the area for state owned and operated timber plantations.

The idea of turning the region into a nature reserve was first brought up by local landowner, Harry Molteno, who put the proposal to his Cape Tercentenary Foundation board on the 18th April 1951.

A passionate fynbos enthusiast, he advocated for this vast stretch of mountain range to be returned to its natural state, for which he secured the vital support of the Cape Western Conservancy and Professor Harold Compton of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Later in the decade, his dream was finally realised when his financial grant secured the establishment of the Kogelberg preserve, comprising the land lying south of the N2 and west of the Palmiet River - with necessary infrastructure, fencing and biological surveys.

In 1987, this conservation area was transferred to Cape Nature Conservation, and formally became a nature reserve by the more specific standards of that body.

Later developments include the construction of new visitors facilities in 2012, as well as the steady expansion of the surrounding "biosphere reserve".

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaThe 1,000 square kilometre or 390 square mile Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve incorporates the nature reserve as part of its "core conservation area".

As such, the nature reserve is surrounded by buffer zones of natural vegetation and environmentally friendly recreational areas, as well as transitional zones of environmentally aware farms and towns.

The Kogelberg Nature Reserve itself, as the core conservation area, is exceptionally untouched. In fact, the mountain slopes are closed to the public and strictly protected. However, there is a portion that is open for hiking, along the valleys and waterfalls of the Steenbras River Gorge.

The R44 road is a well-known scenic road that skirts the mountainous coast of the Kogelberg reserve. Whales and dolphins can also regularly be observed from this road.

At Pringle Bay near Cape Hangklip on the Kogelberg coast the climate is Mediterranean, however much milder than average, due to constant maritime winds blowing off the South Atlantic Ocean.

Winters are wet to very wet and cool, with summers being dry, warm and windy. Snow occasionally occurs on the highest peaks. The area is protected within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and comprises a core area of 103,629 hectares of protected land. The highest mountain is Koeëlberg (Afrikaans: Bullet Mountain) rising to 1289 meters above Koeël Bay.

The R44 route is a scenic ocean drive that follows this section of coastline and the towns and villages in this region include: Rooiels, Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay, Kleinmond and Grabouw.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaKogelberg Hike Overview

The Kogelberg Hike offers 5 Kogelberg guided day hikes, and 2 overnight trails – guided or unguided.

So the Kogelberg Biosphere encompasses the entire coastal area from Gordon’s Bay to the Bot River vlei, and inland to Grabouw and the Groenland Mountain.

Kogelberg is just an hour’s drive from Cape Town and the area is famous for its floral wealth. The 100,000 hectare Nature Reserve boasts in excess of 1800 plant species so many spectacular members of the Protea family, some plants are only found in the Kogelberg and nowhere else on earth.

This including the Marsh Rose that occurs here in Kogelberg biosphere. It also has 3 patches of relic indigenous forest, Louwsbos, Platbos and Oudebos.

Similar to the Knysna forests, they include yellowwood, stinkwood and boekenhout trees. The Kogelberg is a rugged environment and the hikes are generally challenging and quite difficult, but one feels satisfied with ‘a good hike under the belt’ at the end of the day.

The Palmiet River and its associated vegetation is the most pristine in the south-western Cape. Wild almond, rooi-els, yellowwood and cape beech are among the trees occurring in the riverine scrub.

The Kogelberg Hike is in the UNESCO World Heritage site which now boasts stunning Eco cottages that can be hired for overnight trails.

Guided hikes or walks offer so much more: Guides Ralph and Gill live in Hermanus so they have local knowledge and they are registered FGASA and Tourist guides with a wealth of knowledge to make the most of your hike.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve - South AfricaWhat you’ll get? On the Kogelberg Hike view dramatic sea vistas of white sand beaches & wild rocky shores, combined with pristine rolling mountains rich in fauna & flora. This place is a nature-lover’s dream.

While on your Kogelberg Hike you can visit some of these other interesting sights in the area.

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
A world renown garden showcasing 4 vegetation types and home to over 60 bird species as well as other wildlife such as porcupine, genet, mongoose, otter, and dassies (hyrax).

Stoney Point Penguin Colony
Very close to the Kogelberg Hike is one of the few breeding grounds of the African (Jackass) penguins, set alongside the ruins of the old whaling station. Best time to visit is late afternoon.

Please provide the following items for your walk or hike

  • Day pack
  • Hat or cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Suitable hiking/walking boots or shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Binoculars/camera
  • Medication if required

Booking Contact:www.africansunroad.com

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