Koeberg Nature Reserve near Blouberg, Cape Town, By Tracey Obery
The Reserve measures roughly 3,000 hectares of Eskom property, and was proclaimed as a nature reserve in 1991. It was established to protect and conserve the local flora and fauna, and it also acts as an educational center for young and old.
The reserve plays a pivotal role in the conservation of the area, especially since the development of industries and residential properties along the West Coast. Within the reserve you can find a number of unique coastal land forms, wetlands and different vegetation communities protected within this area.
The reserve offers two diverse, well marked hiking trails and a mountain bike trail.
1.The Dikkop Trail (9.5km; 19,3km, or a 22.3 km trail)
The Dikkop Trail has been designed to lead the hiker through a widely varying terrain, and it is the perfect opportunity to experience the many moods of the West Coast. The trail starts at the visitor center, and follows a circular route through the nature reserve.
The Mountain Biking trail follows a similar route to the Dikkop Trail, with plenty of gradients to make it enjoyable for the seasoned cyclist and the novice, young or old.
2.Grysbok Trail (2,5km or 5,7km trails)
The Grysbok trail again starts at the visitors center covered parking and follows a circular route through the reserve. There are two alternatives for this trail, the first is a 5,7 km hike, which follows a circular walk , which includes a stroll along a “private” stretch of beach and offers beautiful, unobstructed views of Table Mountain. There is an abundance of plant life and fynbos to be seen and animal life, especially bird-life is abundant. Hikers will also be able to view the ruins of a historical farmhouse, a truly spectacular site in Spring, with a variety of flowers in bloom, all around.
The 2,5 km trail will take you through all of the above areas, except the wetlands, and is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
The reserve has a variety of buck; Springbok, Bontebok, Eland and Impala's, they also have a small herd of Zebra, all the animals are originally indigenous to the area and have been reintroduced so that visitors can view them in their natural habitats. The park has a few small predators, such as the African Wildcat, Grey Mongoose and Genet, and if lucky visitors might be able to spot the elusive Caracal, which is the largest predator in the area. Reptiles are also abundant in the park, and if you are patient you can observe first-hand the habits of , the Cape Cobra, Mole Snake, Boomslang, Skaapsteker and the Angulated Tortoise.
For the bird-watcher there are over 172 identified bird species on the reserve, which can make for hours of uninterrupted bird watching.
During the whale season, there are viewing platforms which offer you perfect and private views of Southern Right Whales.
The reserve is continually expanding on the breeds of animal at the reserve, and now have Wildebeest on their list of wild life.
Be sure to pop in to the visitors center and ask for a map of their trails before you start to ensure that you make an informed decision.
By Tracey Obery