Managed by Cape Nature, Walker Bay stretches along the coast from De Kelders to the Hermanus Lagoon. Walker Bay Nature Reserve offers much for the whole family. From wide beaches to sea caves, good fishing grounds to pretty fynbos and hiking trails.
A 24 km hiking trail hugs the coastline and there are several beaches and protected coves. Die Plaat, a vast area dominated by drift-sand can be seen from the other side of Walker Bay.
There are a variety of mammals to be seen, such as the Cape clawless otter, bushbuck, duiker, and steenbok. Southern right whales can be spotted between August to November, and dolphins throughout the year.
The reserve is open daily from 7 am until 7 pm, and the entrance is on the northern edge of De Kelders. Visitors will need an entry permit, which can be purchased at the gatehouses at De Kelders and Uilkraalsmond. The famous Klipgat Cave can be reached by a boardwalk and steps from the entrance.
Nature Reserves near De Kelders
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and are not necessarily the actual travelling
Hermanus(21.2 km from De Kelders)
Situated in the Kleinrivier Mountains on the northern side of Hermanus, Fernkloof Nature Reserve incorporates mountain fynbos as well as a pocket of evergreen forest. A 60 kilometre network of trails provides the opportunity for people to go out and enjoy some exercise and fresh air. These trails offer stunning panoramic views of Walker Bay, the Hemel en Aarde Valley and Maanskynbaai.The reserve is a haven of biodiversity with 1474 species of plants recorded. Parts of the coastal area including the Cliff Path Nature Area, the Mossel River valley and the area from De Mond to Kettle Point, including the mouth of the Vogelgat River and part of the Klein River lagoon have recently been incorporated. This means that the coastal area with its unique fynbos, the mountain fynbos as well as the sensitive lagoon area is now linked.Keep your eyes open to spot grey rhebok, Cape grysbok, klipspringer, baboon, mongoose and dassie. Birds that you are most likely to see are Cape sugar birds, sunbirds, rock thrush and rock jumpers. Raptors include the jackal buzzard and black eagle. You can also spot seed and insect-eating species such as Rameron pigeons, canaries, flycatchers and white-eyes in the patches of forest alongside streams.Need to know? Fernkloof Nature Reserve is open from 7am to 7pm.
Bettys Bay(52 km from De Kelders)
The incredibly scenic Harold Porter Botanical Garden is situated between the coast and the mountainside. The garden is renowned for its waterfalls, amber pools, deep gorges and abundant birdlife.
Deep in the heart of the fynbos region, it is one of the best places to explore coastal fynbos. And its vast – there are 10 hectares of cultivated fynbos as well as 190 hectares of natural fynbos!
Keen hikers should lace up their boots and hit the Leopard Kloof Trail. The 3 km round trip leads through fern forests and up to a waterfall. You’ll need to get a permit and pay a key deposit.
Need to know? Opens at 08:00, closes at 16:30 on weekdays and at 17:00 on weekends and public holidays. The parking area closes at 18:00 in winter and 19:00 in summer. Keen gardeners can purchase plants from the indigenous plant nursery.
Somerset West(77.2 km from De Kelders)
Initially a wild flower garden, the 407-hectare Helderberg Nature Reserve was proclaimed a reserve in 1960 to preserve an important enclave of Mesic Mountain Fynbos.Along with the incredible plant diversity, the reserve has a rich fauna. Visitors can experience bontebok grazing at any time of the day and some 169 species of birds have been recorded. Look out for three types of tortoise – the mountain tortoise, the angulate tortoise and the padloper.There are several lovely walking trails, of which only the Brown Route is non-circular. Facilities in the reserve include an information centre, plant herbarium, gift shop, indigenous nursery, resource centre, walking paths and benches, Oak Café restaurant, picnic area, facilities for the disabled and ablutions.