Nature Reserves near Paarl
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and are not necessarily the actual travelling
Riebeek Kasteel(31.3 km from Paarl)
Bartholomeus Klip Reserve is teeming with herds of eland, springbuck, black wildebeest, zebra and bontebok. Many other animals, such as baboons, bat-eared foxes, lynxes, and smaller species of antelope, live here too, and it is known that leopards still occur in the mountains.Among the birdlife at Bartholomeus Klip is the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, once farmed here in large flocks at the height of the ostrich feather boom in the 1870s and today one of the leopard’s favourite foods. The magnificent black eagle (correctly known as Verreaux’s eagle) nests in the mountains, and the enormous dam near to the farmhouse has a spectacular array of water birds, some resident like the fish eagles and the kingfishers, and others such as the pelicans and the spoonbills less regular visitors. Flamingos have also been seen in some of Bartholomeus Klip’s smaller dams and there are a host of interesting large and small birds out in the reserve and on the wheatlands, including large flocks of the blue crane, South Africa’s national bird.
Hermanus(80.2 km from Paarl)
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.
Yzerfontein(87.5 km from Paarl)
Join a guided tour at !Khwa ttu for interesting insights into the culture, heritage, knowledge and modern-day life of the Bushmen of southern Africa. Qualified San guides will demonstrate their skills, share their oral history, track animals and identify plants with you. You will also learn a few words in some of their languages and find out about recent accomplishments in obtaining their rights to land and intellectual property.