— Winelands —
Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve
Assegaaibosch is a small nature reserve in the Jonkershoek valley. It is about 9km from Stellenbosch and 204 hectares in size. The reserve lies next to the Eerste River, which forms the northern boundary and extends up the north-eastern slope of Stellenbosch Mountain, which forms the southern boundary. Along with Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Assegaaibosch is a World Heritage Site.
The Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve has two hiking routes: a short 3km walk and a longer 5,5km trail. Parking, picnic and braai areas, and toilet facilities are available.
Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
This nature reserve lies in the majestic Hottentots Holland Mountains, about 90km south-east of Cape Town. The 70 000-hectare reserve stretches from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north, and from the Stellenbosch Mountains in the west, eastwards to the Groenland Mountains, and is a World Heritage Site.
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is home to the majestic Jonkershoek Mountains and parts of the Jonkershoek valley. The reserve, which includes the smaller Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, lies near the town of Stellenbosch in the south-western Cape.The reserves are about 9km from Stellenbosch, on the Jonkershoek valley road.
The rugged Jonkershoek Mountains, which form part of the Boland Mountains, are ideal for hiking enthusiasts. The Eerste, Berg, Lourens and Riviersonderend rivers all start high in these mountains, although only the Eerste River actually flows through the Jonkershoek valley. The area is also rich in animal and plant life, with over 1 100 plant species and a variety of small mammals, birds and reptiles. Hikers should be on the lookout for berg adders, puff adders, boomslang and Cape cobras.
Limietberg Nature Reserve
Some 102 000 ha of fynbos-covered mountain slopes, challenging cliffs, and indigenous river valleys make up the Limietberg Nature Reserve, a pristine nature reserve tucked away in the Du Toitskloof Mountains, near Paarl. The reserve stretches from Franschhoek in the south, eastwards towards Groot Drakenstein, and northwards as far as Voëlvlei Dam and is a World Heritage Site.
Limietberg offers a number of beautiful hikes through steep kloofs and deep valleys. Small antelope, baboon and the occasional caracal and leopard occur. You may also be lucky enough to spot endemic birds such as the Cape sugarbird and the protea canary, as well as the majestic black eagle.
Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve
Vrolijkheid is a striking, rugged nature reserve in the Breede River valley, about 15km south of Robertson on the road to McGregor. The rocky landscape is starkly beautiful, dominated by patches of succulents, dwarf trees and shrubs. In spring, Vrolijkheid lives up to its name – happiness – as splashes of bright orange botterblom daisies decorate the reserve.
The vegetation in this area of the Little Karoo is known as Robertson Karoo vegetation, with guarri, karee and melkbos shrubs, patches of mountain renosterveld and sweet-thorn trees. Grasses are scarce in this arid area, which has extremely high temperatures from November to March every year.