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Swartberg Nature Reserve

Swartberg Nature Reserve



+27 (0) 21 483 0190



Poaching Hotline:

+27 (0) 8600 10111


Size:  121,000 ha / 1,210 km2

Nearest major city:  Cape Town (5h approx by car)

Species Numbers:  46 Mammals        74 Birds        43 Reptiles

Big Five:  No


  • - Great multi-day hiking trails and 4x4 route
  • - Historic Gamkaskloof (“Die Hel”) visits
  • - Unique 4-day donkey trail

Swartberg Nature Reserve lies in the Oudtshoorn district between the Great and Klein Karoo, forming a narrow, but long, stretch of 121,000 hectares. The entire conservation area is critical to the management of mountain catchments and water yields in the region and it is also a proclaimed World Heritage Site.

The reserve's vegetation is remarkably diverse, featuring renosterveld, mountain fynbos, Karoo-veld, spekboom veld, and numerous geophyte species. Some species will be in bloom virtually throughout the year. Most plants flower in spring, but early autumn is the time that many protea species flower, attracting large numbers of sugarbirds and sunbirds.

Mammals likely to be seen include klipspringer, grey rhebuck, kudu, baboon and dassie, and on the flatter areas at Gamkapoort, springbok. Leopard and caracal also occur in the area, but are seldom seen. More than 130 bird species have been recorded here, notably black, fish and martial eagle, Cape sugarbird and pied kingfisher.

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