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The Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Kleinmond, Overberg

Kogelberg Nature Reserve, KleinemondThe Kogelberg Nature Reserve, just west of Kleinemond, and close to Betty’s Bay, is the pristine heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The long isolation of the 18 000 ha Kogelberg Reserve has helped protect its floral wealth and keep it clear of alien vegetation, and today the reserve presents perhaps the finest example of mountain fynbos in the Western Cape. It has a species list of 1 654 plants, of which about 150 are endemic. Many spectacular members of the protea family occur in the reserve.

And it is not just the flowers that make this place special. Its high mountain peaks, steep kloofs, valleys and several tributaries of the pristine Palmiet River create a sense of remote wilderness.

There are some sections of indigenous forest, similar to those found in Knysna that include yellowwood, stinkwood and boekenhout trees.

The Palmiet River and its associated riparian vegetation is of the most pristine in the south-western Cape. Wild almond, rooi-els, yellowwood and Cape beech are among the trees occurring in the riverine scrub along the watercourses.

The climate of the Kogelberg is typical of the Western Cape. Winters are cold and very wet, and snow may fall on the higher peaks. The summer months are hot, dry and often very windy. Hikers should note that the weather conditions are variable and unpredictable.

The Kogelberg does not have many large animals. There are a few leopards; the Cape clawless otter can be seen in or near water; klipspringer, grysbok, baboons, dassies and hares are common. An endemic freshwater crab and the endangered micro-frog are found in the area. A herd of wild horses, abandoned by a British garrison after the Anglo-Boer War, roam the flats of the Bot River estuary at Rooisand.

Peregrine falcons, black eagles and fish eagles hunt and nest in and around the reserve.

Download: Kogelberg Bird List (22k).pdf

Walk the beautiful Palmiet River Trail in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. The trail follows the river where, in summer, one can cool off in some of the first few pools.

The incredible scenery and floral wonders make this four hour walk very worthwhile, and you will possibly come back and do it again. Hikers have several options, and should be prepared for some rough terrain and unpredictable weather.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve, White Water RaftingThe Palmiet River is a world-class grade three white water run. There are two trails, a 15km (8 hours) and 4km (2 hours). Special features: diverse fynbos; excellent scenery, riverine scrub and swimming. The route is open from June to September.

The river is open to competent kayakers who are part of white water clubs and can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their experience, on one of Gravity’s rafting or tubing trips.

Tea, coffee, snacks, wetsuits, rafting equipment and guides are included. Transport can be arranged. Book here:  or call 021-683-3698


Palmiet River Valley Mountain Bike Trail offers diverse fynbos, excellent scenery, riverine scrub, Palmiet River and swimming. Last entry: 3.30pm: Difficulty level: Moderate: Trail distance: 23km (2-3 hours).

Download PDF of Mountain Bike and Hiking Trails or see a Map of Hiking and Mountain Bike Trails

There are no picnic facilities and camping is not provided. Accommodation is limited to five fully furnished self-catering eco-cabins.

All activities must be booked in advance; Permits must be carried at all times; An inland fishing licence is required for fishing at Bot River estuary; Fishing licences are obtainable from the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. To make a booking please contact Cape Nature reservations office. National callers: (021) 483 0190: International callers: 0027 861 227 362 8873

The reserve is sign-posted from the coastal road (R44), and a gravel road leads for 3 km through private property to the entrance. The coastal town of Kleinmond is about 8 km south-east of the reserve.

More info on the town of Pringle Bay More info on the Cape Overberg

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