Steenbras Nature Reserve

Gordon's Bay

Steenbras Nature Reserve

Public Forest/Natural AreaPark/Recreation AreaWildlife HabitatEco-Tour/Nature WalkBird and Wildlife WatchingScenic Vista


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The Steenbras Nature Reserve forms part of the greater Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The area is often referred to as ‘the heart of the fynbos.’

With more than 1 600 plant species it boasts the greatest floral diversity per unit area than anywhere else in the world. The area supports five different vegetation types and is regarded as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

The area was originally proclaimed as a protected area in 1979 and was registered with UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1998 and was declared an area of international importance. The City of Cape Town’s portion of the protected environment is more than 8 400 hectares in extent.

The reserve conserves a number of vegetation types including the critically endangered Kogelberg sandstone fynbos. The unique landscapes with its exceptional floral diversity is home to many interesting birds and animals, making the area well known for its scenic beauty.

Fynbos (an Afrikaans term derived from the Dutch “fijn-bosch”) literally means ‘fine bush’ and is the dominant vegetation in the area. Small pockets of forest and thicket are present, but less prominent. It is an evergreen, fire prone shrubland, characterised by the presence of restios, ericoid shrubs (principally in the families Ericaceae, Asteraceae, Rhamnaceae, Thymelaeceae and Rutaceae), as well as proteoid shrubs (Proteaceae).

The reserve has a comprehensive bird species list which includes the fynbos region’s six endemic bird species. These include the Orange-breasted sunbird (Anthobaphes violacea), Cape rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus), Cape sugarbird (Promerops cafer), Victorin’s warbler (Cryptillas victorini), Cape siskin (Crithagra totta) and protea canary (Crithagra leucopterus). A breeding pair of Verreaux’s eagle (Aquilla verreauxii) is also present in the area.

Big game species are no longer present in the reserve, however smaller antelope species such as klipspringer, greysbok and common duiker are still abundant. Small mammal species such as the Smith’s red rock rabbit, rock hyrax, porcupine, genet and Cape fox are also found. Predatory species such as caracal and honey badger still occur in the reserve with the top predator species being the elusive Cape leopard.

ADDRESS: Faure Marine Drive (R44), about 9 km from Gordon's Bay (GPS -34.235 233 S, 18.85212 E)

OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00

ENTRANCE FEE (July 2013-June 2014): R60 per person for a hiking permit to enter Steenbras River Gorge and the Crystal Pools hiking trail. Note that this trail is only open for six months during summer from 1 Nov - 30 Apr (closed during winter from 1 May to 31 Oct).


ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Hiking trail, abseiling, kloof jumping (run by external company), whale watching, scenic drive and fishing (permit required)


ACCOMMODATION: The Kogel Bay Resort (Tel 021 850 4172) offers camping and caravanning facilities on the beachfront. Strand Sports and Recreation switchboard: Tel 021 850 4000

CONTACT: No telephone or fax for this reserve. Please note that the Steenbras Nature Reserve is only contactable via e-mail as listed below and not via the telephone numbers above. Hiking permit applications by e-mail only (nowhere else).


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