Last year, Cape Nature built new or improved some eco accommodation in several Western Cape reserves that had people raving about them. This year Cape Nature have more plans, so here’s a rundown of the 2012 improvements and what to look out for in 2013:
Where: 2km from Buffalo Bay beach near Knysna.
Why: breathtaking views of the Goukamma River and estuary where you can swim, canoe and fish and kite surf or walk the endless beach or follow the park’s six hiking trails.
Where: about 25km north of Velddrif on the West Coast.
Why: the prime feature is the large pan that attracts 70 species of water birds. A new walking trail leads you to the wilder parts of the reserve and a new bird hide. A beach without an end in sight is just 500metres away.
Accommodation: there are four new eco-cabins with solar geysers, composting toilets and grey water soakaway with a deck, braai and glass sliding doors for uninterrupted views. See more on the Cape Nature website.
Where: 8km from Kleinmond in the southern part of the rugged Hottentots Holland Mountains with high peaks, steep kloofs, valleys and Palmiet River tributaries, with a remote wilderness feel.
Why: the finest example of mountain fynbos in the Western Cape, with a high biodiversity and patches of relic indigenous forest. Visitor numbers are limited.
Accommodation: limited to five fully-furnished award-winning self-catering eco-cabins.
2013 will see more projects:
Where: approx 50km on gravel roads from Bredasdorp or Swellendam.
Accommodation: the Noetsie Cabin on the Whale Trail will be upgraded this winter.
Where: 20km east of Stanford.
Why: mountainous landscape renowned for bird life, mountain fynbos and beautiful waterfalls.
Accommodation: major redevelopment of Salmonsdam accommodation.
De Mond Nature Reserve
Where: 26km south-east of Bredasdorp, between Arniston and Struisbaai at the mouth of the Heuningnes River.
Why: ideal for birdwatching and a 7km trail through riverine vegetation, forest and dunes then along the coast to the river mouth and saltmarshes.
Accommodation: major redevelopment of the cottages.
Limietberg Nature Reserve
Where: in the Du Toitskloof mountains near Paarl.
Why: historical features including Bushman paintings, disused manganese mine, the original toll road from Franschhoek to Villiersdorp and a cross erected by Italian prisoners of war.
Accommodation: Tweede Tol main campsite ablution facilities are to be upgraded.
Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
Where: the entrance is high in Viljoen’s Pass between Grabouw and Villiersdorp
Why: mountain fynbos with approximately 1300 species and small populations of buck.
Accommodation: construction of new swing/foot bridge near Boesmanskloof hiking hut.
Cederberg Wilderness Area
Where: a rugged rocky-mountain reserve stretching north south inland from Citrusdal to Clanwilliam
Why: solitude and rocky scenic grandeur with Bushmen art and activities like hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking.
Accommodation: the popular Algeria Campsite will receive a major upgrade.