It’s an easy and beautiful drive through the Overberg countryside to Greyton Nature Reserve, the third-largest reserve in the Cape
Words: Petra van de Casteele
Pictures: Petra van de Casteele and Paul Godard
Birds are plentiful, the views are magnificent and it’s a paradise for anyone interested in fynbos and other indigenous flora. On the outskirts of the picturesque village of Greyton, just 150km from Cape Town, the 2 200ha nature reserve is managed by the Greyton Conservation Society, a group of volunteers who maintain the park and its trails.
Established by Prof. Brian Rycroft in 1977, the reserve lies on the steep southern slopes of the Riviersonderend Mountains that form part of the Cape Fold Belt, featuring ragged peaks and deep ravines.
Fascinating flora abounds, in particular medicinal plants, which is why you might well want to use the services of Greyton’s much-loved resident guide, the knowledgeable Marshall Rinquest. The beautiful village and its surrounds are also worth investigating, and there are numerous accommodation options that can make a day trip a weekend to remember. And don’t forget to pop in to the charming Greyton Country Market that’s open every Saturday morning.
A portion of its sales go to the Greyton Conservation Society which, in turn, ensures that the nature reserve remains one of the area’s gems.
Greyton Nature Reserve Trails
Noupoort Walk 1hr – easy
It starts and ends at the reserve’s gate at the northern end of Park Street. On this relaxing walk that leads through a kloof with a fresh mountain stream, you’ll see many sunbirds and the fragrant Pelargonium greytonense.
Platkloof Walk 1hr – easy
It starts and ends at the reserve’s gate at the northern end of Park Street. There are plenty of sugarbirds and weavers, and look out for orchids in spring. A lovely feature is the stream that feeds into a waterfall.
Gifkloof Trail 2hrs – easy
Starting and ending at the junction of lower Regent and Vlei Streets, it has a great picnic site near the river. There are excellent views over the village with a panorama of mountains as backdrop, such as Uitkykkop and Wa-en-Osse.
Hardepeerkloof Trail 2hrs – strenuous and steep
It starts and ends at the reserve’s gate at the northern end of Park Street. Named after the small indigenous evergreen hard pear forest, from where the path climbs steeply, it crosses three streams. Enjoy the Plattekloof Waterfall and many Cape Sugarbirds and Orange-breasted Sunbirds.
Breakfast Rock Walk 2½ hrs – strenuous
Starting at the old Cape Nature Conservation Camp at the bottom end of Nerina Street, it twists, turns and climbs. There are excellent views from Breakfast Rock to the Gobos River on one side and the Wolfkloof, Greyton’s main source of water, on the other.
Maermanskloof Trail 3 hrs – strenuous and steep
It starts at the old Cape Nature Conservation Camp at the bottom end of Nerina Street. There are interesting views of Greyton, which was designed around the irrigation scheme from Noupoort Kloof. You’ll also have magnificent views of the Riviersonderend Mountains, Uitkykkop, Maermanskloof Valley and Greyton.
Grootkop Trail 6hrs – strenuous
Uitkykkop is the highest point on this as yet unsignposted trail and offers vistas over Worcester, Caledon and Robertson. See buck, baboon and plants such as buchu and the blister bush. Easiest access is from Genadendal. Phone Marshall Rinquest for tips or ask him to join you.
- Visitors are welcome to walk unguided, and the reserve is never closed, although the best time to visit is September to October and April to May.
- Park under the trees next to the reserve entrance in Park Road. There is security.
- Greyton Conservation Society 028 254 9823
- Greyton Tourism Bureau 028 254 9564, [email protected], www.greytontourism.com
- Guide Marshall Rinquest 073 486 1965 or [email protected]
- Saturday market [email protected]
- Mountain Rescue 10177 or 028 254 9555