Kogelberg Nature Reserve

Just to the east of Cape Town on the Atlantic Ocean coast, this small mountainous reserve has some of the most concentrated floral diversity per square kilometer in the world – rivaling the rainforests. The long isolation of this particular area has allowed for a truly astounding number of plant species – 1 654 of which 150 are endemic to the reserve. There are also leopards, cape clawless otters and small antelope like klipspringer and grysbok, but all these are rarely seen. The bisecting Palmiet River offers fine examples of pristine river forest, and in winter makes for exciting white water rafting. Size: 18 000 hectares. Situated near Betty’s Bay on the south west coast of South Africa.


Blog posts

Beautiful paintings of Kogelberg flowers

The beautiful paintings below of rare flowers from Kogelberg are by Amida Johns, the wife of reserve manager Mark. Amida is a well known botanist, and has co-authored several books on the Kogelberg flora, including the South African Wild Flower Guide Number 5, a guide to Kogelberg, as well as the excellent book about T.P. Stokoe, a remarkable man with a nose for finding new plant species (and one beetle species!). Entitled "T.P. Stokoe - the man, the myths, the flowers", it gives a wonderful history of how he discovered more than 150 new plant species in the Cape, many of them in the Kogelberg, and many of them very rare. He would walk for days, camping in the wilderness, noting new species, and sometimes painting them.

Amida wrote the book with Peter Slingsby, one of South Africa's Read more »

Wet and wild in the Kogelberg

Kogelberg is world famous among botanists and flower lovers, because of its diversity of plant species. But it is also the home of the Palmiet River, one of the finest white-water rafting rivers in South Africa.

During the winter months, when close to 2 000 mm of rain falls on the high mountain peaks, the Palmiet turns into a snorting monster, with plenty of big rapids to get the adrenaline pumping. While I was at Kogelberg, I watched a kayaking competition in the reserve, and managed to get some decent photos of the action. It was inspirational to watch!

If you’re interested in kayaking on the river, get hold of either Gravity Adventures (www.gravity.co.za) or Forest and River Adventures (Read more »

Leopards in the Kogelberg

The other day I accompanied Anita Meyer and Jeannie Hayward from the Cape Leopard Trust on a walk up one of the kloofs in the Kogelberg. They were going to check on a camera trap that had been set up to try take photographs of the resident Cape leopards. To some, it may seem incredible that just an hour’s drive from Cape Town there are still leopards surviving in the wild mountains of Kogelberg. But it’s true and wonderful.

Anita and Jeannie have used 13 camera traps placed around the Kogelberg, and so far they have identified three leopards – one male (named - coincidentally - Scott!) and three females.

As part of the Cape Leopard Trust, started by researcher Quinton Martins in the Cederberg, Anita and Jeannie are gathering Read more »

Kogelberg’s brilliant accommodation

Kogelberg Nature Reserve’s accommodation is the finest I’ve seen on my Year in the Wild journey. Recently completed, the eco-designed, comfortable cabins are simply beautiful, and beautifully simple!

The design and construction of the cabins place a big emphasis on conservation and the surrounding environment. Constructed with wood, stone and with fynbos gardens on their roofs (!), all the chalets offer huge vistas north to the beautiful Palmiet Valley and the surrounding mountains. When you stay here, you really do feel as if you’re “in the mountains”, because of the enormous views which the large glass doors and windows afford.

The design is simple – and functional. Braai areas and outside decks flow into the open plan living areas of kitchen, lounge and bedrooms. Bathrooms have Read more »

Kogelberg – Heart of the Cape flora

Just an hour’s drive south-east from South Africa’s second largest city is one of the world’s astonishing natural wonders. In the mountains of Kogelberg, across the beautiful False Bay, is the world’s highest diversity of plant species, per hectare. CapeNature's Kogelberg Nature Reserve is responsible for the conservation of this special place. Click here to see where it is on Google Maps.

Here there are close to 1800 species of plants in an area of just 70 square kilometres of mostly Read more »

The coast at Kogelberg

I was supposed to spend a few weeks at Kogelberg Nature Reserve in December, but will only get there in July, once the reserve's new accommodation is ready. I can't wait, because the Kogelberg is one of the world's most famous nature reserves. Here's why: it hosts the greatest diversity of plant species per hectare on earth. Of course, it's almost impossible to prove this emphatically, but the general assertion remains true. This small mountainous valley near Cape Hangklip, about an hour's drive south east of Cape Town, hosts close to 1700 species of plants on just 18 000 hectares of conserved land, and about 150 of these species are found nowhere else on earth. The Amazon Read more »