The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve was proclaimed a local and provincial nature reserve in 2007. The reserve has a spectacular view down fynbos slopes, across the city, to 7 km of rocky, sandy coastline, the ocean and beyond. It is one of the few viewpoints in the world from where you can see two proclaimed World Heritage Sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island. The reserve conserves three threatened vegetation types: Cape Flats dune strandveld (endangered), Swartland shale renosterveld (critically endangered), and Cape Flats sand fynbos (critically endangered).
The rich biodiversity embraces a wetland, 559 plant species, 49 mammals (including whales, dolphins and seals), 162 bird species, 30 reptiles and four amphibians. It is the only City nature reserve where you can still find the white-tailed mouse (Mystromys albicaudatus), the ant bear (‘aardvark’; Orycteropus afer) and a bird known as Layard’s titbabbler (Parisoma layardi). The reserve will ultimately conserve about 2 000 hectares of important biodiversity land, and will be stocked with larger animals, such as eland and red hartebeest. Within the current 1445 hectares, evidence of early human occupation has been found– with shell middens dating back 15 000 years.
The reserve also conserves the site of the 1806 Battle of Blaauwberg, when the British took possession of the Cape from the Dutch for the second time. During World War II several buildings were constructed on Blaauwberg Hill that can still be visited today. These include a radar station, a lookout and a mess room. A new accommodation facility has been built nearby, offering magnificent views and rustic splendour.
Since the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve’s proclamation, conservation in the area has progressed rapidly. Simple bollards at the coastal parking areas have stopped 4x4s from driving on the beach, and already the endangered vegetation is recovering and the black oystercatchers (Haematopus moquini) have returned. Illegal vehicles had not only endangered the vegetation and black oystercatchers, but had also destroyed a number of the shell middens. An initiative of the Friends of BCA, involving the closure of 4x4 tracks and the judicious clearing of alien vegetation, has shown that the strandveld vegetation can be restored.
Management is limiting the population of Cape gerbils (Tatera afra), whose population exploded following alien vegetation clearing. Conservationists try to encourage the introduction of barn owls (Tyto alba), which eat the gerbils, by providing barn owl nesting boxes. The owl pellets are however carefully monitored to ensure that they are not eating the endangered white-tailed mice.
Partners of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve include CapeNature, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the Table Mountain Fund, the Botanical Society of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Cape Action Plan for the Environment (C.A.P.E.), the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa, and the Friends of BCA.
Key information - Blaauwberg Nature Reserve
||Eerste Steen Resort, Otto du Plessis Drive (M14), north of Bloubergstrand Map directions|
||Coastal section: Sunrise to sunset (seven days a week); Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)|
(Jul. '12-Jun. '13)
|For Eerste Steen Resort only:|
- Vehicles R17
- Adults R12, Children (3-17 years), students and senior citizens R6, Children under 3 years free
- Learner/student groups: R5 per learner (pre-booked; discount may apply)
- 'Friend' of this reserve: Free (proof of membership required)
- Season Ticket (annual): Adults R115, Family R175 (parents & any 3 children up to 13 years), Senior citizens R59 (60+ years). The season ticket provides unlimited entry into the following nature reserves for 365 days from date of issue: Helderberg, Tygerberg, Table Bay (excl. vehicle fee), False Bay and Blaauwberg (excl. vehicle fee)
- Blaauwberg Hill: Self-catering accommodation (gas cooking, shower, solar lighting, braai. No electricity or TV). Unit sleeps up to 4 persons: R600 per night (1-2 persons); R100 per additional person (3 & 4 in bunk bed)
||Taxi or bus|
|Activities and facilities
||Picnic sites, braai areas, hiking trails, historic buildings, surfing, windsurfing, birdwatching, whale-watching and fishing (permit required)|
||Classes on history, archaeology, geography and geology, as well as on the plants and animals in the local ecosystems (booking essential)|
||Tel 021 444 7318 /19 /20 (Administrative Complex); Tel 021 444 7321 (Eerstesteen Resort); Tel 021 554 0957 (Environmental Education Centre bookings); Fax 021 554 8156|
||The Friends of BCA host monthly activities, www.bca.org.za|
||- Blaauwberg Conservation Area brochure [PDF 958 KB]|
- Blaauwberg Conservation Area – Floral Treasures brochure [PDF 1.9 MB]
Image gallery (click on image to enlarge)
*Subject to change every July.
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