Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is located 20km outside Heidelberg and conserves a significant section of indigenous forest that has most of the typical 35 forest tree species, including Yellowwood, Stinkwood, Red Alder and Ironwood. The reserve is home to two species only found in this particular forest, a subspecies of the Forest Emperor Butterfly and a subspecies of the Ghost Frog, as well as a host of Bushbuck, Grysbok, Baboons and smaller mammals. The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is a birder’s paradise with 196 species recorded within the reserve, including the rare Striped Flufftail, Layard’s Titbabbler, Francolin, Black and Booted Eagles and the beautiful Sunbirds and Sugarbirds. The Nature Reserve is also home to two hiking trails which runs through the forest: Bushbuck Trail and Grysboksirkel.
The Bushbuck Trail is a beautiful route and wanders through mountain fynbos and indigenous forest, providing a shaded and relatively easy hike for all ages. The route loops in and around the indigenous forest, affording hikers the opportunity to visit both bird hides in the forest as well as taking them past most of the tree species in the reserve. The trail also crosses about 5 river streams and a Waterfall. The trail takes about 4 hours to complete and covers a distance of up to 10 kilometers.
The Grysboksirkel is a tougher hike, taking you out of the forest-covered valley, up the mountainside through the fynbos area and on to the ridge of the hills bordering the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area. The hike is a loop and will bring you back to the reserve road. The trail is about 15 kilometers and takes on average between 5-6 hours to complete.
You will need a day hiking permit to gain access as day visitors for the two hiking trails – permits are available online at https://www.capenature.co.za
The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is also home to self-catering holiday cabins, nine decked camping sites and a glamping site for travellers looking for more sophisticated facilities while camping. While you explore the hidden treasures of this World Heritage Site, we also invite you to further experience the gems of Heidelberg town and its many restaurants and farm stalls.
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