Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

A breathtaking nature reserve surrounded by indigenous forest and hiking trails – the rare forest emperor butterfly can also be seen within this World Heritage Site area. 

The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve – a World Heritage Site – 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 through the Cape Nature website at: 

Day visitors can also enjoy the day visitors braai facilities, which is located close to the entrance of the reserve.

The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is also home to a selection of self-catering holiday cabins and has recently completed 9 camping sites to their offering.

Telephone: +27 (0)87 087 9262


The nature reserve offers self-catering cabins and camping spots. .

Heidelberg has a variety of restaurants and coffee shops available – for a unique experience, pop in at Delish.

Grootvadersbosch Conservancy & MTB Trail; Boosmansbos Wilderness Area; Inspired Creations; Star Nation Art Gallery and WJ Arts and Crafts.