7th November 2012, Posted in Things to do
We often forget how beautiful the world is around us and it sometimes takes a bit of encouragement to explore an area’s natural beauty. There is a lot to be seen and done in Stellenbosch and the surrounding areas that will take you back to nature.
Near the town of Stellenbosch lies the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, 14 527ha of rolling mountains and rugged terrain. You will find a variety of animals roaming this reserve, including the leopard, baboons, klipspringers as well as some smaller species. An interesting building in the area is the Assegaaibosch farmstead, one of the historic buildings that can be seen on the Reserve. It changed several owners over the years that caused it to become neglected but after some renovations it can now be seen as guesthouse and national monument.
The Assegaaibosch is a small nature reserve in the Jonkershoek reserve with a beautiful wild flower garden and three walking trails ranging from 3 – 6kms. Picnic, braai and toilet facilities are available for walkers to use at their leisure so be sure to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the many fynbos species found there. If you are interested in a more challenging route – the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve has 5 trails available. Explore trails leading you through low valleys and steep hills to get a panoramic view of the surrounding area. A must do. If you feel you would rather walk with a group or guide, walking tours can be pre booked at an Adventure shop located in the town.
In the Mountains surrounding Somerset West, lays the Helderberg Nature Reserve, a beautiful reserve overlooking the magnificent hills right down to the Atlantic. It was first proclaimed a reserve in 1960 to help protect the important surroundings of the Mesic Mountain Fynbos. Seven walking trails are available for visitors to enjoy and they range in distance from 1 – 5 km making this a unique way to explore the mountain, riverine, forest and lowland scrub.
If you are interested in learning more about this reserve an information center is open seven days a week from 10am until 4:30pm.
For the ultimate bird of prey experience there is no other place to go than the Eagle Encounters at Spier Wine Estate. Experiencing the wonder of nature – they educate you on a variety of matters surrounding this beautiful birds of prey. Daily falconry flying shows are performed as well as unique personal encounters with Wally the Wahlberg’s Eagle or maybe experience the power of the big black eagle. Their main focus is the rehabilitation of the birds of prey and to re-release them as healthy and fit raptors into the wild and are on call 24/7 to rescue birds in both urban and rural areas.
They are open daily from 10am to 5pm for visitors.
On the corner of van Riebeeck and Neethling Street and about 1 minutes’ walk from Fynbos Villa Guesthouse, you will find one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Africa with plants from all over the world. Visitors can enjoy three glass houses filled with Tropical, Succulent and Karoo flowers as well as a herb garden and koi fish pond. In the warm summer months a tasteful menu from their Katjiepiering Restaurant can be enjoyed while sitting in the shades of an age old blue gum tree. The botanical garden is not only open to visitors but is also widely regarded as an open-air laboratory and serves as a training centre for science, conservation and recreation.
Open Monday to Sunday from 8am until 5pm.