THE EXPERIENCE : THE RESERVE
The private nature reserve was established in 2002 after the purchase of the two neighbouring farms: Portion 1 of farm 215 “Koudeberg” (Cold Mountain) and Remainder farm 215 “Hartebeeskloof” (Valley of the Hartebees). The 800 hectare reserve is a rare sanctuary for hundreds of plant species, an important local catchment area and an essential meeting place of different fynbos vegetation types, including the ultra-endemic “Elim fynbos” with several endangered plant species. The reserve of 800 hectares runs from close to sea-level at its lowest to 492m at its highest peak: “Perdekop”. Koudeberg used to be an indigenous flower farm and delivered conebushes and proteas to the cutflower markets. Hartebeeskloof was a struggling cattle farm. Most of the land was however not suitable for farming and has maintained its ancient natural features. Disturbed areas have been rehabilitated and the clearing of alien invasive vegetation is an ongoing process.
Farm 215 is part of the Walkerbay Fynbos Conservancy, creating a natural corridor from farm 215 in the east to the shores of the Hermanus Lagoon in the West.
The mountain slopes of the reserve are covered with rich and unspoiled so called “Overberg Mountain Fynbos”, a vegetation type adapted to the near-desert situation of the Western Cape summers and its wet winters. The valleys and “kloofs” (canyons) that -right in front of your feet- suddenly and surprisingly cut deep into the land of farm 215, however harbour a totally different natural world. Down there, water always flows abundantly. Next to the streams, natural ponds and waterfalls, reed-beds, indigenous forest and thicket provide shelter for different species of antelope, resting place for baboons and hunting grounds for the cape clawless otter.
Farm 215 has an extensive infrastructure of hiking trails and farm roads of more than 20 kilometers. Some of the gentler hiking trails take you up to the mountain ridges allowing for stunning views of the Overberg mountains, the Agulhas plains, the estuary of Uilkraalsmond, the vineyards surrounding Kraaiboschdam and the Atlantic ocean, guarded by the light house of Danger Point. Other hiking trails, less suitable for the fainthearted, take you down into the coolness of the kloofs where your feet get wet, navigation gets difficult and animals (unseen by you) watch you from the safety of their caves.
Due to dramatically different heights, different soil-types, shaded and damp mountain faces, dry and windy slopes and nature’s generosity to the Overberg, the fynbos reserve of farm 215 boasts a multitude of different habitats and -hence- an enormous amount of different plant species. In the past, agriculture on farm 215 was restricted to a few suitable places. The largest part of this fynbos reserve has therefore always been safeguarded against the hand of man. We would like to keep it that way; only our guests and a restricted amount of permit holders have right of access to the reserve and clear rules of behaviour do apply. We do not allow guests to drive in the reserve, other than from the gate to the accommodation and back.
Hikes can take an hour up to a whole day. If you want to explore more of the botanical wonders in the close vicinity, there are various hikes in nearby reserve and we can arrange guided hikes in the Southernmost indigenous forest of the African continent, “Platbos Forest” on the other side of the valley or along the undisturbed coastline.