Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

A magical reserve with beautiful stretches of indigenous forest

Originally known as Melkhoutskraal, the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve encompasses 250 hectares of indigenous forest in the Langeberg region, close to Heidelberg. The name translates to “big father” in honour of Roelof Oelofse who owned the land in 1723. It has only been a reserve since 1986 and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004. The wildlife includes lots of birds and small mammals. If you are lucky you might even get to see a ghost frog or one of the unique butterfly species.

This is the most significant stretch of indigenous afromontane forest left in the south-western Cape, with nearly all of the 35 typical forest tree species, including red alder, ironwood, stinkwood and yellowwood. Visitors to this beautiful reserve will relish the opportunity to get out into the forest on day walks and mountain biking trails. This is an excellent birding destination with more than 196 bird species regularly spotted. Hikers are likely to bump into bushbuck and spot baboons and smaller mammals when out on the trails.


There are eleven brand new self catering cabin, a self catering cottage and 10 camping stands available. Each campsite looks onto indigenous forest, providing many opportunities for bird watching. Communal ablution facilities are offered, as well as a thatched communal braai area with fridge, and a children’s play area/jungle gym (no children to be left unsupervised). Campsites have braai facilities, but visitors should bring their own braai grids.

For more information on accommodation and bookings contact Cape Nature.

RIDE – Mountain Bike Trails

There is a cycle trail of 6km on the reserve for all to enjoy with your own mountain bike. This trail follows the open jeep track and road in the reserve.

On the adjacent Grootvadersbosch Conservancy Conservancy there is an amazing network of 120km of GVB Conservancy trails are pretty amazing. A separate permit is however needed for those trails and is available at the Conservancy’s office. Find out more about the trails here.

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Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve,
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Office hours: 07:30–16:00
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