Fernkloof Reserve is one of nature’s bright gems, and it’s a short 15-minute drive away! I’ve hiked the waterfall trail and am learning other routes. Fernkloof trails are gentler than Table Mountain with spectacular views of Walker Bay, Hemel en Aarde Valley, and Maanskynbaai (Moonshine Bay)!
Fernkloof has four “routes” – green, red, blue, and orange. I’m working up to the more challenging orange route and its inner and outer circuits.
Covering 7 sq. miles in the Kleinrivier Mountains, 37 spectacular miles of hiking trails pass flowering fynbos, thick shrub vegetation, forests, and secluded dams where you can swim on hot days.
Fernkloof’s luxurious fynbos is magnificent! The word fynbos derives from the Dutch word ‘fijn bosch‘ or fine bush. It’s a “collective name for a myriad of evergreen shrub-like plants with small firm leaves, including woody plants with hard leathery leaves”.
The climate is “Mediterranean with cold wet winters, hot dry summers, and strong south-easterly winds”. I can vouch for the extraordinarily “strong” winds!
“There is no other place on earth where so many distinct fynbos species grow in such proximity. More than 1250 species of plant have been collected and identified in Fernkloof Nature Reserve.”
During my hike yesterday, I didn’t see any large mammals but enjoyed birds, mountain pride butterflies, unusual beetles, and lizards. Hikers are known to encounter interesting species of turtle plodding along the trails. There are several creeks and waterfalls, and I heard, but didn’t see, frogs. It would be thrilling to see a Cape Leopard.
Lizards and butterflies are too fast for photos, but I followed a lizard to a rock outcropping near “Adder Ladder”. Considering the name of the trail, I retreated.
“Grey rhebok, Cape grysbok, klipspringer, baboon, mongoose, and dassie are present in small numbers. Nocturnal animals in the Reserve are seldom seen but include the porcupine, genet, hare, and elusive Cape Mountain Leopard.”
I plan to hike Fernkloof often not only for the exercise but because the refreshing, pristine environment is uplifting and makes me feel happy and content!