Picture by Jacques

Grootvadersbosch is a playground for hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and bird watchers. The nature reserve will keep your entire family busy for a week at the very least. By Jacques Marais

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is the perfect place to let your kids loose for some deep-forest adventure. This part of the Overberg is generally ignored by travellers zooming along the highway between Cape Town and the Garden Route. Nature reserves such as Grootvadersbosch are never crowded, even during school breaks and other holidays. Visitors are mostly limited to day-trippers or weekend campers, with some of the reserve’s shorter hiking trails especially popular with walkers, amateur botanists and bird watchers.


The campsite is situated less than a minute from the entrance to the reserve, and is set on a grassy knoll with a 360-degree view of primary emerald forest. Although the reserve itself is a mere 250ha in size, it borders on the extensive Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, which spreads for a dozen kilometres along fynbos towards steep mountain ranges that delineate the border between the Overberg and the arid plains of the Klein Karoo. Further south the local farming community have created the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy – a buffer zone that combines conservation with responsible agriculture, and now offers more hiking trails, excellent mountain biking routes and a range of add-on adventure options.

Photo by Jacques Marais.

The three to four hour Bushbuck Trail is an excellent quickie outing, and it received an enthusiastic double-thumbs up from all the kids. Two other families joined us for the weekend, which swelled the ranks of rug-rats considerably. These enchanted woods are sure to transport you and your family into a scene straight from the pages of The Lord of the Rings. There may be no elves or fairies or wizards at first glance, but you will soon sense the magic.

Bookings: www.capenature.co.za or +27 (0)21 483 0190