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Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

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The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve was proclaimed a local and provincial nature reserve in 2007. The reserve has a spectacular view down fynbos slopes, across the city, to 7 km of rocky, sandy coastline, the ocean and beyond. It is one of the few viewpoints in the world from where you can see two proclaimed World Heritage Sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island. The reserve conserves three threatened vegetation types: Cape Flats dune strandveld (endangered), Swartland shale renosterveld (critically endangered), and Cape Flats sand fynbos (critically endangered).

The rich biodiversity embraces a wetland, 559 plant species, 49 mammals (including whales, dolphins and seals), 162 bird species, 30 reptiles and four amphibians. It is the only city nature reserve where you can still find the white-tailed mouse (Mystromys albicaudatus), the ant bear (‘aardvark’; Orycteropus afer) and a bird known as Layard’s titbabbler (Parisoma layardi). The reserve will ultimately conserve about 2 000 hectares of important biodiversity land, and will be stocked with larger animals, such as eland and red hartebeest. Within the current 1445 hectares, evidence of early human occupation has been found– with shell middens dating back 15 000 years.

The reserve also conserves the site of the 1806 Battle of Blaauwberg, when the British took possession of the Cape from the Dutch for the second time. During World War II several buildings were constructed on Blaauwberg Hill that can still be visited today. These include a radar station, a lookout and a mess room. A new accommodation facility has been built nearby, offering magnificent views and rustic splendour.

Since the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve’s proclamation, conservation in the area has progressed rapidly. Simple bollards at the coastal parking areas have stopped 4x4s from driving on the beach, and already the endangered vegetation is recovering and the black oystercatchers (Haematopus moquini) have returned. Illegal vehicles had not only endangered the vegetation and black oystercatchers, but had also destroyed a number of the shell middens. An initiative of the Friends of BCA, involving the closure of 4×4 tracks and the judicious clearing of alien vegetation, has shown that the strandveld vegetation can be restored.

Management is limiting the population of Cape gerbils (Tatera afra), whose population exploded following alien vegetation clearing. Conservationists try to encourage the introduction of barn owls (Tyto alba), which eat the gerbils, by providing barn owl nesting boxes. The owl pellets are however carefully monitored to ensure that they are not eating the endangered white-tailed mice.

Partners of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve include CapeNature, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the Table Mountain Fund, the Botanical Society of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Cape Action Plan for the Environment (C.A.P.E.), the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa, and the Friends of BCA.

General Info

    Formal name:

    Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

    Web links:

    www.capetown.gov.za/en/EnvironmentalResourceManagement/Pages/NatureReserve-Blaauwberg.aspx
    www.bca.org.za
    www.capetowngreenmap.co.za/blog/blaauwberg-nature-reserve-0
    http://tourism-cape-town-western-cape.blaauwberg.net/articles/tourism_information/nature_reserves_cape_town.php

    Tourism products and facilities offered:

    Braai & picnic facilities at Eerstesteen
    Salt water fishing (with permit)
    Swimming at the beach
    hiking trails from Eerstesteen and at Blaauwberg hill (self guided and guided hikes)
    Bird watching
    Viewpoints from Blaauwberg hill
    Overnight accommodation at Montispectus on Blaauwberg Hill

    Facilities indoor vs outdoor:

    80 % outdoor, 20% indoor

    Shaded or covered areas:

    Yes

    Accrediting agencies:

    No

    Tactile warning systems at vehicular crossings:

    No

    Signage indicating alternative access:

    No

    Public transport:

    Yes

    Accessible parking:

    No

    Accessible without having to negotiate any stairs or inclined paths:

    Yes

    Handrails on the ramps:

    yes at the EE cabin, but not at the office block

    Tactile warning or guidance system associated with ramps:

    No

    Security control at the entrance:

    Yes

    Intercom communication or push button at the entrance:

    No

    Clear opening width of the gate or first opening leaf of the entrance door:

    There is 24 hour security to open and close the main gate at the opening and closing times.
    Then they operate a manual boom gate for visitors

    Security control or intercom communication or push button systems at the entrance:

    Building 1: office block
    Building 2: EE cabin
    Building 3: Montispectus

    No buttons or intercoms at any of the buildings

    Type of entrance door:

    Manual opening for all buildings

    Door handles fitted to gate or door:

    Building 1: sliding door
    Building 2: sliding door
    Building 3: normal push down door handle

    Glass panels in the door:

    Building 1: yes glass sliding door
    Building 2: yes glass sliding door
    Building 3: no glass, wooden door

    Floor finish:

    Building 1: tiles
    Building 2: wooden
    Building 3: tiles

    Floor finish shiny or smooth:

    Building 1 & 3: smooth

    Floor finish slippery when wet:

    No

    Location of the reception desk clearly visible and easily identifiable from the entrance door:

    No

    Obstacles in the path of travel or close to the path of travel from the entrance door to the reception desk

    Building 1: not really, maybe table or chair as you have to move through the meeting room to get to the 'reception' or offices.

    There is not really a 'reception' as such. Most queries are answered at the Visitor controller office in the front where people pay entrance fees.

    Reception desk height:

    No desk, work through cash window

    Chair provided at dropped desk section or alternative desk:

    Building 1:
    There are chairs available in the office block meeting room

    Chair height:

    About 50 cm

    Colour of the wall or surface behind the reception desk:

    Building 1: white

    Background noise in the building:

    Building 1:Not normally
    Building 2: Might have noise from people using braai and picnic facilities or children playing around the EE cabin
    Building 3: no

    Communication aids available at the reception desk:

    Nothing

    Casual seating:

    Building 1: yes
    Building 2: yes
    Building 3: n/a

    Chair height:

    About 50 cm

    Clear signage in the building indicating the location of facilities including toilets:

    Building 1: yes
    Building 2: yes
    Building 3: n/a

    Colour of the lettering and signage:

    yellow lettering on green background

    Wheelchair accessible toilet facilities:

    Building 1: no
    Building 2: no
    Building 3: no

    Other workstations where visitors might need to sit:

    Picnic spots

    Leg space under the workstations or desks:

    Yes

    Chair available at these work stations:

    Yes, solid concrete, cannot be moved

    Chair has arm rests:

    No

    Electronic visual displays:

    No

    Electronic information available through computer terminals:

    No

    Other information available:

    A5 pamphlets/flyers

    Available in:

    Printed

    Available in large text format:

    No, but could possibly be printed bigger on request

    Available in braille:

    No

    Available in voice format:

    No

    Staff with sign language capability:

    no

    Loop systems installed in the building:

    No

    Type of product, facility or offering:

    Braai & picnic facilities at Eerstesteen
    Salt water fishing (with permit)
    Swimming at the beach
    Hiking trails from Eerstesteen and at Blaauwberg hill (self guided and guided hikes)
    Bird watching
    Viewpoints from Blaauwberg hill
    Overnight accommodation at Montispectus on Blaauwberg Hill

    Access to the PFO:

    Everything has to be accessed at or from Eerstesteen Resort where the offices and main entrance are situated.

    Distance from the main entrance to PFO:

    Braai & picnic facilities at Eerstesteen
    Salt water fishing (with permit)
    Swimming at the beach
    Hiking trails from Eerstesteen and at Blaauwberg hill (self guided and guided hikes): Blaauwberg hill is a 30 min drive from Eerstesteen
    Bird watching in the reserve from hiking trails
    Viewpoints from Blaauwberg hill:Blaauwberg hill is a 30 min drive from Eerstesteen
    Overnight accommodation at Montispectus on Blaauwberg Hill:Blaauwberg hill is a 30 min drive from Eerstesteen

    Facility Signage:

    Need directions/map to find your way to the Blaauwberg hill

    Eerstesteen Resort is signposted

    Access by car:

    Yes to all

    Access by other motorized vehicle:

    Buses,bikes and bicycles can access Eerstesteen
    Buses can access the Blaauwberg hill, only to the foot of the hill. This is only for organised groups.

    Access by pedestrian pathway:

    No

    PFO access for persons using a wheelchair, walker, or crutches :

    Braai & picnic facilities at Eerstesteen: wheelchair, walker, crutches
    Salt water fishing (with permit): walker (sea sand)
    Swimming at the beach: walker (sea sand)
    Hiking trails from Eerstesteen and at Blaauwberg hill (self guided and guided hikes): walker (dune sand)
    Bird watching in the reserve from hiking trails: walker (sandy areas)
    Viewpoints from Blaauwberg hill: wheelchair, walker, crutches (accessible by car)
    Overnight accommodation at Montispectus on Blaauwberg Hill: walker (steep path to overnight house, gravel on path)

    support system:

    No

    Accessible to person who has limited or no sight :

    Braai & picnic facilities at Eerstesteen: yes, If person are with other people with good sight then it should be fine
    Salt water fishing (with permit):
    Swimming at the beach:
    Hiking trails from Eerstesteen and at Blaauwberg hill (self guided and guided hikes): no, there are no hand rails to follow and for the one trail you have to cross the road
    Bird watching in the reserve from hiking trails:
    Viewpoints from Blaauwberg hill:
    Overnight accommodation at Montispectus on Blaauwberg Hill: maybe, if person is accompanied by another with good eyesight.

    Sight support system:

    No

    Accessible to person who has limited or no hearing:

    Braai & picnic facilities at Eerstesteen: yes, If person is with other people with good hearing then it should be fine
    Salt water fishing (with permit): yes, If person is with other people with good hearing then it should be fine
    Swimming at the beach:
    Hiking trails from Eerstesteen and at Blaauwberg hill (self guided and guided hikes): yes, If person is with other people with good hearing then it should be fine
    Bird watching in the reserve from hiking trails: yes, If person is with other people with good hearing then it should be fine
    Viewpoints from Blaauwberg hill: yes, If person is with other people with good hearing then it should be fine
    Overnight accommodation at Montispectus on Blaauwberg Hill: yes, If person is with other people with good hearing then it should be fine

    Hearing support system:

    No

    Facilities indoor vs outdoor:

    80 % outdoor, 20% indoor

Contact Details

Opening Times

  • Monday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
  • Tuesday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
  • Wednesday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
  • Thursday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
  • Friday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
  • Saturday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)
  • Sunday Eerste Steen braai and picnic facility: 08:00-19:00 (Nov-Apr), 08:00-17:00 (May-Oct)

Other Information

  • Friends of BCA Visit the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area for more information
    www.bca.org.za

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