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Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

  • 4.6

  • from 385 Google reviews

A sign on a dirt path in a forest
A sign on a dirt path in a forest

About the garden

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.

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. Sighting the forest emperor butterfly and a subspecies of the rare ghost frog would be the highlight of a visit here, as they can only be found in this particular forest.

Opening times

Office Hours | 07h30 to 16h30

Useful details

Cafe or restaurant

No cafe or restaurant on site



South Cape DC

Check local coronavirus guidance before you visit

Weather forecast


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Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve
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Google reviews

  • 4.6

  • from 385 Google reviews

R. Aquarius

a year ago


Beautiful forest reserve for hikes, walks and cycling. Friendly and helpful reception staff. The signage for the trails is somewhat confusing but fortunately we did not get lost. Huge trees, many birds and a stream provide a pleasant environment which can be enjoyed by young and old. We had our accommodation just outside the reserve.

Gail Meyer

6 months ago


Spent just 1 night in the Wooden Cabins, and it was fully kitted, the built in fireplace in the rainy weather was perfect. Just wished we hadn't been passing through the area. Would have loved to stay at least 3 more nights. Kids loved it, and were thrilled with the Baboons visits.... Took a damp (it had been raining) walk through the forest, not good for elderly in the wet, but we went anyway. And went to see the beautiful little waterfall. Finding Starfish Fungi was super cool. We will definitely be back. Hoping to Glamp....and explore some more in warmer weather. Gave it a 4 star because of how far the pool is....hopefully they build one closer to the campsite. But it's not too far from the Wooden Cabins.

Kobus van der Merwe

2 months ago


1 November 2022 Camp Site B7's view is blocked by a tree and feels smaller and awkward. We asked to be moved to B8 in the far, lower corner. B8 has two options to pitch your tent: a shady spot without a view and a spot with a view, but without shade. Pros: Great ablution blocks. Toiletpaper supplied Nice swimming pool area Play area Small fridge which we had to ourselves. The other parties were well equipped and probably had their own Cons: Lawns were mowed after 2 pm Monday afternoon (checkin time). Cell Phone reception is spotty Many views at the camp site are blocked by wooden walls. They are probably erected as windbreaks and privacy screens, but at the cost of blocking beautiful forest views The Trails: The Stinkwood Trail is awesome, especially if you make your way to the rock pools, which is the best part of the trail. The trails in general are easy walking, except for the path to the rock pools. They are rather technical but not hectic. The redwood trees are majestic and absolutely worth seeing. We passed at least 3 bird hides for those who like bird watching. Flowers are not plentiful, but the trees and ferns take absolute centre stage

Sean Jacobs

a year ago


Beautiful surroundings! Accommodation is not as modern as some other CapeNature reserves, but perfectly fine and comfortable. I would recommend an off-road / 4×4 vehicle for accessing the reserve and getting around once inside.

Craig Rossouw-Moss

3 months ago


Camped here shortly after their reopening. The camp site are grassed and come with their own braai area with water and electrical point. They are conveniently located close to the jungle gym, swimming pool and ablutions. There are multi day hike and short hike as well. A redwood forest and indigenous forest to walk through and explore. There is no shop in site but wood is sold. Bring your own dining water as the local water is river source and brown in colour.

Contact the garden

27 (0)28 492 0001

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