Coastal Hiking Trail – Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

Blaauwberg nature Reserve is a hidden gem along the Western Seaboard

 

 

This blog post is very similar my post on the Tygerberg Nature Reserve.

If you had to ask most Capetonians about a nature reserve in the Big Bay area, near Table View, I can guarantee you that you will probably get a blank stare in return.I had also never really heard the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve or that it had any hiking trails, which is crazy because we have lived in the Western suburbs for the past 6 years. There are 2 hiking trails on the reserve, one of which is open to the public while the other one can only be hiked on the last weekend of each month under the guidance of one of the committee members of the Friends of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area (FoBCA).

  1. The Coastal Hiking Trail     (4.4 km)
  2. The Two Hills Trail              (6.5 km)

 

How to get there

 

There are road signs indicating the way to the reserve along Otto du Plessis Drive.  From Marine Circle in Table View travel along Otto du Plessis Drive towards Melkbosstrand. Continue travelling straight over two traffic circles and passed Eden on the Bay (on the left) and the Seaside Village Shopping Centre (on the right). Approximately 1.4 km further along you will see the Eerstesteen resort turn off on your left hand side.

The trail starts at the following coordinates:

S 33⁰ 46.629′       E 018⁰ 27.026′

 

 

Opening Times and contact information:

 

The opening times of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve for hiking are:

Monday to Sunday:   08h00 – 19h00 [Nov – Apr]

Monday to Sunday:   08h00 – 17h00 [May – Oct]

The entrance fee (August 2017) for a adult is R15 and for children is R8. Pensioner are also charged R8. A vehicle fee of R23 is also charged if you want to park your vehicle inside the reserve.

For general enquiries contact  021 444 0454

You can email the Friends of Blaauwberg Conversation Area to arrange to take part in the Two Hills Trail.

No dogs are allowed in the reserve or on either of the two hiking trails.

 

 

The Speedy Review

 

The Coastal Hiking Trail was a very enjoyable walking trail through the coastal region of Big Bay. It was a very easy trail to walk with no hills to climb up or valleys to descend into and is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.  It is also a great place to go trail running in the Western Suburbs. It is exposed to the elements though so you would need to dress with the prevailing weather in mind.

We will definitely walk this trail again, especially since it is so close to home. We will also try and book for the Two Hills Trail to learn a bit more about the history of the area and the Battle of Blaauwberg that fought in 1806 between the Dutch and the invading British.

 

 

Trail Ninometer

 

 

 

Nina rated this trail 0/5 paw prints, because there are no dogs allowed in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve and she felt quite left out.

 

 

 

The Nitty Gritty

 

We tackled the Coastal Hiking Trail on Saturday 26 July 2017, setting off at 09h48. The trail begins across the road from the entrance to Eerstesteen Resort. In all fairness, it is more like a walking trail than a hiking trail.  Soon after ascending the beach sand pathway from the road, we came to a signboard with more details of the trail.

We walked passed the sign board and along the wide beach sand track. About 150m from the start of the trail, you will cross over a jeep track. Ignore the jeep track and continue walking on the beach sand track. The elevation at that point was 28 m.

30 m further along the trail, we came to a sign that directed us to the right. There is another signboard that points down the way we had walked. At this point on the trail, you have the choice of either following the directional arrows to the right on the circular track or you can turn left and walk against the directional flow on the circular track. Both options bring you back to the same place again.

 

 

The pathway has progressively more grass on it the further you walk along the trail.  The trail is very well sign posted and there is no chance of getting lost on this trail. When we walked along this section of the trail, a reddish brown medium sized buck jumped out from behind a bush and bounced away like an Impala over a small hill. There was no chance for me to even take my camera out of my pocket to take a photo of it. It was so fast that Belinda was walking 10 paces in front of me did not see it. We have had a looked in a few field guides on similar types of antelope that occur in the area, but we haven’t managed to identify it yet.

At 10h21, we reached a signboard that said we had arrived at a well point. On closer examination, all we found were leaves and dirt inside the well. We had covered a distance of 1.7 km to that point with a moving time of 25 mins. The elevation was 22 m.

At 10h33, we reached a t-junction on the trail. To the left was the lookout point and picnic area while the main trail continued to the right. We decided to turn left and see what we could see from the lookout point. The distance covered to that point was 2.1 km with a moving time of 33 minutes.  The elevation at the lookout point was 74 m which makes it the highest point of the Coastal Hiking Trail. There is a wooden picnic bench there were you can sit a take a break and enjoy a 360 degree view of the Reserve.  From the view point you have an unobstructed view of Table Mountain. You also have a view of Robben Island, but it didn’t feel high enough to get a proper view of the Island. I stood on the chair part of the bench to get a little bit extra height.  This marks the half way point of the trail.

The second half of the trail follows a similar terrain as the first half.  There are a few places where the pathway turns back on itself.  It does not disappoint with beautiful views of the surrounding nature. We finished the trail at 11h22, after walking a total distance of 4.4km.

 

 

Brief Overview of Fauna and Flora in the Reserve

 

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve marks the start of the West Coast flora and is one of the most intact and diverse lowland habitats around Cape Town.  The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is comprised of 3 very threatened lowland vegetation types.  These are the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and the Swartland Shale Renosterveld. There are two transitional vegetation types which can also be found in the reserve also occur. It is seldom that a combination of these different vegetation types is found in one conservation area.   In an area of approximately 2000 ha, more than 600 plant species (including 45 Red Data species) have been identified.   If you want more information on the reserve, you can visit the Friends of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area website.

There are a lot of small pretty flowers right on the pathway and at one point Belinda mentioned that she felt bad having to step on these small flowers while walking on the trail.

 

 

According to the Friends of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area website, the reserve is home to the following animal species:

  • 45 species of mammal.  Historically, many larger mammals existed and there are plans to re-introduce several of these species.
  • 30 species of reptiles
  • 4 amphibian species
  • 30 species of butterfly are known or anticipated to occur here. 2 Red Data mammal species have been recorded in the BBNR.
  • 169 bird species have been recorded, including the threatened African Black Oystercatcher.

You have to look quite carefully to spot some of the bird life.  We managed to catch a shot of a Black Shouldered Kite just before it flew off.  We also caught a glimpse of the resident owl, but he was too fast for us to photograph. When we arrived back at the Eerstesteen Resort, Belinda point out a tree that had several weaver nests hanging from it. There were one or two weaver birds very busy with weekend renovations. I managed to get a few good photos of them while on a break.

 

 

The Stats

The Coastal Hiking Trail is very well signposted, but there are no distance markers except for the 4.4km distance advertised at the beginning of the trail on a sign board.

Here are the hiking stats for this route:

Trip Odometer 4.4 km
Total Time 01h34
Moving Time 01h10
Moving Average 4.0 km/h
Overall Average 2.5 km/h
Max Speed 12.7 km/h
Elevation 8 m – 22 m

 

I have attached a GPS trip log for the hike, including a side elevation profile. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

 

 

 

 

 



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