Hiking Hermanus is almost synonymous with the Fernkloof Nature Reserve because it forms an integral part of the hiking experience. Most of the famous ‘Cliff Path’ walk from the New harbour to Grotto beach falls under the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve.
There are almost 60 kilometers of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty to choose from.
And because hiking is not for everyone, the Fernkloof Reserve has a botanical garden at the entrance of the reserve. They have rolling lawns, and wheelchair friendly, tree-lined parkland areas. The reserve covers 18 square kilometers, and has 2000 plant species. Hence new species are being discovered all the time by the very active botanical society.
The Hermanus Fernkloof Hike botanical society runs the reserve. Together with the local Hermanus municipality. So the reserve has a wide variety of habitats, from afromontane forests to rocky cliffs.
Hermanus also has a wheelchair friendly cliff path along the coastal strip which borders the town. And for the more adventurous, there is also an overnight hut on Galpin Peak. The peak is 596 meters above sea level on the Hermanus Fernkloof hike.
Flora and Fauna
When hiking Hermanus you will experience the Fynbos which is one of the most distinctive vegetation types in South Africa. It is characterized by evergreen heaths, shrubs, and Proteas on the Hermanus Fernkloof hike. Then on the lower slopes of the reserve are beautifully laid out botanical gardens for those not wishing to, or unable to hike.
All paths within the gardens are wheelchair and pushchair friendly. Along with the ablutions which are also wheelchair friendly, and the garden has lovely shaded areas with picnic benches. The bird life in the botanical garden is amazing on the Hermanus Fernkloof hike. So from one of the shaded benches one will be able to spot the numerous endemic species. The garden is a birders paradise.
Cape Floral Kingdom
The Cape Floral Kingdom falls within the smallest of the six Floral Kingdoms in the world. Hence it is the only one contained in its entirety within a single country. So the Cape Floral kingdom is 9 644 square kilometers, and has about 9000 species. In contrast to the British Isles which is 320 000 square kilometers with only 1 500 species.