Because of the Kogelberg Nature Reserve exceptional quality of its fynbos, it is therefore often considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The reserve lies within the southern stretch of the rugged Hottentots Holland mountain range. Because of its rugged inaccessibility it has remained isolated and remarkably unspoilt. Its high mountain peaks, steep kloofs, valleys and several tributaries of the pristine Palmiet River create a sense of remote wilderness.
The Kogelberg is situated about 90 km south-east of Cape Town and comprises a core area of 18 000 ha and several smaller fragments. The Reserve is sign-posted from the coastal road (R44) where a gravel road leads for 3km through private property to the office. The coastal town of Kleinmond is about 8 km south-east of the reserve.
Because of the historical isolation of the Kogelberg area has helped to protect its floral wealth, therefore keeping it relatively clear of alien vegetation. So today the Reserve presents perhaps the finest example of mountain fynbos in the Western Cape. It has approximately 1800 plant species of which about 150 are endemic and therefore very special. Many spectacular members of the protea family occur in the reserve. These include the endangered marsh rose, Orothamnus zeyheri – once on the brink of extinction and fortunately now known only to occur on a few inaccessible peaks. The Reserve also has the highest concentration of Mimetes species in the Cape, at the top of the list the endangered M. hottentoticus and M. capitulatus.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve
The Kogelberg has three patches of indigenous forest: Louwsbos, Platbos and Oudebos. These patches are therefore similar to the Knysna forests and include yellowwood, stinkwood and boekenhout trees. The Palmiet River and its associated riparian vegetation is of the most pristine in the southwestern Cape. Wild almond, rooi-els, Breede River yellowwood and Cape beech are among the trees occurring in the riverine scrub along its water courses. Much of the area’s early botanical documentation was done by T.P Stokoe, a Yorkshire man who emigrated to South Africa in 1911. Stokoe collected numerous specimens in the Kogelberg, many of which were named after him. His ashes were scattered near Stokoe’s Bridge in the Reserve.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve
The Kogelberg Reserve does not have many large animals, although leopards have been sighted. As well as leopards, the Cape clawless otter may be seen in or near the Palmiet River. Smaller antelope include grey rhebuck, klipspringer and grysbok, while baboons, porcupine, mongoose, dassies and hares are fairly common.
Peregrine falcons, black eagles and fish eagles hunt and nest in and around the Kogelberg Reserve. An endemic freshwater crab and the endangered microfrog are also found in the area. A herd of wild horses that were abandoned after the Anglo-Boer War, roam the flats of the Bot River estuary at Rooisand Nature Reserve. Its also believed that the surviving horses from the Birkenhead disaster also joined the wild horses from the Anglo-Boer war.