If you're a resident or even an annual visitor to Gansbaai, you’ve probably noticed a tortoise or two crossing the road...
The 800 hectares Heuningberg Nature Reserve is a wildflower garden that includes the Heuningberg Mountain. The reserve is a main attraction for Bredasdorp as the town is situated at the base of the mountain and the ideal place for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to begin their explorations.
A trek to the summit of the mountain rewards visitors with panoramic views that include Arniston and De Hoop to the east, Struisbaai and Soetanysberg to the south, Elim to the south-west and views across the Rûens and Riviersonderend Mountains to the north.
The Reserve had humble beginnings in 1964 when it was only 68 hectares in size and originally proclaimed the Bredasdorp Nature Reserve. At the time it was comprised predominantly of old quarries but the area was restored by terraces that can still be seen in the garden section today. In 1986 the Reserve was extended to include 800 hectares of land and the Heuningberg Mountain, which lead to the name being changed to the Heuningberg Nature Reserve. Half of the reserve is privately owned in the south around the Preekstoel rock.
Eps Joubert, who was once a teacher at the Bredasdorp High School, realised the value of the Reserve and initiated the clearance of alien vegetation as well as creating the hiking trails where people could really enjoy everything the Reserve has to offer. Where there were once patches of pines, gums, myrtle, acacias and rose in the garden there are now only indigenous plants. The reserve is made up of approximately 260 species of plants and 34 of which are endemic, such as the Bredasdorp Lily. Other flowers visitors can expect to find are Proteas, Serrurias, Ericas, Lobelias, Painted Ladies, Everlastings and more.
The Heuningberg Nature Reserve is a must for anyone visiting Bredasdorp as the mesmerising beauty of the fynbos is sure to capture the hearts and imagination of outdoor lovers. There are also many birds that are attracted by the fynbos and an array of petite fauna that will keep many on the lookout.