Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve – 35km from Barrydale


Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, is situated approximately 35km south-east of Barrydale. It was named in 1723 after landowner Roelof Oelefse, who was then known as the ‘Groot Vader’ (Great Father) of the region. The reserve includes a 250ha strip of pristine indigenous forest with nearly all of the 35 typical forest tree species and is home to ancient yellowwood, stinkwood, red alder and ironwood trees.

One can expect to see great indigenous forest trees, uncommon forest birds and small mammals such as the ubiquitous bushbuck. There are 3 easy to moderate day time trails, ideal for hiking or mountain biking.

  • The BusbuckTrail: This beautiful route wanders through mountain fynbos and indigenous forest, providing a shaded and relatively easy hike for all ages.The route loops in and around the indigenous forest, affording hikers the opportunity to visit both bird hides in the forest, as well as taking them past most of the tree species in the reserve.
    Trail distance: 10km | Estimated time: 3-4 hours
  • Grysboksirkel: This trail takes you out of the forest-covered valley, up the mountainside through the fynbos area, and on to the ridge of the hills bordering the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area. The hike is a loop and will bring you back to the reserve road.
    Trail distance: 15km | Estimated time: 5-6 hours

Birders can roost in two different blinds and start ticking off up to 200 species, including endemics such as the Knysna woodpecker, Knysna and Victorin’s warblers, the forest canary and Cape siskin.

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.

How to get there


Make your way back onto the R62 in the direction of Cape Town. When you exit the town, turn left onto the R324 in the direction of Suurbraak / Swellendam / Heidelberg. Follow this road for approx. 17km until you get to a T-Junction. Turn left onto the R322 in the direction of Heidelberg. Follow the road for approx. 10km, then keep left at the next fork in the road. The reserve is well signposted. The road ends at the entrance gates.

Opening Hours: 7:00 – 18:00
Conservation Fee: Adults = R40 | Kids = R20 | Wildcard = Free
Reserve Tel: +27 (0)28 722 2412
Website: www.capenature.co.za/reserves/grootvadersbosch-nature-reserve