Situated a mere 30km from Cape Town, The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve boasts spectacular views down fynbos slopes, across the cityscape and over 7km of rocky, sandy coastline to the ocean and beyond.
It is also one of the few viewpoints in the world from where you can see two proclaimed World Heritage Sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island.
The reserve conserves three critically threatened vegetation types and its rich biodiversity also embraces a wetland, 559 plant species, almost 50 mammal species, over 160 bird species and 30 reptile species, as well as various amphibians.
The nature reserve office and environmental education centre are located on the oceanside of the reserve in the Eerstesteen Resort which also offers great picnic and barbecue facilities alongside the pristine white beach. Wooden boardwalks lead over the low dunes to the beach, which makes for wonderful long walks in either direction but, as this is an exposed stretch of coastline, the surf is often too rough for safe swimming.
Further along are several other interesting bays and beaches, including Derdesteen, a popular surf spot, and Kreeftebaai, where the beach is separated from the sea by a rocky section of shoreline. Next along is Kelpbaai, named for its kelp beds, and Haakgat which is popular with surfers and kitesurfers. The last beach before Melkbosstrand is Holbaai (hollow bay), but whether it was named by anglers for its fishing hollows, or by surfers for its hollow barrel waves, is uncertain.
Also within the conservation area of Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is the site of the 1806 Battle of Blaauwberg, which was waged on the plains below Blaauwberg Hill and the slopes of neighbouring Kleinberg in January 1806. The British troops landed from warships anchored off Losperd’s Bay (now called Melkbosstrand) and, beating the Dutch, they established British rule in South Africa for the second time. The battle ended with the signing of the provisional Articles of Capitulation on 10 January under a milkwood tree in the area now known as Woodstock. The ‘Treaty Tree’ still stands today, and in 1967 was designated a National Monument. Several buildings which were constructed on Blaauwberg Hill for radar and artillery purposes during World War II can also still be visited today.
The area also contains World War II relics, as well as shell middens left by KhoiSan ‘strandlopers’ from precolonial days.
Distance from Cape Town: 23.6km
Where: Cape Farms, just north of Blaauwberg on the R27 or Otto Du Plessis Drive
Coordinates: 33°46′05″S 18°27′10″E
Contact: 021 554 0957/ 021 444 0454 (Eerstesteen Resort)