Read more about Kogelberg area

The Area

The Overberg area is South Africa’s most southern region. A section of the coast is referred to as the Hangklip Coast. It includes towns like Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Hangklip, Pringle Bay and Rooiels. The thin belt between the Kogelberg mountains and the sea hosts many wonders: from high peaks and fynbos-covered mountain slopes, rough ravines, caves, rivers and streams tumbling over edges to pristine beaches. The indigenous forest and fynbos are home to a wide variety of animals, birds and insects.


The Kogelberg area has evidence of early stone age hunters, who probably lived off game, shellfish and edible plants. Khoi people inhabited the area from about 100 000 years ago until modern times, and their middens and burial sites can be found along the coast. Eighteenth century European explorers described the beauty of the area and the plentiful game, but early farmers found the area too rugged for agriculture. This meant that the Kogelberg was left practically untouched over the years, unlike many other areas of the Cape.

In 1810 the government of the Cape demarcated certain Crown Lands, which included the Kogelberg area. Access was extremely difficult until 1935 when a road was built. In 1937 the then Department of Forestry became responsible for the area and declared it a State Forest. During World War II, a military road was built around the coast and the peripheral coastal area slowly became more developed. Kogelberg was transferred to CapeNature in 1987, and declared a nature reserve.

Source: Cape Nature


Weather in the Western Cape Coastal region is mild Mediteranean.

The climate of the Kogelberg is fairly typical of the western Cape. Winters are cold and very wet, and snow may fall on the higher peaks. The summer months are hot, dry and often very windy. Hikers should note that the weather conditions are variable and unpredictable.

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

What is a biosphere?

In a biosphere reserve conservation and development co- exist in a sustainable way. The objective is to preserve Biodiversity, functioning ecosystems while meeting the material needs of an increasing number of people. The success of the initiative relies heavily on the commitment of the communities.

The area comprises of three zones:

The undisturbed core zone is rich in biodiversity and strictly protected. Low impact recreational and educational activities are allowed.

The buffer zone mainly comprises privately owned land where owners apply the principles of eco friendly farming and tourism. The buffer zone protects the core zone from developmental impact (Glen Craig is in the buffer zone)

Transitional zones are areas with intense human activity but are respectful of ecological principles

Written by: Amida Johns Botanist for the Kogelberg Environment

The Kogelberg Biosphere is truly a special environment

Just an hour out of Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa, lies an area of such natural beauty and floral diversity as to be recognized as perhaps world’s greatest biodiversity hot-spot.Size for size, this 100 000 hectare UNESCO registered Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is home to the most ocomplex biodiversity on our planet! Here we have some 1880 different plant species… the next richest is the South American rainforest with just 420 species per 10000 square kilometres!

Biosphere Reserves are ‘new concept’ reserves… nowhere do you see fences to keep ‘people’ out and ‘nature’ in… it is the commitment of local communities, farmers, conservation agencies and local government that protects the magnificent landscapes and unique biodiversity!

The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve begins in the Atlantic Ocean, 7.5 km off a rugged, rocky shore interspersed by glorious, golden sandy beaches. A zig-zag ribbon of narrow coastal plain is squeezed between the ocean and huge sandstone mountains. Contorted by their tumultuous birth some 300 million years ago, these awesome folded mountains and highland valleys are home to over 1880 different species of plants. 77 species within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve occur nowhere else on Earth (to put this in perspective, the whole of the UK has just 22 endemics).

Explore a celebration of Nature at its best.Ever changing vistas – from magnificent white beaches and wild rocky shores, sunsets over False Bay, rugged mountains rising from narrow coastal plains, to rose-edged vineyards and orchards in pockets of fertile soils in the highlands. Because of its spectacular seascapes and landscapes, and the richness of its flora and fauna, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve attracts people with a love of nature. Many are visitors and holidaymakers…others are residents and property owners.



The long isolation of the Kogelberg area has helped to protect its floral wealth and keep it clear of alien vegetation, and today the reserve presents perhaps the finest example of mountain fynbos in the Western Cape. It has a species list of 1 654 plant species, of which about 150 are endemic. 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 now known to occur on a few inaccessible peaks; and the highest concentration of Mimetes species in the Cape, most notably the endangered M. hottentoticus and M. capitulatus.

Kogelberg has three patches of relic indigenous forest, Louwsbos, Platbos and Oudebos. These patches are similar to the Knysna forests, and includes yellowwood, stinkwood and boekenhout trees. The Palmiet River and its associated riparian vegetation is of the most pristine in the south-western Cape. Wild almond, rooi-els, yellowwood and Cape beech are among the trees occurring in the riverine scrub along the water courses. Much of the early botanical documentation was done by T.P. Stokoe, a Yorkshireman who emigrated to South Africa in 1911. Stokoe collected numerous specimens in the Kogelberg, many of which were named after him, including the now extinct Mimetes stokoei. His ashes are scattered near Stokoe’s Bridge in the reserve.


The Kogelberg does not have many large animals. There are a few leopards; the Cape clawless otter may be seen in or near water; smaller antelope include klipspringer and grysbok; and baboons, dassies and hares are fairly common. Peregrine falcons, black eagles and fish eagles hunt and nest in and around the reserve. An endemic freshwater crab and the endangered micro-frog are found in the area. A herd of wild horses which were abandoned by a British garrison after the Anglo-Boer War roam the flats of the Bot River estuary at Rooisand.

Source: Cape Nature

The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden

The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden lies in the epicentre of the Cape fynbos region – a dedication to this natural shrubland vegetation with 10 hectares of cultivated fynbos garden, and a further 190 hectares of natural fynbos to gratify the visitor. The peaceful garden includes sweeping mountain slopes, deep gorges, and four vegetation types that occur naturally in the Overberg – afro montane forests, wetlands, coastal dunes and fynbos. Harold Porter is a magical display of proteas, ericas and leucadendrons set amidst meandering nature trails that take one up mountains, down gorges and through gardens in which some 60 species of bird, including the Cape sugarbird and the orange breasted sunbird, come to play.

Nestled between the sea and the mountain side, where streams and reflection pools feed the soul, the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden in the heart of the Cape’s richest fynbos region (1600 different plant species), is home to a spectacular variety of sugar bushes (Proteas), heats (Ericas), conebushes (Leucadendrons), and cape reeds (Restios).

This peaceful garden incorporates the four important vegetation types found in the Overberg and the most interesting messages are conveyed to the public about the amazing plant and animal life by means of informative storyboards. The afro montane forests, wetlands, coastal dunes and fynbos plants are well represented and can be experienced by means of self-guided paths or in the form of an organised tour where a guide will point out numerous features of plants and animals found in the region.

The Khoi-San indigenous garden features a selection of well known local useful and medicinal plants. This garden highlights the important roles that plants play in the cultures and traditions of South African people. The Khoi-San garden is an important educational feature in the garden.

The garden also offers a range of books, gifts and other interesting objects in the Honeybush Souvenir Shop and a restaurant and conference room. There is also an indigenous plants nursery, picnic areas and sunset concerts are hosted during the summer.


Stony Point Penguin Colony, Betty’s Bay

This was the first Penguin Reserve on the South African mainland, a breeding sanctuary for African Penguins. The breeding colony is now fenced off.



The Kleinmond area in the Overberg district comprise Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Rooiels. It has been a summer resort for farmers from the Caledon and Elgin areas since 1861. In 1948, a town council was elected, a highway constructed and the town developed. Kleinmond is a popular holiday resort within Sandown Bay and situated 3 km from the Palmiet River. The name comes from the `small mouth’ of the lagoon of the Bot River. Attractions include “Hans die Skipper”, home of the well-known late Afrikaans author, DF Malherbe. The Botriver Marsh is home to thousands of water fowl. Sailing is allowed on the marsh, but a permit is needed for fishing. In this area are the graves of two men who died at sea – Captain Gustaf Adolf and a passenger on a Norwegian ship, wrecked off the coast. The Kleinmond Coastal and Mountain resort has more than 1500 species of coastal and mountain fynbos, a milkwood scrub forest and 40 other tree species. There are several trails through the reserve as well as a 18 km hike, leading to tidal pools and inlets with a variety of marine life. It is also an ideal place from which to do some whale watching.

Betty’s Bay

Betty’s Bay is a small holiday town situated on the Overberg coast of South Africa’s Western Cape province. It is located 96 km from Cape Town beneath the rugged Kogelberg Mountains and is on the scenic R44 ocean drive between Pringle Bay and Kleinmond. This village is the longest in South Africa at over 13 km.Tourism plays a large role in the town’s economy due to the its popularity with holiday makers from across the Western Cape and Cape Town in particular. During Colonial times Betty’s Bay was a favourite place for runaway slaves, but in 1912 Betty’s Bay became a formal whaling station running up until the 1930s. Remains of the whaling station can still be seen at Stony Point. The area is named after Betty Youlden, daughter of the first developer of the area.

More information

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