Be young in the wild with free entry to CapeNature reserves on Youth Day

2019-06-10 10:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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On 16 June, take a hike through the prettiest reserves in Western Cape - for free. 

CapeNature will be opening all their reserves for free to anyone under the age of 35 on the public holiday.

You can go hiking the Hottentots Holland mountains, get lost among the trees of Grootvadersbosch, look out for whales in De Hoop or kayak the river in Goukamma.

CHECK OUT: Youth Day long weekend: Where to get out and about across SA

Here's what you need to know

  • Visitors will need to provide an identification document to verify their age – free access applies only to all persons aged 35 and under (born in 1984 or later).
  • The free access fee will pertain to general access (conservation fee) and hiking, mountain biking and picnicking. The waiver does NOT apply to the Whale Trail or concessions (including canopy tours, bouldering, horse riding etc).
  • Normal rates and access fees apply for any accommodation booked online or through the call centre.
  • Access to Protected Areas during the CapeNature Access Week will be conducted during regular reserve hours and applies to entries at CapeNature reserve gates.
  • This promotion is not applicable to Monday, 17 June 2019.

Can't decide where to go? Here's our top choices.

READ: SA school holiday fun: Here's how to make it awesome this winter

Gamkaskloof (Swartberg)

There are few places in South Africa as off the grid as a 4x4 drive down Gamkaskloof - also known as Die Hel - where the road ended up being the demise of a century-old community.

Today, it falls under the management of CapeNature's Swartberg Nature Reserve, who has renovated the abandoned cottages into self-catering units for those willing to tackle Die Hel 4x4 road. 

Read more here. 

De Hoop

Head to the Karoo or Klein Karoo and you'll see flat, naked veld. Drive up the West Coast and fynbos and sand dunes meet you with its sharp contrasts in colour. Go to Hermanus for whale-watching and wine tasting in the Hemel-and-Aarde valley. Or, just go to De Hoop where you'll find all of it in one place. And even a look at the extremely endangered Cape vultures seeking its next tasty rotting meal.  Driving into the De Hoop Nature Reserve you are confronted with Mother Nature. Here, the landscape changes rapidly. 

Read more here. 


The big 2017 fire left its mark on the Goukamma Nature Reserve, but it's slowly recovering with a burst of new life and colour. 

The main attraction is the river however, its source coming from Groenvlei Lake - the Garden Route's only freshwater-lake. It's an easy paddle up and down the river from the riverside picnic area (you can rent canoes from CapeNature), which goes all the way to the ocean.

Read more here. 


Grootvadersbosch is some 250ha including the Cape afrotemperate forest of the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area - between Swellendam and Heidelberg - the focus is entirely on relaxation, back-to-basics nature and just being able to enjoy the essence of being. The only thing falling will be your stress levels.

Read more here. 


From bouldering to thousand-year-old trees to the communities that shape its cultural heritage, the Cederberg Wilderness Area is a place where the heart goes quiet.

It's a landscape that feels like it belongs on another planet, and that at any moment you just might start running out of oxygen. But what runs out instead is life's baggage, deflating away into cool rivers, dances in the dust, pink proteas and ancient trees fighting against its own extinction. 

Read more here. 

Kogelberg and De Mond

You can do two reserves in one weekend! De Mond Nature Reserve is a coastal reserve embracing almost 1000 hectares. Ocean lovers will relish having kilometers of unspoilt beach to explore; the nearest coastal towns are a 13km walk in either direction. Various walks offer you the chance to explore the 11km-long estuary, fynbos dunes, and shoreline.

One of the highlights of Kogelberg, is visitors are able to enjoy the Cape Floral Kingdom’s incomparable plant biodiversity – which has earned the site recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best way to explore this is through the various hikes on offer – which are some of the most spectacular in the Western Cape.

Read more here. 

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