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Helderberg Nature Reserve

Olive Woodpecker by Frank Hallett April 2012
Olive Woodpecker - Frank Hallett
Birders at Helderberg Reserve
Birders at Helderberg Reserve
Victorins Warbler - Frank Hallet
Victorin's Warbler - Frank Hallet
African Olive (Rameron) Pigeon - Derek Longrigg
African Olive (Rameron) Pigeon - Derek Longrigg
Cape Batis - photograph by Greg Morgan
Cape Batis - Greg Morgan
Juvenile African Dusky Flycatcher. Photograph by Otto Schmidt
Juvenile African Dusky Flycatcher - Otto Schmidt

Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain, part of the Hottentots Holland range of mountains and overlooking False Bay.

The reserve of 405ha is owned and managed by the City of Cape Town with support of the Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve.

The upper slopes being mountain fynbos holding a variety of the Protea species, including sugar bushes, pincushions and cone bushes akong with Erica species. There is also a wide variety of geophytes, such as watsonias and orchids.

The lower slopes being sheltered lawns (ideal picnic areas), with streams, small ponds and a dam, Extensive paths and boardwalks make for easy access to all parts of the reserve. Walking trails with distances from 0.6 to over 10kms offer access to the higher slopes.   Take a route map from the Information Centre.

170 species have been recorded among which endemic fynbos species to be found are, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted, Malachite and Southern Double- collared Sunbird are numerous, while Cape Siskin and Neddicky are fairly numerous on the hiking trails. Victorin’s Warbler can be found in the undergrowth of the upper streams.

Indigenous forest lines the streams where resident Cape Batis and Dusky Flycatcher nest and in summer Paradise Flycatcher, with Black Saw-wing hawking insects overhead.

High up on the rocky slopes Cape Rockjumper is present and the uncommon Sentinel Rock Thrush can be seen. Disa Gorge a remnant patch of forest supports African Olive Pigeon and Olive Woodpecker, (Woodpeckers are very often in the car park as is Forktailed Drongo) which sometimes can be seen lower down among the trees around the lawns. Grassy areas have Cape Spurfowl feeding, along with Hadeda.


The large dam (known as the duck pond) has resident Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Duck,  Reed Cormorant, Grey Heron, Cape Weaver, Lesser Swamp and Little Rush Warbler occur, look out for Black Crake.

Raptors include Jackal Buzzard, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, African Harrier-hawk, Black-shouldered Kite, White-necked Raven, Rock Kestrel with Common (Steppe) Buzzard, Booted Eagle and Yellow-billed Kite in summer.

Fork-tailed Drongo and Amethyst Sunbird have moved in, in recent years.

The reserve also has a visitor’s centre, a restaurant, a gift shop and exhibitions.

An entrance fee is payable Vehicle R15.00, Adult R20.00, Child R10.00, Students and Seniors R10.00.

The reserve is open December to February 07.30 to 20.00,  March 07.30 to 19-00, April to October 07.30 to 15h30.

A full checklist of the bird species is available from the visitor’s centre.

For more information and to download a brochure, go to their website


The route to the reserve runs though suburban streets and can be tricky, look out for the signs.

From Cape Town (N2), turn left at Somerset West/Strand Intersection and then right into Main Road. Follow this road to the traffic lights at Lourensford Road. Turn left and follow Loursensford Road until you see the Shell Garage on your left. Turn left into Hillcrest Road and at the top turn right into Reservoir Road and continue to Verster Road and turn left and this will lead into the Reserve.


Helderberg directions map
Helderberg directions map
Helderberg Nature Reserve Site Map
Helderberg Nature Reserve Site Map
Mel Tripp and Jill Mortimer