Eastern Cape DestinationsVan Stadens, Port Elizabeth
The beautiful Van Stadens River area is a particularly unspoilt and natural spot still typical of the Eastern Cape that lies between Port Elizabeth and Jeffrey’s Bay. It isn’t difficult to understand the attraction of Van Stadens. Homes out this way are on the whole devoid of electric fences and towering walls that are ubiquitous in the major cities of South Africa; residents of and visitors to Port Elizabeth head out here over weekends to drink in the beauty of the surrounds and get away from it all.
Van Stadens River gorge is part of an initiative launched to protect the conservation value of the area, which encourages owners of natural land in the Van Stadens gorge and surrounding area to set aside part of their properties for the purpose of conservation. A mere 23 odd land owners live out here in this unspoilt corridor of land. The conservation intends to allow for the free movement of animals and plants via seed dispersal.
The Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve is a small 450 hectare reserve that is not only the oldest reserve in the country, easy to reach by car from Port Elizabeth and the place to commune with pristine fynbos and beautiful flowering plants, but it is also a wonderful day’s outing. Indigenous coastal forest, gorgeous river bank vegetation, succulents, ericas and other delightful plants, and a bevy of birds make visiting here almost obligatory.
There are two hiking trails within the reserve - a river walk of 4 kilometres and a 6 kilometre forest walk - picnic sites, paths and tracks that make ambling through here such a pleasure.