Eastern Cape Game and Nature ReservesThe Maitland Nature Reserve
Port Elizabeth’s Maitland Nature Reserve is a rich source of natural beauty and variety. It boasts indigenous coastal forest, stunning views of the Indian Ocean and impressive giant sand dunes.
The Maitland Nature Reserve is situated on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth’s residential areas, and is neighbour to a number of farms and smallholdings. This reserve is a rich source of natural beauty and a variety of fauna and flora. It was established in 1975 and has made a name for itself in the community of Port Elizabeth and amongst those from further abroad with an appreciation for the outdoors.
The Maitland Reserve spans some 250 hectares and boasts spectacular indigenous coastal forest, which is home to its own unique combination of plant- and animal life. The animals that can be found here are not confined to the many different bird species, but there are also antelope (like the Blue Duiker), small mammals (such as wild bush pigs) and reptiles. Visitors are advised to bring a pair of binoculars along to spot some of the impressive avian species soaring overhead.
Maitlands is also renowned for its giant sand dunes, which not only provide breath-taking backdrops, but are also loads of fun to climb, sand board, or simply roll down. Young and old alike love exploring the dunes and enjoying the dizzying heights.
There are three walking trails, hiking trails or wildlife walks through the Maitlands Nature Reserve. These are of different lengths, and suitable for folk with moderate fitness abilities.
1. The Sir Peregrine Maitland Nature Trail – a three-kilometre trail that follows the old wagon path and is manageable for most.
2. The De Stades Nature Trail – this trail is nine kilometres long, and promises views of the sand dunes that are nothing short of magnificent.
3. The Igolomi Trail – this is a four-kilometre trail and passes through the dense Eastern Cape forest, giving its visitors a very special peek into the untouched splendour of the countryside.
Those embarking on these trails should do so in a group, and should always wear comfortable shoes and plenty of sunscreen.
Being situated very close to the Maitland River Mouth, which leads out into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, visitors to the Maitlands Nature Reserve are assured of incredible views. Between the months of July and December, whales can be seen frolicking in these waters. Whale watchers should keep an eye out for humpbacks and southern rights as they breach and lobtail just off the Eastern Cape coastline.
The Maitland Nature Reserve is a great retreat for day visitors wanting some time out, or for visitors that want to get the most out of their time in the Eastern Cape.
Activities in and near Maitland Nature Reserve
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More info and photographs: Maitlands Beach
Algoa Bay Whale Watching
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More info and photographs: Algoa Bay Whale Watching