Outeniqua Nature Reserve, Garden Route
Not far from George on the Garden Route, the Outeniqua Nature Reserve lies in the heart of the Outeniqua Mountains, its 38 000 hectares divided up over the impressively solid barrier that separates the high rainfall, and subsequent abundance of the Garden Route, from the miraculously contrasting and arid Little Karoo.
And the mountains themselves follow suite - the southern slopes that gently roll towards the coastline enjoy bounteous mountain fynbos interspersed with pockets of indigenous forest in the gorges, whilst the side that leads into the hinterland of the Little Karoo with the Swartberg in the distance, is home to hardy succulents and other sturdy plants that withstand the almost desert conditions of this beautiful part of the country.
Five passes cross the reserve, and ten hiking trails, lead along the mountain face of the Outeniqua with incredible views over land and sea. There is a lot of history in these hikes and markers of some of the initial trails, which would have been used by settlers and explorers in ox-wagons, are carved on rocks; a sharp indicator of just how difficult it was to cross what must have seemed like an enormous obstacle back then.
Three overnight trails include the Tierkop Hiking Trail, the 35 kilometre Attakwaskloff Trail (more arduous), and the Doring River Wilderness Trail, advisable only for seasoned hikers. This 117 kilometre trail travels the length of the Outeniqua Nature Reserve and runs over a week, although it can be shortened. There are also shorter hikes that take hours, as opposed to days, and are more enjoyable for day visitors.
Accommodation nearbyCradock Pass
Featured Attractions / Activities
Did you know?
The Outeniqua Nature Reserve is a beautiful reserve to visit, especially during the flower season of September and October when ericas and proteas are in flower.