Doornkloof Nature Reserve, Northern Cape
Lying peacefully in the mountainous upper Karoo of the Northern Cape, just outside the little town of Colesberg (notorious for traffic fines if you’re travelling even remotely over the speed limit!), Doornkloof Nature Reserve is positioned at the top end of the southern shore of the Vanderkloof Dam – South Africa’s second largest water reservoir.
It shares this privilege with the Rolfontein Nature Reserve, which lies just north of Petrusville, a little further north of Colesberg. The Doornkloof Nature Reserve is a 9 388 hectare area that also incorporates a section of the Seekoei River, regarded as an important tributary of the Orange River. It is unsurprising then that some 173 species of birds, including 19 raptors, are often spotted here.
It is a particularly scenic reserve with an amazingly mountainous landscape and a consequent collection of deep, shady kloofs grown over with olive, buffalo-thorn and sweet thorn trees. Despite there not being many ‘true’ open plains in Doornkloof, the reserve harbours a fair amount of game on plateaus covered in sour karee and lovegrass that includes 46 different mammal species like the mountain reedbuck, buffalo, eland, kudu, the lurking brown hyena, the bat-eared fox and even the odd hedgehog.
Doornkloof Nature Reserve is wonderful for hiking. There is a two to three day hiking trail, but hikers can also apply to walk anywhere in the reserve and either sleep in the hiking hut provided, or anywhere in the veld. There are basic camping facilities available, and there are also picnic and braai areas on the Seekoei River bank at Roodewal.