Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Just outside Stellenbosch, lying in the beautiful Jonkershoek Valley, is Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve. It is a particularly scenic nature reserve set on the Eerste River with the Stellenbosch Mountain in the background and SAFCOL plantations and vineyards the immediate neighbours to the reserve - such beauty in close proximity to a large town like Stellenbosch is a find indeed.
You need advance warning, however, if you are heading off to Assegaaibosch over a weekend, as they no longer take entry bookings but rather allow admission on a first come first served basis. Since they limit the number of people allowed in the reserve to 60, getting there early for your picnic is probably a good idea.
Youll understand what the attraction is once there, however. Pretty walking trails through the nature reserve, both up into the mountains and down along the Eerste River, make coming here extremely pleasant, as does the wildflower garden and picnic area. Take the just short of 3 kilometre meander from the picnic site to the wild flower garden where the examples of fynbos are particularly beautiful. The reserve is also popular with mountain bikers.
The homestead in the reserve is a gorgeous example of historical Cape Dutch architecture. It hails back to the days when Assegaaibosch was a farm, originally given to a Wouter Eduard Wium, provided Wouter grow copious numbers of oak trees, hence the fine examples in and around the homestead.
There are over 135 species of birds in the reserve, frog calls are heard loudly during the season and the rock agama, in particular, makes his presence felt with his distinctive head-bobbing on rocky outcrops.