Limietberg Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Lying in the Du Toitskloof Mountains close to Paarl, Limietberg Nature Reserve is a beautiful space in which to spend time, particularly if you are a hiker.
There are nine separate hiking trails that wind through fynbos, indigenous forest, rugged and steep kloofs, and valleys through which the Breede and Berg rivers flow. Limietberg Nature Reserve stretches all the way from Franschhoek in the south to Voλlvlei dam in the north and Groot Drakenstein to the east. The reserve is filled with stunning views, peaceful moments, tranquil walks and clear rock pools for weary walkers on warm days. You can also hope to spot the dassie, baboon, klipspringer and occasional leopard, but it is the endemic birds - the Cape sugarbird and protea canary - that steal the show. The black eagle and other raptors are also regularly seen in the reserve.
The Tweede Tol picnic area is a beautiful space in which to picnic, and thankfully restricted to 120 people per day. You can now book ahead of time, but if you havent, it is best to arrive early during busy periods. The picnic area now has a jungle gym to keep children amused. There is also a campsite in Bainskloof Pass with 25 shady and pretty sites.
Hikers are encouraged to come prepared as rescue operations are virtually impossible, should you get caught in any of the often unpredictable conditions - weather is pretty variable in this mountainous terrain. But as long as one is in a group with experienced hikers, the beauty of the reserve easily compensates for any trepidation of a change in weather.