Riviersonderend Conservation Area, Western Cape
The Riviersonderend conservation area surrounds the towns of Riviersonderend, Greyton, McGregor and Villiersdorp, 69 000 hectares of a combination of state land and private property that together has been declared a mountain catchment area, supplying the Greater Cape Town Metropolitan area with water.
It is without doubt a particularly beautiful part of the Cape Overberg. The Riviersonderend Mountain range hugs the conservation area, which is predominantly rugged, filled with forested kloofs, rivers, gorges and peaks that beg to be climbed. It is a hikers paradise, in other words. The mountainous parts of the conservation area extend along both the western and northern borders, covered by mountain fynbos and numerous hikes wend their way through the reserve.
The Genadendal hiking trail is but one of these. It begins and ends in the historic little town of Genadendal (take the time to visit the Moravian mission church) and is fairly demanding, although the panoramic views over the Worcester / Robertson Karoo and the Overberg are well worth the effort. The hike incorporates a 25 kilometre circular route that takes roughly two days.
Whilst the Riviersonderend conservation area is dominated by mountain fynbos, the Mediterranean climate supports other beautiful species such as ericas and proteas and the numerous water courses are lined with the likes of wild almond trees and stream conebush. Leopard tracks in the sand and scratch marks on the trunks of waboom trees are not uncommon, whilst sugarbirds, sunbirds and a fair number of raptors rent the air with their cries.