Western Cape Game and Nature ReservesThe Tygerberg Nature Reserve
Tygerberg Nature Reserve in the northern suburbs of Cape Town is one of several inner city reserves managed by the City. Tygerberg, in particular, protects critically endangered Swartland shale renosterveld.
The 309 hectare Tygerberg Nature Reserve stands on a series of hills with incredible 360 degree views over Cape Town. Sit awhile on the west side, once you've climbed the highest point of the reserve (not a difficult task as the entrance is virtually at the top anyway) and watch the planes coming in to land at Cape Town International Airport just 16 km from here. There is a picnic area up here beneath the trees.
Despite sounding as though the hills (there are several) should belong to tigers, it is actually bontebok that once again roam the reserve as they did years ago – they have recently been re-introduced.
The 'tyger' possibly refers to leopards that early travellers mistook for 'tijghers'. Others claim that it is simply the blotched look of the hills that might remind one of the patterns on a leopard's pelt. Whichever it is, the hills became known as Luipaerts Berghen or leopard's mountain, which was changed to Tijgerberghen (tiger mountain) in 1661. Now it's simply known as Tygerberg.
Scientists think that the hills are the remains of ancient termite nests, and the plants that grow on them differ from the surrounding veld.
There are 562 different plant species within the small reserve. Of these 23 are Red list species, eight are found only in Cape Town, and three are endemic to the reserve. There are also over a hundred bird species and a variety of wild mammals, reptiles and frogs.
Thirteen kilometres of self-guided walking trails make it a natural inner city destination over weekends for hikers, walkers and trail runners. There is also a wheelchair accessible loop trail.
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