About Outeniqua Nature Reserve

Not far from George on the Garden Route, Outeniqua Nature Reserve is easily accessible from Mossel Bay, Knysna and Oudtshoorn, the Outeniqua Nature Reserve is about a five-hour drive from Cape Town

Did you know? According to CapeNature, the name Outeniqua is believed to mean "those who bear honey" and is ascribed to the San and Khoi people who once inhabited the mountains. Their rock paintings are still found throughout the reserve.

The Outeniqua Nature Reserve lies in the heart of the Outeniqua Mountains, its 38 000 hectares divided up over the impressively solid barrier that separates the high rainfall, and subsequent abundance of the Garden Route, from the miraculously contrasting and arid Little Karoo.

And the mountains themselves follow suite - the southern slopes that gently roll towards the coastline enjoy bounteous mountain fynbos interspersed with pockets of indigenous forest in the gorges, whilst the side that leads into the hinterland of the Little Karoo with the Swartberg in the distance, is home to hardy succulents and other sturdy plants that withstand the almost desert conditions of this beautiful part of the country.

Five passes cross the reserve, and ten hiking trails, lead along the mountain face of the Outeniqua with incredible views over land and sea. There is a lot of history in these hikes and markers of some of the initial trails, which would have been used by settlers and explorers in ox-wagons, are carved on rocks; a sharp indicator of just how difficult it was to cross what must have seemed like an enormous obstacle back then.

Three overnight trails include the Tierkop Hiking Trail, the 35 kilometre Attakwaskloof Trail (more arduous), and the Doring River Wilderness Trail, advisable only for seasoned hikers. This 117 kilometre trail travels the length of the Outeniqua Nature Reserve and runs over a week, although it can be shortened.

There are also shorter hikes that take hours, as opposed to days, and are more enjoyable for day visitors.

Need to Know

WhereOuteniqua Nature Reserve, Heather Park, George, Garden Route, South Africa

WhenDaily from 07h30 to 16h00.

Telephone+27 (0)44 870-8323

OvernightStay in George Accommodation, Garden Route

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