Potberg at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Potberg Centre

Potberg is the larger of two environmental education centres on De Hoop Nature Reserve, on the southern Cape coast. De Hoop has mountains, fresh water streams, a large vlei and a long stretch of coastline, making it perfect for environmental education.

The reserve also has over 1 500 plant species, 86 mammal species (including the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra), about 260 bird species (including the Cape vulture) and nearly 50 reptile species. The De Hoop marine protected area, next to the reserve, is one of the best land-based whale-watching sites in the world.

School environmental programmes

Potberg’s approach to environmental education is based on active participation where learners are encouraged to learn about the environment through discovery, questioning, problem solving and critical thinking.

Potberg and Klippies (the smaller education centre) are available for self-guided environmental programmes for schools and research institutions. The following resources are offered:

  • A choice between two mountain trails (Potberg trail of 6.5km and Klipspringer trail of 6.1km with self-guided information pamphlet).
  • Night trails.
  • Resource library.
  • Environmental presentations and morning excursions (to be arranged with the Potberg environmental education officer before arrival).
  • Wildlife and ecology videos.

Accommodation

Potberg accommodates 25–60 learners, plus 2–4 programme coordinators (maximum 65).

Klippies accommodates 10–18 learners, plus 2 programme coordinators (maximum 20).

Visitors arrive at 14:00 and depart at 10:00. Potberg’s gate is locked at 18:00 (please inform the centre if you are arriving late).

Facilities at Potberg

  • Electricity.
  • Public telephone
  • Two dormitories, sleeping 20 and 40 people respectively.
  • Group leaders’ quarters with four beds.
  • Ablution facilities with hot-water showers.
  • Microwave oven, electric fridges, freezer, electric and gas stoves.
  • Kitchen equipment such as pots, pans, preparation and serving utensils available on request.
  • Braai facilities (including an initial supply of wood).
  • Large lecture room/dining hall.
  • Contact numbers for caterers in the area can be obtained from the Potberg office.

Facilities at Klippies

  • Electricity.
  • No public telephone (calls can be made at Potberg Centre).
  • Four bedrooms with bunk beds and one room with double sleeper couch.
  • Ablution facilities with hot-water showers.
  • Electric fridges, freezer and electric stove.
  • Kitchen equipment such as pots, pans, preparation and serving utensils available on request.
  • Braai facilities (including an initial supply of wood).
  • Dining room, outdoor recreation room and lab room with space for own computers.
  • Contact numbers for caterers in the area can be obtained from the Potberg office.

Please note:

Potberg does not provide transport for visiting groups. Acceptance of self-guided booking applications is subject to the submission of a course plan approved by the centre’s staff.

There must be at least one participating group leader for every 15 students. Leaders must ensure that everyone visiting the centre has an indemnity form completed by parents or guardians. They are also responsible for carrying a first aid kit at all times and providing toilet paper, dish cloths, dish towels, detergents, matches and refuse bags.

What to bring

  • Raincoat, jacket, jersey.
  • Walking shoes for mountain hiking and “slip slops” for wading in rock pools.
  • Swimming costume, swimming towel, hat and sunscreen.
  • Sleeping bag, pillow, extra blanket in winter.
  • Toiletries.
  • Plate, mug, cutlery, lunch box, water bottle.
  • Pen, paper, book to read.
  • Torch.
  • Medication for asthma and allergies must be carried at all times.
  • Optional extras, such as binoculars, camera, pocket money, musical instruments.