Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

Vrolijkheid lives up to its name – happiness – when bright orange botterblom daisies decorate the reserve in spring

Please note the swimming pool is currently out of operation due to the ongoing upgrading of the water reservoirs in the area. The pool is expected to reopen in August 2017.

Vrolijkheid is a striking, rugged nature reserve in the Breede River valley, about 15km south of Robertson on the road to McGregor. The rocky landscape is starkly beautiful, dominated by patches of succulents, dwarf trees and shrubs. In spring, Vrolijkheid lives up to its name –happiness – as splashes of bright orange botterblom daisies decorate the reserve.

The vegetation in this area of the Little Karoo is known as Robertson Karoo vegetation, with guarri, karee and melkbos shrubs, patches of mountain renosterveld and sweet-thorn trees. Grasses are scarce in this arid area, which has extremely high temperatures from November to March every year.

Vrolijkheid has five new self-catering accommodation options, each sleeping up to eight people, and fully equipped inside, with a braai area outside each, as well as jacuzzi’s in two of the units, and a pool in one of the units.

To find out more, download the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve brochure and map.

The map and brochure for the Boesmanskloof Trail between McGregor and Greyton can be downloaded here.

How to get there

From Cape Town: Take the N1 highway towards Paarl and travel for about 110km. Turn right onto the R60 and then left onto Robertson Road. Continue along this road and then turn right onto Reitz Street. About 13km further along, you will find the entrance gates of the reserve. This route is about 171km and should take about two hours.

GPS: 33 55 3.84 S  19 52 39.04 E

Office hours: 07:30–16:00

Tel: +27 (0)23 625 1621
Emergency tel: +27 (0)82 496 2448
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190

Accommodation

Self-catering

  • Ichelesi

    Ichelesi is the most recently renovated cottage available to stay in at Vrolijkheid.

    It accommodates up to eight people. There are four bedrooms, two with a double bed and two with two single beds. The cottage also features an outside braai area and a swimming pool.

    Electricity: Yes
    Bathrooms: Two, with hot water showers
    Kitchen: Stove, fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster
    Bedding, linen and towels: Yes
    Fireplace: Indoor fireplace and outside braai, grid available (wood is not provided)
    Disabled access: No
    Pets welcome: No

  • Bakoorvos and Silwervos

    Bakoorvos and Silwervos are two of the four newly renovated cottages available to stay in at Vrolijkheid.

    Both can accommodate up to eight people each. There are four bedrooms in each, two with a double bed and two with two single beds. The cottages also feature an outside braai area.

    Electricity: Yes
    Bathrooms: Two, with hot water showers
    Kitchen: Stove, fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster
    Bedding, linen and towels: Yes
    Fireplace: Indoor fireplace and outside braai, grid available (wood is not provided)
    Disabled access: No
    Pets welcome: No

  • Luiperd and Rooikat

    Luiperd and Rooikat are two of the four newly renovated cottages available to stay in at Vrolijkheid.

    Both can accommodate up to eight people each. There are four bedrooms in each, two with a double bed and two with two single beds. The cottages also feature an outside braai area, with a jacuzzi for entertaining.

    Electricity: Yes
    Bathrooms: Two, with hot water showers
    Kitchen: Stove, fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster
    Bedding, linen and towels: Yes
    Fireplace: Indoor fireplace and outside braai, grid available (wood is not provided)
    Luxury amenities: Jacuzzi
    Disabled access: No
    Pets welcome: No

Activities

  • Picnicking

    Vrolijkheid has a lovely picnic area near the entrance, where visitors can enjoy the reserve’s tranquil beauty.

  • Mountain biking

    Vrolijkheid has a scenic 8km mountain bike trail that meanders through the reserve. The trail takes about an hour. We suggest you start early, as the area gets extremely hot around midday. Please stay on the marked route.

  • Hiking and Walking

    There are three day hikes in the reserve: Rooikat, Heron and Boesmanskloof. The trails vary in difficulty, each offering views of the striking landscape.

    Hiking trails

    Hiking options range from day hikes to more strenuous overnight experiences. Each offers hikers something different in terms of scenery, habitats and birdlife. In summer, hikers should set out early in the morning to avoid walking during the heat of the day. Trails may be closed at certain times of the year depending on the weather conditions.

    Help us protect nature

    No pets/no firearms/no fires/no picking of flowers or collecting of seeds.

    Permits

    Permits may be purchased for R40 per adult and R20 per child at the reserve office or through CapeNature Central Reservations.

    Trail preparation

    • Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
    • Do not hike alone.
    • Carry enough food and water with you.
    • Make sure you know what the weather conditions are before you depart.
    • Take a warm jacket/raincoat in winter.
    • Make sure you have a relevant map of the area.
    • Take a field medical kit with you for emergencies.
    • Obey all signage.
    • Stay in a group and on the trails.

    Rooikat Trail

    Trail distance: 19km
    Estimated time: 8 hours

    This circular trail winds up around the Elandsberg Mountains. On the way, you’ll see stunning views of the Langeberg and Riviersonderend Mountains, and the odd springbok nibbling on the succulent Karoo vegetation. The route is fairly strenuous and it can be very hot during summer. There is no water available along the route. If you set out early, you should make it back before nightfall. Start your outing with a visit to the information centre at the entrance for more information on the reserve and its vegetation.

    Heron Trail

    Trail distance: 3km
    Estimated time: 1 hour

    This easy hike takes you to two shimmering dams, the first with a wonderful bird hide and the second with two bird hides, one of which is wheelchair-friendly. The trail is surrounded by succulent Karoo vegetation, with informative boards that provide facts about the reserve. 

    The Braille Trail

    Trail distance: 1km
    Estimated time: 1 hour

    The Braille trail is a new trail for visually impaired visitors that follows the first kilometre of the Heron Trail (above). It leads to the first bird hide and back and has boards with interesting information in braille along the route.

    Boesmanskloof Day Trail

    Trail distance: 14km
    Estimated time: 6-7 hours

    The trail is approximately 14 km and can be hiked in one day, starting from either McGregor or Greyton. Hikers should note that on the Greyton side the trail starts just outside Greyton and that the first 6 km is on a jeep track up to the view point. On the McGregor side the trail starts approximately 14 km to the south of McGregor at Die Galg, and transport should be organised accordingly.

    The trail winds through the Riviersonderend Mountains, passing through the beautiful Riviersonderend Conservation Area. Stop for a well-deserved rest at Oakes Falls – a breathtaking series of cool waterfalls and pools.

    Multi-day hiking

    The Boesmanskloof Two-Day Trail and the Genadendal Trail (also two days) are strenuous hikes that are well worth the effort.

    Boesmanskloof Two-Day Trail

    Trail distance: 28km (14km per day)
    Estimated time: 2 days

    Hikers should note that on the Greyton side the trail starts just outside Greyton and that the first 6 km is on a jeep track up to the view point. On the McGregor side the trail starts approximately 14 km to the south of McGregor at Die Galg, and transport should be organised accordingly.

    The trail winds through the Riviersonderend Mountains, passing through the beautiful Riviersonderend Conservation Area. Stop for a well-deserved rest at Oakes Falls – a breathtaking series of cool waterfalls and pools. The route is fairly strenuous and it can be very hot during summer.

    Hikers can overnight in McGregor or Greyton, depending on where the hike started, where ample private accommodation is available. Private overnight facilities are also available at Die Galg. Click here to download the Boesmanskloof hiking trail brochure for more details (brochure will open in a new tab).

    Genadendal Trail

    Trail distance: 25.3km (first day – 14.3km and second day – 11km)
    Estimated time: 15 hours (first day – 8 hours and second day – 7 hours)

    This beautiful, challenging trail winds through private property and the conservation area on both sides of the Riviersonderend Mountains. The route provides panoramic views of the Overberg and the Worcester-Robertson Karoo region.

    The trail begins and ends in Genadendal at the historic Moravian Mission Church, which dates back to 1738. Overnight facilities are available at the church for hikers who prefer to stay the night before starting their hike.

    On the first day, hikers make their way past two pools at Groot and Klein Koffiegat, before ending their day at Die Hoek farm on the north side of the mountain. Overnight accommodation, including braai facilities, is available here. On the second day, the trail leads back to Genadendal. The route is fairly strenuous and it can be very hot during summer, while winters are cold and wet. Hikers should adhere to weather warnings as the trail can be dangerous in extreme conditions. Please note that hikers need to book the trail and accommodation separately. Contact CapeNature Central Reservations for details.

    Maximum 24 hikers per day, with maximum 14 people per group.

  • Bird watching

    Vrolijkheid has a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk and bird hides allowing visitors to enjoy the reserve’s 175 species, including the pale chanting goshawk and the African fish eagle.

Location

Conservation

Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve Conservation

The Robertson Karoo vegetation in Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve is endemic to this area. Vrolijkheid is home to klipspringer, grysbok, grey rhebok and springbok. Caracal are also found on the reserve, but these shy cats are rarely seen. There are a total of 175 bird species, including the jackal buzzard, the African and pale chanting goshawk, and the black and African fish eagles. The dams on the reserve also attract a variety of water birds. Vrolijkheid has an abundance of frogs and reptiles, including the rare Robertson dwarf chameleon.

The Friends of Vrolijkheid, is an organisation which supports Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, and promotes nature conservation in the locality. Fundraising and social occasions are organised, as well as an annual quiz, and educational events. They have an active Facebook page, which encourages people to share photographs of the reserve and local wildlife. A newsletter, The Rooikat, is published three to four times a year, with a focus on articles relevant to the Breede River area. If you have an interest in our work, please contact the Conservation Manager at Vrolijkheid, Piet van Zyl, on pvzyl@capenature.co.za.

4 Reviews

A Magical Getaway To The Kite House PLUS What To Do McGregor!! | The Mom Diaries, May 26, 2017 - Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

[…] Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve – a circular mountain bike route as well as lovely walks to bird watching points and […]

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Enjoyable stay at Vrolikheid nature reserve

Barbara Jenman, May 16, 2016 - Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

Our party stayed 4 nights in 2 chalets- mid May 2016-very comfortable- but more important for me was the rambling hike through the nature reserve one morning- to witness interesting succulents of Karoo type vegetation. Other different hikes with mountain fynbos are nearby and as well as eating out places - a good getaway from home life.!

Reply

Things to do in McGregor - Getaway Magazine, Oct 8, 2014 - Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

[…] Take a picnic and make a day of it (there is a picnic spot near the entrance), or spend a night or two in self-catering accommodation. Conservation fee R40 for adults and R20 for kids. Tel 023 625 1621, www.capenature.co.za/reserves/vrolijkheid-nature-reserve. […]

Reply

Food, art, wine and whisky at the Mmm... McGregor Festival - Getaway Magazine, Sep 10, 2014 - Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

[…] excursion was “Spring Brunch in the Bush” at Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve just outside of McGregor. We stopped in at Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary en route to pick up our […]

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Bookings are processed through our Call Centre during office hours Monday to Friday 07h30 to 16h30 and Saturday 08h00 until 12h00 noon (CAT).

Our friendly tourism booking officers will take you through the booking process and answer all enquiries.