The Western Cape has an abundance of small mammals for game viewing, including springbok, duiker, rhebok, steenbok, klipspringer, Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, mongoose, African wild cat, wild horse, baboon, honey badger, mice, seals, and various frogs, lizards and snakes. A few of the Cape’s nature reserves are also home to caracal and leopard, but these predators are shy and seldom seen.
Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguin in the world. The reserve offers the public the chance to see these wonderful flightless birds up close, via the boardwalk through the colony, which allows the public to observe the penguins go about their daily activities in their natural habitat, without disturbing or disrupting them.
Gamkaberg Nature Reserve was established to protect a small, remnant herd of Cape Mountain Zebra. From just five in 1976, there are now between 40 and 50 at the reserve, making Gamkaberg a unique area for wildlife watching. There are also many species of buck, along with a variety of other wildlife, that can be viewed in the reserve.
De Hoop Nature Reserve has 86 mammal species, such as the bontebok, a species once on the brink of extinction due to hunting, human settlement and incorrect breeding practices. Today the bontebok is thriving at De Hoop along with Cape mountain zebra eland and grey rhebok. The nature reserve also has more than 260 bird species, including many water birds living around the De Hoop vlei. Potberg is home to the only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape. The De Hoop Marine Protected Area does not only protect the reserve and the coastline. It also stretches three nautical miles into the sea, protecting dolphins, seals, southern right whales and at least 250 species of fish.
Goukamma Nature and Marine Reserve was proclaimed a marine protected area in 1990 and it is heralded as one of the country’s conservation success stories. The reserve stretches along 16.5km of the coastline between Buffalo Bay and Platbank, and 2 500 hectares inland. It also extends into the ocean for 1.85km, (for a total area of 32km square) protecting an array of indigenous and endemic animal, bird and fish species.