The reserve was established in 1974 in order to conserve a local population of endangered Cape mountain zebra and their natural habitat. The terrain is rugged, with mountainous plateau incised by deep ravines. The main rock formations consist of Table Mountain quartzites and shales, and Bokkeveld sandstone and shales.
Situated within the Cape Floral Kingdom, which hosts one of the richest flora on earth, the reserve is of particular interest to botanists. Here, four of the South African biomes are represented, namely Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Evergreen Forest. The best times of the year to visit are in Spring and Autumn but visits throughout the year can be rewarding.
The rare and endangered Cape mountain zebra, leopard and honey badger are some of the reserve’s fauna highlights. Other mammals include eland, kudu, red hartebeest, grysbok, grey rhebuck, klipspringer, duiker, steenbok, baboon, caracal, aardvark, aardwolf, black-backed jackal and numerous smaller species. The reserve is host to a wide variety of birds, reptiles and insects. Gamkaberg is also rich in Khoisan rock art and early marine invertebrate fossils.