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CapeNature landscapes
Landscape East

Landscape East


Landscape East is the largest of the four CapeNature landscapes and is geographically and botanically very diverse. It stretches from the lush coastal Garden Route right through to the arid Karoo region of the Beaufort West area.

CapeNature reserves in Landscape East include Anysberg, Gamkaberg, Swartberg, Outeniqua, Goukamma and Robberg nature reserves. Both Goukamma and Robberg are also marine protected areas.

The area is botanically very diverse with beautiful orchids such as Disa hians (lizard disa) being abundant in the Garden Route area. Some of the geophytes, such as Gladiolus nigromontanus, are threatened and our nature reserves help toward their long-term survival.

The imposing Outeniqua mountains are a prominent feature and popular with hikers and photographers. Among the animals found in the Outeniqua range are klipspringer, grey rhebuck, leopard and various special species of rodents. Birds include black eagles and other raptors, as well as the Cape sugarbird and other fynbos birds.

The more arid Karoo area is home to Cape mountain zebra, other large mammals including leopard, caracal, aardwolf, black-backed jackal, hartebeest and grysbok, and a wide range of other antelope species. There are many reptile and bird species.

In addition to the captivating landscape and rich plant and animal life, some of these reserves are also home to San rock art, painted thousands of years ago.

Related reserves

Keurbooms Nature Reserve copyright Scott N Ramsay
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve

Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site, is an exquisite, small reserve of just 740 hectares located in the lush Garden Route region just outside Plettenberg Bay. The Keurbooms River passes through the reserve bringing an abundance of water from further up in the Tsitsikamma Mountains to enter the ocean through the stunning estuary.

Anysberg Nature Reserve

Anysberg Nature Reserve is located in the semi-arid Klein Karoo, between the towns of Ladismith, Laingsburg, Touwsrivier and Montagu. The reserve, officially proclaimed in 1990, encompasses 79 629 hectares of plains and the majestic Cape Fold Mountains, with deep valleys and steep gorges.

Gamkaberg Cape Nature 1
Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

We are fortunate in the Western Cape. The land forever heightens our sense of exploration with its expanses and its wilderness. And with the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo, we need not go far to find a place with such space and detachment.

Swartberg Nature Reserve (Die Hel)

Swartberg Nature Reserve lies between the Great Karoo and Klein Karoo, forming a narrow but long stretch of 121 000ha. The reserve was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004 and is bordered by Gamkapoort Nature Reserve immediately to the north (8 000ha) and Towerkop Nature Reserve immediately to the west (51 000ha).

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Outeniqua Nature Reserve

Located close to the Garden Route town of George and easily accessible from Mossel Bay, Knysna and Oudtshoorn, the Outeniqua Nature Reserve is about a five-hour drive from Cape Town.

Robberg Nature Reserve copyright Scott N Ramsay 5
Robberg Nature Reserve

Robberg, situated 8km south of Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, is not only a nature reserve, but also a World Heritage Site. Rocks from this region date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland.

Landscape East vegetation

CapeNature’s Landscape East management area is the largest of the four CapeNature landscape management areas and extends from the lush Garden Route through to the arid Karoo areas around Beaufort West. The Western Cape comprises five different biomes, of which the Fynbos Biome is the largest, stretching along the coastal plain and extending across the Cape Fold Mountains. The Cape Floristic Region includes all vegetation types of the Fynbos Biome and is mostly located within the winter rainfall region. The Fynbos Biome comprises three vegetation types based on climatic and edaphic features, namely fynbos, renosterveld and strandveld.

Landscape East Animals

The Karoo and Little Karoo are home to the Shy Five: aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, porcupine and suricate. Be alert if you’re driving at night – you might spot a critically endangered riverine rabbit or near threatened brown hyaena. 

Reserve conservation programmes