Where to Stay
What to Do
The reserve’s 250ha of Southern Afrotemperate forest is the largest remaining example in the Langeberg. The reserve’s highest peak, Grootberg, is 1637 metres above sea level. Most of the thirty-five typical Southern Afrotemperate forest are present, including stinkwood, yellowwood, red alder and the dominant ironwood.
Visitors to this beautiful reserve will relish the opportunity to get out into the forest on day walks and mountain biking trails. This is an excellent birding destination with more than 196 bird species regularly spotted. Hikers are likely to bump into bushbuck and spot baboons and smaller mammals when out on the trails. Sighting the Forest emperor butterfly and a subspecies of the rare Ghost frog would be the highlight of a visit here, as they can only be found in this particular forest.
Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve has a magical, fairy tale quality, leaving visitors with the lasting impression that they have stepped into another world. Hikers walk in the dappled light of the precious indigenous forest, and swim in the cool tea-coloured river water while shaded by ancient trees.
Grootvadersbosch is one of the less well-known reserves in the Western Cape. For those who love its air of self-contained mystery, this is how it should be. Day walks, mountain biking trails, and the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area offer an array of challenges for those who want to immerse themselves in the Wilderness. A rare highlight would be a sighting the forest emperor butterfly or a subspecies of the elusive ghost frog, as they can only be found in this forest. Cape Nature offers a range of accommodation, from newly refurbished cabins to comfortable and well-equipped campsites.
Grootvadersbosch video and gallery images by Liesel Kershoff
What our guests say
To find out more, download the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve brochure and map below.
How to get there
Take the N2 from Cape Town towards George. Proceed through Swellendam and Buffelsjag River. Approximately 1.5 km after the BP garage (on the right side), turn left at the Suurbraak/Barrydale signboard. Continue through the town of Suurbraak and past the turn-off for Barrydale via Tradouwpass. The tar road becomes a dirt road. Continue till a T-junction, turn left and keep left at the next fork in the road. The reserve is well signposted. The road ends at the entrance gates.
GPS: 33 59 08.4 S 20 49 24.7 E
Office hours: 07:00–16:00
Tel: +27 (0)28 492 0001
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: 087 087 8250
Self-catering accommodation from R980 per night
Day Access = R50; Overnight fee = R40
Day Access = R30; Overnight fee = R20
Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve Filming
With pristine indigenous forest, amazing Redwoods, and remarkable vistas, there are numerous opportunities for filming in this reserve.
Located just over three hours from Cape Town, near the towns of Swellendam and Heidelberg, the reserve is conveniently located for film shoots.
The Conservation Symposium
The Conservation Symposium serves as a bridge between conservation practitioners, scientists and policymakers in a conducive environment to solve real-world problems. It integrates a broad range of disciplines in a meaningful way and creates or strengthens connections both within and between disciplines.