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Rocherpan BLOG 02
Rocherpan Nature Reserve

Map of Reserve area

Rocherpan is a coastal nature reserve teeming with birds and colourful wildflowers.

Where to Stay

Coot, Moorhen, Egret and Shoveler
Rocherpan Nature Reserve
Sandpiper Cottage
Rocherpan Nature Reserve
Kingfisher Cottage
Rocherpan Nature Reserve
Oystercatcher Cottage
Rocherpan Nature Reserve
Flamingo Cottage
Rocherpan Nature Reserve

What to Do

Follow Rocherpan’s jeep track for an adventurous tour of the nature reserve. Please bring your own bike, as none are available for hire from the reserve.
Rocherpan has two picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. You can either picnic at the new braai area behind the bird hides or at the lookout point near the beach. Entry into the reserve is R50 per adult and R30 per child.
Only shore angling is allowed within the Rocherpan marine protected area.  The reserve does not issue permits for angling. Please buy your permit at the closest post office. The angling permit must be shown at reception.

Rocherpan is perfect for birders. The combination of land, vlei and sea provides ample breeding and feeding habitats for a variety of birds. A total of 183 species have been recorded, of which about 70 are water birds. White pelicans and greater and lesser flamingos, all of which are endangered, are often seen at Rocherpan. Ostriches also live on the flats surrounding the vlei.

Rocherpan is one of the Cape shoveller’s most important breeding and moulting sites. The reserve provides a sanctuary for Southern Africa’s second-rarest coastal bird, the African black oystercatcher.

Rocherpan has three bird hides. Two are located on the South-western side of the vlei, and one is on the North-western side. Fetch a bird list and map from the reserve main office or download the bird list here.


Walking and Hiking Rocherpan has two short hiking trails, one along the beach and one along the vlei. Both offer stunning views and the chance to see the area’s rich birdlife. There are two well-laid hiking paths through the reserve. Both are relatively easy walks  taking no longer than four hours each. Permits Permits may be purchased for R50 per adult and R30 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.
Rocherpan Trail Trail distance: 9km Estimated time: 3–4 hours return This is a gentle walk along the pan. The soils harden as you make your way across the reserve. Start early in summer, as the day heats up quickly. Beach Trail Trail distance: 7km Estimated time: 3 hours return This is a lovely walk to the lookout point and back along the beach. We recommend you take a picnic basket to enjoy at the point. In summer, it is best to hike early in the morning to  avoid the midday heat.
Swimming is permitted in the ocean. No swimming in the vlei. There is a swimming pool next to the eco-cabins which is available to overnight guests. The surrounding area has benches and tables to relax at, while there is a children's play area adjacent.
Southern right whales are often seen in the marine reserve and along the coast between June and November. These majestic creatures enjoy the warm water after migrating from icy Antarctica. Dolphins are also spotted from the beach.

Rocherpan had a fortuitous start when farmer Pierre Rocher arrived in this area in 1839 looking for improved summer grazing for his livestock. Rocher and his workers closed off the mouth of Papkuils River, forcing it to flow behind the dunes that separate the sandveld from the sea. This inadvertently created a perfect habitat for waterbirds, and the local species have thrived ever since. Along the coast, you’ll see the rare and endangered black oystercatcher, the kelp gull and the Cape shoveller.

Rocherpan currently has eight eco-cabins available to be booked for accommodation, with the four newest cabins having just opened. Click Here to download a map of the reserve to see where the cabins, pan, beach, and hiking trails are. Please call our reservations office to make your booking.

Video by The Good Holiday

How to get there

Rocherpan lies 25 km north of Velddrif on the coastal road. Velddrif can be reached on the West Coast Road (R27), that starts in Cape Town and takes you through Milnerton before running along the coast through Bloubergstrand, Melkbosstrand and Langebaan.

GPS: 32 36 53.47 S 18 18 6.73 E

Please Note: Bird spotting on the reserve is highly dependent on the water in the pans. Thus, not guaranteed.

General information

Office hours: 08:00–16:30

Tel: +27 (0)87 087 4177

Emergency number: +27 (0)67 412 9922

Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: 087 087 8250

What our guests say


Self-catering accommodation from R910

See Tariffs
Conservation Fees


Day Access = R50; Overnight fee = R40


Day Access = R30; Overnight fee = R20

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