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Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

Map of Reserve area

Vrolijkheid lives up to its name when orange botterblom daisies light up the reserve in spring.

Where to Stay

What to Do

Vrolijkheid has a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk and bird hides allowing visitors to enjoy the reserve’s 175 species, including the pale chanting goshawk and the African fish eagle.

There are three day hikes in the reserve: Rooikat, Heron and Boesmanskloof. The trails vary in difficulty, each offering views of the striking landscape.

* Please note All the day hiking trails at Vrolijkheid are temporarily closed till further notice. There is currently ongoing maintenance due to recent flooding damage.

Hiking trails

Hiking options range from day hikes to more strenuous overnight experiences. Each offers hikers something different in terms of scenery, habitats and birdlife. In summer, hikers should set out early in the morning to avoid walking during the heat of the day. Trails may be closed at certain times of the year depending on the weather conditions.

Help us protect nature

No pets/no firearms/no fires/no picking of flowers or collecting of seeds.

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.

Rooikat Trail

Trail distance: 19km

Estimated time: 8 hours

This circular trail winds up around the Elandsberg Mountains. On the way, you’ll see stunning views of the Langeberg and Riviersonderend Mountains, and the odd springbok nibbling on the succulent Karoo vegetation. The route is fairly strenuous and it can be very hot during summer. There is no water available along the route. If you set out early, you should make it back before nightfall. Start your outing with a visit to the information centre at the entrance for more information on the reserve and its vegetation.

Heron Trail

Trail distance: 3km

Estimated time: 1 hour

This easy hike takes you to two shimmering dams, the first with a wonderful bird hide and the second with two bird hides, one of which is wheelchair-friendly. The trail is surrounded by succulent Karoo vegetation, with informative boards that provide facts about the reserve. 

The Braille Trail

Trail distance: 1km

Estimated time: 1 hour

The Braille trail is a new trail for visually impaired visitors that follows the first kilometre of the Heron Trail (above). It leads to the first bird hide and back and has boards with interesting information in braille along the route.

Boesmanskloof Day Trail

Trail distance: 14km

Estimated time: 6-7 hours

The trail is approximately 14 km and can be hiked in one day, starting from either McGregor or Greyton. Hikers should note that on the Greyton side the trail starts just outside Greyton and that the first 6 km is on a jeep track up to the view point. On the McGregor side the trail starts approximately 14 km to the south of McGregor at Die Galg, and transport should be organised accordingly.

The trail winds through the Riviersonderend Mountains, passing through the beautiful Riviersonderend Conservation Area. Stop for a well-deserved rest at Oakes Falls – a breathtaking series of cool waterfalls and pools.

Multi-day hiking

The Boesmanskloof Two-Day Trail and the Genadendal Trail (also two days) are strenuous hikes that are well worth the effort.

Boesmanskloof Two-Day Trail

Trail distance: 28km (14km per day)

Estimated time: 2 days

Hikers should note that on the Greyton side the trail starts just outside Greyton and that the first 6 km is on a jeep track up to the view point. On the McGregor side the trail starts approximately 14 km to the south of McGregor at Die Galg, and transport should be organised accordingly.

The trail winds through the Riviersonderend Mountains, passing through the beautiful Riviersonderend Conservation Area. Stop for a well-deserved rest at Oakes Falls – a breathtaking series of cool waterfalls and pools. The route is fairly strenuous and it can be very hot during summer.

Hikers can overnight in McGregor or Greyton, depending on where the hike started, where ample private accommodation is available. Private overnight facilities are also available at Die Galg. Click here to download the Boesmanskloof hiking trail brochure for more details (brochure will open in a new tab).

Genadendal Trail

Trail distance: 25.3km (first day – 14.3km and second day – 11km)

Estimated time: 15 hours (first day – 8 hours and second day – 7 hours)

This beautiful, challenging trail winds through private property and the conservation area on both sides of the Riviersonderend Mountains. The route provides panoramic views of the Overberg and the Worcester-Robertson Karoo region.

The trail begins and ends in Genadendal at the historic Moravian Mission Church, which dates back to 1738. Overnight facilities are available at the church for hikers who prefer to stay the night before starting their hike.

On the first day, hikers make their way past two pools at Groot and Klein Koffiegat, before ending their day at Die Hoek farm on the north side of the mountain. Overnight accommodation, including braai facilities, is available here. On the second day, the trail leads back to Genadendal. The route is fairly strenuous and it can be very hot during summer, while winters are cold and wet. Hikers should adhere to weather warnings as the trail can be dangerous in extreme conditions. Please note that hikers need to book the trail and accommodation separately. Contact CapeNature Central Reservations for details.

Maximum 24 hikers per day, with maximum 14 people per group.

Vrolijkheid has a scenic 8km mountain bike trail that meanders through the reserve. The trail takes about an hour. We suggest you start early, as the area gets extremely hot around midday. Please stay on the marked route.
Vrolijkheid has a lovely picnic area near the entrance, where visitors can enjoy the reserve’s tranquil beauty.


The vegetation in this area of the Little Karoo is known as Robertson Karoo vegetation, with guarri, karee and melkbos shrubs, patches of mountain renosterveld and sweet-thorn trees. Grasses are scarce in this arid area, which has extremely high temperatures from November to March every year.

Vrolijkheid has five new self-catering accommodation options, each sleeping up to eight people, and fully equipped inside, with a braai area outside each, as well as jacuzzi's in two of the units, and a pool in one of the units. 

To find out more, download the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve brochure and map.

The map and brochure for the Boesmanskloof Trail between McGregor and Greyton can be downloaded below.

How to get there

From Cape Town: Take the N1 highway towards Paarl and travel for about 110km. Turn right onto the R60 and then left onto Robertson Road. Continue along this road and then turn right onto Reitz Street. About 13km further along, you will find the entrance gates of the reserve. This route is about 171km and should take about two hours.

GPS: 33 55 3.84 S 19 52 39.04 E

Office hours: 07h30–16h00

Please report to reception on arrival. Check-in times for overnight guests, strictly 14h00 to 16h00. Note that the Covid-19 related check-in takes at least 15 minutes per guest group. Late arrivals will not be accepted.

Tel: 087 087 3895
Emergency tel: +27 (0)82 496 2448
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: 087 087 8250

Tariffs

Self-catering accommodation from R860 and hiking from R50.

See Tariffs
Conservation Fees

Adults

Day Access = R50; Overnight fee = R40

Children

Day Access = R30; Overnight fee = R20

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Visitors Gallery
Events Calendar
15 Jul 2021
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. 

1 Sep 2021
Arbor Day Event - Interview with a Tree Competition 2021

Join us for a fun arbor day event when kids compete on radio by interviewing a tree!

13 Sep 2021
Access Week 13- 20 September 2021

September marks Tourism Month and CapeNature invites you to join in the celebrations. The entity will provide free access to the public during its 7th annual Access Week, from 13 - 20 September 2021. Terms and conditions apply.

15 Sep 2021
#Don'tBeTrashy Campaign

Join CapeNature for active volunteerism over two weeks and let's clean up our act! #Don'tBeTrashy

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