The Van Der Stel Cluster Nature Reserves

The Van Der Stel Cluster Nature Reserves

Situated in the Overberg Region of the Western Cape, the Van Der Stel Cluster lies in the low-lying area between Groenlandberg and the Riviersonderend mountain range, creating the last viable corridor linking these two ranges. Made up of four adjoining protected areas, namely Eagle Rock Nature Reserve, Klein Ezeljagt Nature Reserve, Diepklowe Private Nature Reserve (Porcupine Hills) and Piet Maree Nature Reserve, the cluster represents a large continuous area of fynbos and Renosterveld with associated transition zones between the vegetation types and edaphic interfaces. All four properties are home to a diverse array of fauna and flora, including the Critically Endangered Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld, which has only 13% remaining of which less than 1% is formally conserved. Several Red Data Book plants are found on the cluster, including: Protea restionifolia, Peucedanum pungens, Babiana purpurea, Gladiolus recurvus, Amphithalea bowiei and Erica pilosiflora ssp pilosiflora.

The newly created Verreaux’s Trail, formed in collaboration with CapeNature, WWF South Africa, The Table Mountain Fund and Conservation at Work, traverses across all four properties and is a spectacular way for guests to the region to view the beautiful valley. This trail is named after the resident pair of breeding black eagles.

TMF’s ongoing support of CapeNature’s Biodiversity Stewardship Programme has proudly contributed to the restoration and protection of critical biodiversity areas such as the Van Der Stel Cluster.

Sarah-Leigh Watson

After qualifying with a BA in Journalism and African History from Rhodes University, Sarah went on to qualify as a FGASA registered Game Ranger where she spent time in the South African Lowveld pursuing her passion for wildlife photography and nature conservation. Sarah joined TMF as a private consultant in 2011, to manage the Fund’s communications and marketing needs. Having grown up in the shadow of Table Mountain, Sarah is deeply passionate about the conservation of the mountain and the broader Cape Floral Region.

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