Van Stadens wild flower reserve

by | Oct 7, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve, is a 500 hectare “floral wonderland” reserve and is located 35km from Port Elizabeth, bisected by the N2 Port Elizabeth to Cape Town highway. The terrain comprises southern wooded slopes, a large plateau and northern river banks each with its own vegetation type.
The prime purpose of the Reserve is to protect and propagate the unique indigenous flora. Visitors are encouraged to explore and enjoy the extraordinary diversity and splendour of the natural Fynbos, succulents and other indigenous flora.
Mountain bikers are welcome to explore the plateau section of the reserve. There are a number of flat gravel roads, which are ideal for exploration on a mountain bike.
The area provides ideal riding terrain for the novice mountain biker or the family on a cycling outing, during which time indigenous flora can be appreciated.
The Reserve is open daily from 08h00 till 17h00 and offers two walking trails and picnic sites. Tel: (041) 956 0155, Environmental Conservation Division.

Walks and hikes:
– Fynbos ramble starts just past the second traffic circle and is a 500 mts easy walk and is a circular route. Suitable for beginners. 500 meters / 15 minutes.
– 3 Dam trail starts behind the conference centre and is 1.5 km easy walk along three dams and is a circular route.
– Nymph trail starts at the 2nd traffic circle in the same direction as the Forest Walk. It is a 3km moderate circular route though one can combine it with the Forest Walk.

Forest Walk:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 4.5 kilometers / 1 hour 30 minutes.
This circular walk takes you through the Van Stadens River forest where local endemics Atalaya capensis and Sterculia alexandria as well as many other tree species can be seen.

River Walk:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 4 kilometers / 1 hour 20 minutes. It starts near the Arboretum and follows the contour of the north-facing slope of a small tributary to the Van Stadens River. The steep slopes are home to Encephalartos longifolius and Cyrtanthus staadensis.

The Arboretum: Suitable for beginners. 600 meters / 20 minutes.
The Arboretum started as the old nursery and has been restored as an amble amongst some of the oldest trees in the reserve. Many varieties have been tagged by FOVS volunteers with both their scientific and common names so visitors can better acquaint themselves with the larger indigenous flora varieties from various places in South Africa. Be sure to take a rest on one of the informal seating areas provided to appreciate the peaceful nature of this pathway, and you may well spot some of the colorful birds which grace the reserve.

Bird hide:
Looks out over Proteas and other fynbos. This is situated in the Arboretum.

The Link Trail:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 1 kilometer / 30 minutes.
This scenic return path has some spectacular views across the gorge and the rock strata as it winds its way to the Van Stadens bridge (1971). After taking a moment to catch your breath beneath the inspiring bridge archway return with the impressive mountain views ahead of you.

Van Stadens Hike:
Suitable for experienced hikers. 11 kilometers / 3 hours.
This hike combines the River, Link Trail, Forest Walk and Nymph Trail walks to showcase the best the reserve has to offer.
It is a circular walk starting at the Flower House and follows the outer sections of the River Walk, Link Trail Forest Walk and and Nymph Trail.

A number of picnic areas are available for visitors use. We encourage you to bring a picnic and relax whilst enjoying the natural environs . You may even be lucky enough to spot some of the shy Buck and small animals and birds who live in the reserve. Please do drop your litter into the bins provided before you leave.

Mountain bike rides:
These are family orientated rides as it is mostly flat. There are three routes the yellow, blue and red route the last one being the longest at 5km but one can ride in and out any of the tracks.

Drives and Rides:
All the roads in the reserve are car friendly and open to the public.
The circular route travels past the African huts and along the valley with a view of the mountain range before reaching the bridge picnic area – where you may wish to get out and take a photo of the Van Stadens motorway bridge.
There are further roads criss-crossing the interior of the circular route enabling visitors to access less frequented areas of the reserve.

Braai areas:
In the Reserve, sharp left from the second traffic circle, by prior arrangement at 041 9560155
Or at the bottom of the Van Stadens pass (R102), drive in on the left-hand side just before the low bridge.

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