The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve was once called Melkhoudskraal and is now incorporated into the Boosmansbosch Wilderness Area that falls under the protection of the Cape Floral Region. The Cape Floral Region is one of the 8 protected UNESCO Word Heritage Sites.

The nature reserve is composed of 250 hectares of native forest land near Heidelberg in the Langeberg region of the Western Cape and has been a reserve only since 1986.


This forest area is of great importance to the conservation as it contains 35 of the classic forest tree species such as:

  • Ironwood
  • Red Alder
  • Stinkwood
  • Yellowood

Between the years 1896 and 1913 foreign trees were introduced into the area to cover the land that had been made bare by overzealous woodcutters. Some of these exotic trees were, Australian Blackwood, Ash, Bluegum, Camphor, Californian Redwood and Oak. Cape Nature is in the process of reclaiming this land by re-introducing the indigenous varieties and eliminating the exotic ones.


This area is great bird lover’s destination as it harbours more then 196 bird species that are spotter frequently. The nature reserve is also the exclusive home of two rare species namely:

  • Forest Emperor Butterfly
  • Rare Ghost Frog

Other animals found in the area are:

  • Bushbuck
  • Baboons
  • Leopard


  • Huts with no facilities
  • A small campsite with a self-catering cottage is available for overnight visitors
  • Fires and fishing are not permitted
  • All refuse has to be taken out of the area


The reserve caters mainly for hikers but cyclists may also enjoy the forest with a permit and only 12 are allowed in the reserve at any given time.

  • Bushbuck hiking trail
  • Cars are not permitted at all
  • Cycling 
  • Grysbok Hiking trail


Please consult their website


  • Sunday to Saturday, 07h00–16h00

Contact details

Cape Nature

Tel: +27 287 222 412
Tel: +27 861 227 362 8873
Email Website