The beautiful Helderberg Nature Reserve is situated just above the Somerset West area on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains. It was initially proclaimed in September 1960 as a wildflower garden and to protect water resources for the town of Somerset West. The Somerset West Rotary Club recognized that a Nature Reserve would best serve the community and on 3 October 1964, the Helderberg Nature Reserve was opened.
Today the 402 hectare reserve is home to no less than 613 plant species of which 13 are on the extinction list. Some of the plants the reserve helps to protect are the critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld, Kogelberg Sandstone fynbos en die Cape Winelands Shale fynbos.
The Reserve also boasts a confirmed list of 170 bird species. A mammal list comprising of 42 species has also been recorded. The smaller mammals such as the Cape Hare and Grey Duiker are often spotted in the well maintained and very popular picnic sites. Although not locally indigenous to the area, the Leopard Tortoise is commonly spotted by visitors to the Reserve. On rare occasions, the Cape Leopard has also been sighted on the slopes within the Reserve.
The Reserve is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers and is well known picnic spot for residents in the area. The attraction of the Reserve however, does not end with beautiful gardens, birding and picnic spots – there are various other activities at Helderberg so be sure to visit the next time you are in the area.
Admission to the Reserve is charged per person as well as per vehicle. Day Tickets cost R10 per vehicle and between R10 and R30 per person. Prices are subject to change, please contact the Reserve directly to confirm all ticket prices.
The area receives approximately 160 mm of rainfall per annum with most of it occurring during early autumn, with March seeing the highest levels. Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 28˚C. Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 5˚C and 21˚C.