HIKING IN THE TYGERBERG NATURE RESERVE, Cape Town

A few days before we left Cape Town for the city which we’ll call home for the next 12 months, we joined our friends for a leisurely hike in The Tygerberg Nature Reserve (it’s in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town and about 24km from the city centre).

Though there were a bit of low mist hanging over the mountains and suburbs when we started our walk, we still had a lovely sunny day and could enjoy the spectacular views.

A paved road leads all the way up Tygerberg Hill from where most of the different hiking trails start

Tygerberg Nature Reserve:

It was proclaimed as a Nature Reserve back in 1973 and supports one of the last remnants of the critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld vegetation type.

The view towards the ocean and Table Mountain (covered with a big cloud)
This was our view of the majestic Table Mountain back in 2017 during a hike

The Tygerberg Nature Reserve covers 380ha and boasts over 560 plant species, of which 23 are red data, 8 are endemic to Cape Town and 3 are endemic to Tygerberg itself.

A very steep uphill to the highest point of Tygerberg Nature Reserve

The Eastern slope of this reserve consists of ploughed fields that are in the process of being restored, while the Western slope is close to pristine Swartland Shale Renosterveld.

The Dutch call-up gun signal system:

Once you’re at the highest point, a cannon awaits the hiker. This 12 pounder Dutch gun, cast in 1723 at Finspang (Sweden), is the original cannon which was placed on the Tygerberg hill by the Dutch authorities of the time.

The cannon at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve

This cannon (and about 50 more guns) were spaced approximately 25km apart and were fired consecutively as a signal to call the burghers to arms to defend the settlement at the Cape.

This system was only used four times for military purposes since 1734: Twice in 1781 when an English fleet entered Saldanha Bay on the West Coast, once in June 1795 before the Cape was temporarily taken by England and a last time in January 1806 before the Battle of Blaauwberg. Thereafter the system was not used again. It is however, still fired on occasion for special events.

There are a wide variety of easy to moderate hiking trails. In total there are about 13km of trails through the Tygerberg, ranging from short (perfect for families with small children) to longer routes that stretch from one end of the reserve to the other.

Signage of the different routes – we have done the Duiker Hiking Trail on this day
On route, we noticed this owl house on top of a high tree

Even when you’re down in the valley of Tygerberg Hill, the views are pretty. We could still admire the ocean and other hills from below.

To see flowers on a hiking trail, is always a bonus

Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre:

We ended our hike after about 2 hours and quickly grabbed the opportunity to have a look at the Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre. This was unfortunately closed (probably because it was a Sunday), but we could still walk through the front garden.

The Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre

Professor Kristo Pienaar, a dynamic character, was a well-known (and brilliant) South African botanist and author of many books on the subject. He brought South African plants to life, not just to his many students but also to those where he lived. He died in 1996, but his legacy will live on forever.

In memory of Professor Kristo Pienaar

Since we are now at the end of a long and hot summer, the garden is not as colourful (and green) that it normally is. But we noticed quite a few of the plants that we saw on our earlier hike.

Swartland Shale Renosterveld
And a splash of colour

Info on Tygerberg Nature Reserve:

Opening hours:

  • Monday – Friday (07:30 – 18:00)
  • Weekends and public holidays (07:30 – 19:00)
  • Closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday

*Times may vary between summer and winter

Entrance fee:

  • Adults: R20 per person
  • Children, students & senior citizens: R10 per person
  • Children under 3: Free

The Tygerberg Nature Reserve offers plenty of activities … whether you want to take a leisurely walk, a hike with a work-out, jog or enjoy a picnic (there are dedicated picnic tables nestled under the big pine trees). And all of this is possible while having views of Table Mountain and its lovely surroundings!

Table Mountain and Lion’s Head (on the right)

60 comments

    • Aletta, ek’s seker daar is min uitsigte wat kan kers vashou by hierdie een! Die uitsig oor Tafelberg maak eenvoudig hierdie staproetes die moeite werd – al stap jy net tot by die piekniek tafels. ‘n Mens kan Edgemead ook van daar bo af sien … ek’s seker jy kan dalk julle vorige huis ook uitken van daar bo af 😉.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the views with us Henrietta ☺️. To see the majestic Table Mountain from Tygerberg Hill is always a highlight in any hike! Yes, all will be revealed in our next post (well, sort of …)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Carolyn ☺️. Oh yes, the views are truly spectacular … it must be with a view like that over Table Mountain! I will miss this grand old mountain – but hopefully I will see more lovely places in our new city (and appreciate these just as much)!

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    • Thank you Tricia, it’s probably one of my favourite views on a hiking trail … Table Mountain is such an iconic landmark and one I always enjoy to see! We were quite surprised to actually see any flowers, since it’s been a long and hot summer – but somehow, these little ones were still growing strong (and it was lovely to see).

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  1. Tot nou toe het ek het nie geweet dat daar n sentrum opgedra aan Prof Kristo is nie, en was dit nou wonderlik om te sien. Sy interessante tv programme, veldfokus op 50/50 ingesluit, was altyd boeiend in my grootword jare en het waarskynlik n groot impak in my lewe gemaak sonder dat mens dit noodwendig bewustelik geweet het!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ons het dit ook nie geweet nie (wel, tot ons in 2017 vir die eerste keer hier kom stap het). Dierbare Prof Kristo Pienaar … ek dink kinders van die 80’s behoort hom goed te onthou van sy aanbiedings op TV. Ek het een jaar, as ‘n verjaarsdag geskenk, vir my ma ‘n plante boek van hom gekoop (ek wonder of sy dit nog het 🤔) … hy was altyd so passievol oor die plantlewe.

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    • Ek’s seker daar is nog baie ander plekke waarvan ons ook nie weet nie (al het ons 20 jaar daar gebly) … ‘n mens neig mos om na dieselfde plekke terug te gaan. Nou wens ek ons het bietjie meer en wyer verken terwyl ons daar was … 🙃.

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      • Sels hier kom ek dit klaar agter. Hier is oneindig baie om te verken, maar ons kom nêrens op die oomblik nie. Dis net bou. Hopenlik verander dit iewers.🌺

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    • It is indeed a beautiful place (and of course, the spectacular views of Table Mountain just make it more special). I think it must be quite amazing to do a hike here during spring … just imagine all the flowers one will be able to see then! Thank you for reading Marion and your lovely comments as always 🌸.

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  2. This nature reserve looks like a wonderful place to go for a hike. The views of the ocean and the city look stunning. That’s too bad that the education centre was closed, but at least you could walk through the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely a great place to just breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the views! I would like to see this reserve after the winter rain (and in spring), it must be a feast for the eyes then! And hopefully we can then take a hike during the week in the hope to visit the education centre as well … this is a place I can easily go back to again and again!

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    • Oh yes, the views of Table Mountain is on our top five best views … ever! To see the mountain from far away and to be on top of the mountain, is two totally different experiences … but both are totally awesome! You two would enjoy this mountain (and all the activities in and around Cape Town) 😁.

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  3. Another wonderful hike for the Berto and Corna scrap book. So much colour and such great contrast in all the resulting views. You are certainly keeping us on your toes with the location of your new posting. I was wondering, is it top secret? (for professional reasons) or will there be a big reveal?

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    • Thank you Leighton – definitely a hike I wouldn’t mind doing over and over again (I think I would be spectacular during spring … will have to keep that in mind). Top secret … haha 😅, fortunately not (though, it does have its challenges). A big reveal …? Maybe not, but it was not as easy to get there (here) as one would thought … I’ll tell you soon!

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  4. Helloooo. Ek is nog hier! Jammer dat ek nou eers by jou blog uitkom, ek was die laaste tyd so min by blogs. Soos altyd is jou blogs interessant en die foto’s pragtig. Dit is darem ongelooflik watter verskil mis aan die uitsig doen, né. Tog, selfs op ‘n mistige dag is dit pragtig.

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    • Hello Toortsie 🌸. Ag, jy moenie ‘komkommer’ nie … lees wanneer jy ‘n kansie kry (ek weet mos jou doen lysie per dag is langer as net die normale 24 uur)! Ek is self nou so effe agter – te veel dinge om te doen (of nee, laat ek eerder se “dinge wat in plek moet kom”) … so ‘n trekkery is ‘n storie (ek’t al vergeet hoe dit is)!
      Maar laat ek terug kom by Tygerberg Natuur Reservaat ☺️ … ja, dis mooi op enige tipe dag. Dalk omdat ek weet, selfs in die mis, le Tafelberg en wag vir die son om uit te kom. Alhoewel die N1 net aan die onderkant van die reservaat verby gaan, hoor ‘n mens net die natuur geluide (baie voeltjies). Ek gaan dit mis …

      Liked by 1 person

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