Welcome to The Fynbos Trail
The Fynbos trail is a unique nature experience in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom that can be undertaken as a fully guided and catered slackpacking trail or as a self-guided and catered trail. This trail, just two hours from Cape Town and close to Hermanus Overberg, has a two or three night option and takes hikers along a beautiful stretch of trail through coastal and mountain fynbos, remote forests and visits some fascinating environmental and social projects along the way. Ideal for those looking for a walking holiday in Cape Town, South Africa.
As you drive down the R43 between the Overberg villages of Stanford and GansbaaiIt’s true voyage of discovery, led by a passionate, expert guide who points out the various endemics and rare species and explains the that role the various birds, ants and other propagators play in the eco-system. More than 800 fynbos species have been identified along the route and, whatever time of year you walk there is always something in bloom. As you go you learn about the remarkable diversity and fascinating ecology of the proteas, ericas, reeds and wonderful bulbs, gaining an understanding of their preferred habitats and their remarkable tricks. The seeds of the local limestone pincushion (Leucospermum pattersoni) have a waxy coating that attract the local pugnacious ants, who carry the seeds to the safety of their underground nests, where ants are rewarded with nutritious seed coat as food and the seed is planted out of harm’s way until a future fire activated germination! As you wander you begin to understand the uniqueness of this trail. Vegetation studies on Grootbos Nature Reserve have recorded six plant species that are new to science! A number of plant species including the spectacular Erica irregularis which paints the hills pink in winter and early spring, and Aloe juddii, which escapes fire by finding refuge in a few of the rocky outcrops along the trail are found here and nowhere else in the world and, as you hike, you occasionally come across previously un-noticed individuals. Surprisingly exciting stuff! There are swimming opportunities in the dams and pools on each day and the views of Walker Bay, across to Dyer Island and over the rolling hills are stunning, but it’s not just the natural beauty that makes this trail so special. The Fynbos Trail is as much about the amazing people and stories of this fascinating region; how European settlers came to settle the farms through which you hike, how modern man has thrived along this fertile coastline and the wonderful work that Grootbos Nature Reserve and Flower Valley Conservation Trust are doing to conserve and support local communities. By hiking the trail you contribute directly towards the conservation and social development work of the partners within the conservancy. Some of the funds generated by the trail are re-invested into clearing alien vegetation, managing fire and documenting and monitoring flora and fauna within the conservancy. The trail starts at Growing the Future Sustainable Agriculture and Life Skills College on Grootbos Nature Reserve. Growing the Future is all about food production, growing of vegetables and fruit, beekeeping and the principles of successful animal husbandry. In fact the majority of fresh produce enjoyed along the trail is sourced from the project. From Growing the Future the trail leads through coastal strandveld into the Steynsbos Milkwood forest, one of only eight milkwood forests of its type in the world, all of which are found in the Stanford-Gansbaai area. An island surrounded by fynbos, this small patch of forest contains trees that are many hundreds, if not thousands of years old and is refuge for a number of animals and birds not commonly seen in the fynbos. Thirty four bird species, including Rameron pigeon, Cape Batis, African paradise flycatcher and forest buzzard have been sighted as well as a variety of mammals including bushbuck, porcupine, honey badger and mongoose. you have no inkling of the treasures hidden in the hills to your left. The three-day, 26km trail meanders through hidden pockets of indigenous forest alive with birds, to Tolkeinesque dells of dense lichens, tumbling waterfalls and streams and, you guessed it, through exquisite fynbos.