Nature Reserve

The 165 ha property, which became home to Wild Rescue in 2015, includes all the major plant communities of the Agulhas coastal plain, all occurring in close proximity to one another making this a unique floral reserve within the Cape Floral Kingdom.
Owing to this unique array of natural habitats and incredibly high diversity of plant species, the property was proclaimed the Hannes Zaaiman Private Nature Reserve in 1994.

It has the Goukou River on its Eastern boundary, and the perennial spring (Klipfontein) watercourse on its Southern boundary. To the North the property’s border is more or less along a ridge, giving it a feeling of seclusion.
It is classified as a Critical Biodiversity Area (CBA) in the 2014 Western Cape Biodiversity Framework, and includes Edaphic and Aquatic CBA’s.

Edaphic interfaces are important for sustaining biodiversity processes. “Hard” edaphic interfaces (where contrasting soils types meet) are thought to drive plant diversification, while “soft” interfaces (where similar types of parent material meet) support species movement.

The many obvious meetings of different soil types at Wild Rescue may explain the numerous species and plant communities including Albertinia Sand Fynbos, Canca Limestone Fynbos, Karoo Shale, Eastern Ruens Shale Renosterveld, Riverfront, Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands, and Southern Cape Valley Thicket.

In 2017, Wild Rescue NPC rezoned more than 50% of the property as Special Open Space (OS3), ensuring that large sections of the reserve will forever be protected as a corridor for wildlife, and trusts that this will have a catalytic effect, and encourage other neighbouring properties to also allocate space for corridors for wildlife.

Several species of wildlife can be found on the nature reserve including bushbuck, duikers, steenbok, Cape grysbok, porcupine, honey badgers, mongoose, caracal and the “vulnerable” Cape Clawless Otter, and Grey Rhebok.

The iconic haunting cry of the African Fish Eagle can be heard from the river, a Spotted Eagle Owl pair have made the dam area and pepper tree their home, and the beautiful African Hoopoe and cheeky Bokmakerie bird species frequent the areas around the homestead.

RESTORATION & REGENERATION

Within the nature reserve, our restoration & regeneration efforts have largely been focussed on the clearing of invasive non-native species. Carefully managed, observation based clearing enables the rare and threatened plant species to regenerate and thrive. As a result of these efforts we are gradually seeing the return of indigenous insects, birds and wildlife.

Much of our nature reserve has now been cleared of the prolific Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops), with gratitude to the grant from Nedbank Trust and the Rowland and Leta Hill Trust Fund. Their support not only provided an income source for a number of community members, but now provides many others the chance to come and marvel at Cape Floral Kingdom in the south Western Cape.

The two large fires we have experienced, in 2017 and 2022, have taught us much about its impact and our role in regeneration. Whilst it felt devastating in the moment, and while some of what regrew each time was still invasive species, the veld produced an astonishing array of new fynbos in response. Rare and threatened species, previously not catalogued on the site, started thriving in the newly created micro-environments.

We have taken this opportunity to learn from nature by creating our own Indigenous Nursery, focussed on seed collection and propagation. Wild Rescue is grateful to the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve for granting us a micro fund to kickstart this project.

We are building up our capacity to move beyond rehabilitating our own nature reserve, towards assisting with larger restoration projects in other identified conservation areas, thereby contributing to ecosystem regeneration within the region.
This also affords us with opportunities to advocate for an integrated fauna/flora approach to conservation, and to promote an appreciation of our magnificent floral kingdom.

WALKING TRAILS

The nature reserve currently maintains 5 short trails, with at least 2 more in development to access other areas of the nature reserve.

Day visitors must book in advance, and will be required to sign indemnity forms, and agree to abide by the regulations pertaining to preserving the nature reserve. Overnight guests are permitted to use the trails at their leisure however all rules & regulations must be adhered to at all times.

RHEBOK TRAIL

3,1kms

Some scrambling up and down rocks although not difficult, medium fitness, covers Albertinia Sandveld to Canca Limestone, starting and ending points are off the main driveway – at the main house and the spring.

PROTEA TRAIL

1,8kms

A moderate level of fitness is required for this trail, with some uneven terrain, primarily Canca Limestone. The trail begins at the cottages and ends on the cottage driveway about 200 metres from the main house.

ALOE TRAIL

1,3kms

Relatively easy, no scrambling, with a short steep climb near the end. This trail starts from the dam at the main house, meanders past the Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands, through the endangered Eastern Ruens Shale Renosterveld, Southern Cape Valley Thicket, and Canca Limestone, ending at the cottages.
A part of the Aloe trail is the same path as the Renosterveld Trail.

SANCTUARY TRAIL

1kms

Easy, slightly sandy walk, with a small uphill. This trail starts and ends at the education center, and leads past the sanctuary enclosures. No interaction with our sanctuary residents is allowed; however you are welcome to quietly sit & watch these wonderful animals go about their daily lives. Visits to the enclosures, guided by a knowledgeable carer, can be arranged on request.

RENOSTERVELD TRAIL

1 kms

Relatively easy, no scrambling, with a short steep climb near the end. This trail starts from the dam at the main house, meanders past the Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands, through the endangered Eastern Ruens Shale Renosterveld, Southern Cape Valley Thicket, and Canca Limestone, ending at the cottages.
A part of the Aloe trail is the same path as the Renosterveld Trail.

GUIDED EXPERIENCES

Our knowledgeable guides can help you discover the wonders of our natural environment, through a variety of on-site experiences.

These activities can be tailored to single travellers as well as groups, and range between 1- 6 hours.

All experiences are subject to availability and must be pre-booked. Please contact info@wildrescue.co.za to enquire about which activities are available for your selected dates.

Some of our most popular experiences are:

• Guided Flora Walk

• Guided Scorpion Scouting

• Digital Treasure Hunt

• Moth Identification Night

• Guided Sanctuary Visit

ACCOMMODATION

Come immerse yourself in the vast night skies & the gentle noises of nature, swim in clear spring water with the lilies & frogs, and enjoy the biodiversity of the nature reserve by walking the many kilometers of trails on this rare and endangered fynbos haven.

For those wishing to extend their visit to Wild Rescue, we offer an attractive Cape thatched cottage, as well as a Verandah room.

BROWN COTTAGE

The brown cottage was built from stones gathered from ruins on the 165ha nature reserve.
It has no electricity but is fully equipped for self catering. Oil lamps and candles are supplied for light, along with gas for the geyser and cooking stove.

The cottage consists of an open-plan living room/kitchen, separate bedroom, bathroom with shower, inside fireplace plus built-in braai on the verandah.
It has a double and a single bed in the bedroom, and an additional single bed can be added to the lounge, upon request.

Rates are R750 per cottage per night, with a minimum stay of 2 nights.

VERANDAH ROOM

The verandah room is adjacent to our education centre, close to the main house.
It is equipped with electricity and has coffee & tea making facilities. The communal kitchen and braai area are available for use.

The room is a double ensuite with shower and has an indoor sitting area, seperate work desk, and outdoor verandah.

Guests have access to the nature reserve trails, as well as the education centre library.

The cost for the verandah room is R550 per night, and single night bookings are acceptable.                                                                                                                                                                  

Wild Rescue is only 30 minutes drive from Still Bay with its Blue Flag status beaches, and a similar distance from Riversdale – a farming town just off the N2 national road.

As the road and driveway travel through wildlife territory, we urge visitors to arrive in daylight. 

Due to being a nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary, Wild Rescue regrets that no children under 16, or pets, are allowed.

Please enquire at info@wildrescue.co.za or see contact page for details.

Start Typing