After an absence of 100 years from the area, bontebok once again roam freely throughout the 300-hectare Tygerberg Nature Reserve, thanks to the efforts of the nature conservation branch of the City of Cape Town.
The name “Tygerberg” is reputedly a legacy from travellers of yore, who mistakenly identified endemic leopards as “tijghers”. Others say the mottled appearance of the hilltops in the reserve are reminiscent of leopards’ patterned coats.
Proclaimed in 1974, this reserve represents one of the last enclaves of critically endangered Swartland shale renosterveld.
Activities that attract visitors to Tygerberg include various well-signposted hiking trails, picnic areas, a 360-degree view of the city of Cape Town, local fauna and bird watching. Almost 562 flora species have been recorded here, 23 of which are threatened with extinction. Eight plant types are endemic to Cape Town and three species are endemic to the Tygerberg hills. Fauna species are numerous, with 24 mammals, 137 bird species, 22 reptiles, 6 types of frog and 33 different types of butterfly identified within the reserve.
The reserve’s Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre features a resource centre, library and herbarium where geography, biodiversity and ecology lessons are offered. Booking is essential.
Tygerberg Nature Reserve is open every day except Christmas Day. In summer (September to March) week day hours are 07h30 to 18h00 and weekends 07h30 to 19h00. In winter (April to October) it opens on weekdays from 07h30 to 17h00 and over weekends from 07h30 to 18h00. Times are applicable to the Welgemoed gate only. The Plattekloof gate is only open on week days from 07h30 to 16h00, excluding public holidays.
Entry costs R10 for adults, and R5 for children (aged 3-13), students and senior citizens. Entry is free for children under three.