Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
|Gamkaberg Nature Reserve|
|Location||Western Cape, South Africa|
|Area||94 km2 (36 sq mi)|
Name and history
The reserve takes its name from the central mountain, Gamkaberg, which in turn derives its name from the indigenous Khoi-khoi word for Lion, together with the Afrikaans suffix "-berg", meaning mountain.
The reserve was established in 1974 to protect one of the region's last remaining herds of Cape mountain zebra (which numbered only five surviving animals in 1976), and to reintroduce game which formerly occurred in the region.
It has since been declared a World Heritage Site. The core reserve is 10 430 ha, but the greater Gamkaberg Conservation Area comprises a variety of different protected surrounding areas, and includes 80 000 ha.
The terrain of the Gamkaberg is varied, including mountain peaks, plateaus and steep gorges. Fossils and stone age paintings or rock art are also present in the reserve.
The nearest towns are Calitzdorp to the north-west; Oudtshoorn to the north-east; and Vanwyksdorp to the south. The mountains which compose the nature reserve form a separate range, within the Little Karoo. The mountain to the west of the Gamkaberg, part of the same range, is also conserved as a nature reserve named the Rooiberg Nature Reserve and the Groenefontein Nature Reserve forms part of that same conservation area, and they are managed together.
Fauna and Flora
Other than the large numbers of Cape Mountain Zebra, other large mammals include leopard, caracal, aardwolf, black-backed jackal, hartebeest, grysbok, and a wide range of other antelope species. The reserve is also home to an unusually large range of reptile and bird species.
Access and accommodation
The nature reserve is open daily for visitors. Accommodation in the nature reserve includes eco-lodges and a campsite, as well as several remote stone shelters in the mountains, which are remains of herders' huts. Accommodation is deliberately rustic and simple, so as to have a minimum effect on the surrounding wildlife and environment.
In addition to the animal and plant life, the reserve has an information centre, hiking and 4x4 routes, educational trails, labyrinth, as well as picnic and barbecue facilities.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gamkaberg.|
- "Gamkaberg Nature Reserve: A tranquil escape - CapeNature". capenature.co.za. Retrieved 8 June 2017.