Uniqueness of the Reserve

Although the size of the reserve is relatively small, 600ha it is in the fortunate position been bordered on either side by nature reserves of similar size. This is an area without barriers to hinder movement and reproduction of the various species and so maintain a viable gene pool.

Vogelgat is an area of great scenic beauty for the botanist and hiker alike. It rises from just above sea level to 800m.

In the Vogelgat Kloof is found a unique variety of butterfly, while one species of fern, Rumohra adiantiformis found in the reserve was also found in Patagonia by Charles Darwin. Several species of plants of great interest to botanists whom traveled halfway round the world to examine them. The renowned botanist Rudolph Schlecter made extensive collections of plants in Vogelgat in 1896 and 1897.

At every season of the year there is much to delight the visitor. In July an arid looking north-facing rocky screeds is covered with the splendour of the sticky green heath Erica coccinea var. inflata, only to give way a few months later to a similar magnificent display of Caledon Bluebells (Gladiolus bullatus). In spring Erica holosericia and E. aristata, amongst many others, delight the visitor with mass displays, and in November Helichrysum vestitum covers the mountain slopes like snow.

There many plants of interest. One to mention is the unique Retzia capensis which stands alone in the family Retziaceae, and the Bruniaceae which is only found in the southern and south-western Cape. This family is well represented in Vogelgat, the most conspicuous being the tall stands of Brunia albiflors growing in damp swampy places on the higher slopes and enticing the passer-by with the elusive smell of coffee.

Another strange plant is the giant flycatcher, Roridula gorgonias, one of only two species in the family Roridulaceae.

Some families of plants are well represented and about 56 species of Erica are found. Of the Compositeae, at least 25 genera are represented and so far 71 different species have been collected. As might be expected the Proteaceae form a major constituent of the vegetation, with 7 genera being known to occur.