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Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve

Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve - Western Region, Eastern Cape  © Brad, Copyright

Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve

Located 22 km from Grahamstown, in the rugged Blaauwkrantz Gorge, lies the Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve which covers a total area of 200 ha on the banks of the Blaaukrantz River. The reserve displays a diverse variety of Eastern Province thornveld vegetation which includes over two hundred plant species. The region is charcterised by rocky outcrops, and magnificent specimens of aloes and tree euphorbias, also known as Candelabra trees.

The Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve is managed by the Algoa Regional Services Council, and also serves as a decent birding destination with 185 species being spotted in the reserve.

An interesting variety of mammals can also be see in the Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve, including bushbuck, vervet monkey, rock hyrax (a.k.a. rock dassie) and the Cape clawless otter. Of particular importance in the Blaaukrantz Nature Reserve is a rare and almost extinct fish called the Eastern Province rocky (Sandelia bainsii), found in pools along the Blaauwkrantz River. The reserve features an environmental education centre containing much information on the area.

Rock climbing at Blaauwkrantz Nature Reserve is another popular activity, with the rugged cliffs of Blaauwkrantz Gorge providing challenging climbs for all levels of mountaineering.

Located at the bottom of the Blaaukrantz Gorge, lies a magnificent pool, known as the Blaauwkrantz Pool. Legend has it that these pools are the home of "The People of the River" also known as Abantu Bomlambo. According to Xhosa cosmology, the People of the River are believed to live beneath the water with their crops and cattle, and are often consulted by initiates before they are trained as sangomas or diviners. Those who gain approval are said to be taken into the depths of a pool to join their society for a time. Those who are rejected by the People of the River drown.

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