Thomas Baines Natures Reserve lies 12 km south-west of Grahamstown,
just off the N2 highway. The reserve covers an area of 2500 ha and displays a rich diversity of fauna and flora,
with three distinct habitats: Grassy Fynbos, Valley Bushveld and Afromontane
The reserve is inhabited by a large and impressive herd of Cape Buffalo. The reserve was once the home of "Tom" the rhino, known far and wide for the exceptional length of his horn.
The Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is home to at least 25 reptile species, and over 50 types of mammals including various antelope such as eland, red hartebeest, bushbuck and kudu. The reserve can be explored by car along a 15km track. Walking is not advised. Smaller mammals include vervet monkeys and genets. Over 170 bird species of birds have been recorded, making it an ideal birding destination.
Facilities at the reserve include a fully equipped environmental education centre for school and youth club outings which caters for up to 60 learners at a time. The Settlers Dam, which lies within the reserve, features a recreation site with picnic tables and braai facilities. The Settler's Dam is popular for bass fishing, sailing, boardsailing and canoeing.
For further information concerning bookings of school groups for Environmental Education courses, as well as details relating to the Friends of Thomas Baines Nature Reserve, contact the Eastern Cape Nature Conservation Office on Tel: (046) 6227216.
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