Spectacular sightings, record number of visitors to Tygerberg Nature Reserve

The Tygerberg Nature Reserve team has been pleasantly surprised with the wildlife sightings in the last few months, similarly, the plant diversity and myriad of spring flowers did not disappoint. Most of the sightings were recorded on the camera traps that were set up by the conservation team for monitoring purposes.

Some of the highlights include a video recording of a caracal freely strolling along our hiking trails and one of our interns had an amazing sighting of a mother and kittens roaming on the Tygerberg hills.

Interesting sightings included a striped weasel, honey badger, large spotted genet, common duiker and a clawless otter dipping in the dam. Some of the reptiles sighted included the Cape Cobra and skinks.

Visitors are encouraged to keep a respectful distance and to be mindful that with rising temperatures they may encounter snakes. In most cases animals will shy away into the bush to avoid any human encounter.

The diversity of plant life in the reserve is exceptional and this year the spring flowers were simply impressive, from the common rain daisy and bulbous Babiana fragrans to the Felicia fruticosa and critically endangered Lachanalia lillifora, commonly known as Cape Hyacinth or Viooltjie. The species is now locally extinct in most of its historic range as very little habitat remains intact. L. liliflora is a winter-growing, deciduous bulb, which goes dormant during the hot and dry summer months. This species is listed as Endangered on the Red List of South African plants.

‘Reserve staff also saw a significant increase in visitors with 7 814 people visiting in October 2022, more than double the number of people who visited the reserve in October last year (3 649). This is by far the largest number of visitors that came through our gates in one month. It’s always encouraging to see people appreciating the rich diversity and natural beauty on offer at our reserve. As we are getting ready for the festive season, I want to encourage visitors to be respectful of the environment and other visitors, not to litter, and most importantly, to enjoy the outdoors,’ said the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning, Alderman Eddie Andrews.

We encourage visitors to hike in groups, choose routes carefully according to fitness levels and ability, and to stay on the path. Allow yourself enough time, start early, wear appropriate shoes like hiking boots, a hat and carry a filled up water bottle and remember sunscreen.

‘The Tygerberg Nature Reserve is an important green lung for Cape Town, and a critical node in the BioNet – a spatial plan that shows terrestrial and aquatic features critical for conserving biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem functioning. Thus, the reserve creates connectivity with surrounding open spaces and reserves, allowing genetic interchange, and providing for species with relatively large home ranges. To date up to 618 plant, 143 bird, 25 mammal, seven amphibian, 25 reptile and 26 butterfly species have been recorded in the reserve. Up to 23 plant species of conservation concern occur in the reserve and eight are endemic to Cape Town, being found nowhere else in the world, adding to Cape Town’s rich natural heritage,’ said Alderman Andrews.


 

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