lies on the south-western Cape coast, bordering the village of De Kelders near Gansbaai. It stretches all the way to the Klein River estuary near Hermanus, covering about 1 000 ha with a spectacular 17km coastline. The reserve has a beautiful long beach, known as Die Plaat, with white sands and rocky limestone outcrops. The Walker bay Nature Reserve is ideal for day hikes along the coast, angling, swimming and picnicking.
Between De Kelders and the Walker Bay Nature Reserve is Klipgat Cave. The cave has dramatic views of Walker Bay and can be reached by a sequence of steps down from the parking area to the little cove in front of the cave. On the beach of the cove is a fresh water fountain. Some of the earliest remains of modern man, dating between 70’000 and 90’000 years back, have been found in the cave. More recently, some 2000 years ago, ancestors of the Khoenhoen had their home here as well. Proof that Khoenkhoen farmed sheep in the Western Cape (about 2000 years ago) has been found in the Klipgat Cave. Cape Nature has developed plans to protect the cave and make it suitable for a growing number of visitors. A board walk will connect the cove and the cave and an interpretation centre will be erected.
The spectacular Klipgat Trail (7kms) meanders along the coast from Gansbaai harbour, past De Kelders and ends at the Klipgat Cave. Lowland coastal fynbos, also known as strandveld, is the main type of vegetation in this area, and is characterised by species such as bietou, blombos, sour fig and waxberry. Parts of the dunefields were stabilised from the early 1900s until the 1980s, using alien Rooikrans and Port Jackson. These species are invasive and, together with uncontrolled coastal development, pose a threat to the indigenous strandveld. Dense thickets of old milkwoods occur along the banks of the Klein River lagoon and at Stanford’s Cove.
Most of the mammals occurring in the reserve are shy, but the tracks of Cape clawless otter, bushbuck, duiker, grysbok and steenbok are occasionally observed. Off-shore, Southern Right Whales occur from about August to November, while Bryde’s and humpback whales and various dolphin species occur throughout the year. Marine fish include the sought-after galjoen, kabeljou and steenbras, which may be caught at Galjoenbank, Sopiesklip, Skeurbank and other fishing sites. The reserve has numerous species of seabirds, including the striking African black oystercatcher. This species is threatened by coastal recreational activities because it breeds on beaches in the summer.