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The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve situated above the town of Stellenbosch forms part of the Hottentots Holland Mountain. The Reserve comprises the upper reaches of the Jonkershoek Valley, and is an excellent place to find many of the fynbos endemics. Although the Reserve does not hold a huge variety of birds, one can expect to see up to 50 birds in a mornings birding.

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Specials

Jackal Buzzard, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Bulbul, Cape Rock-jumper, Victorin's Warbler, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin, Protea Seedeater.

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Habitats

The predominant vegetation type of the Reserve is Fynbos. The Eerste river draining the Reserve holds thick riverine vegetation. Some of the gullies hold forested ravines.

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Facilities

Visitors to the Reserve are provided with an opportunity to walk, drive or cycle. The road network consists of a good gravel road running up and down either side of the Eerste River. Numerous walks lead from this circular gravel road. A picnic area is situated on the banks of a small dam in the Reserve.

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Birding

1. The area around the entrance gate has many large indigenous and exotic trees and time spent in the area can produce a number of species. The many exotic trees attract a variety of birds including African Olive-Pigeon, Cape Weaver, Cape Canary, Fork-tailed Drongo and African Dusky Flycatcher, while the thickly wooded indigenous vegetation holds Black Sparrowhawk, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cape Batis Brimstone Canary, Southern Boubou, Sombre Greenbul and Olive Woodpecker. Birders arriving in the early morning could be rewarded with sightings of Fiery-necked Nightjar.

2. The Eerste River is flanked by dense riverine vegetation. Birds to look out for along the river include Sombre Greenbul, Southern Boubou, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Robin-Chat, Bar-throated Apalis, African Paradise-Flycatcher (summer), Cape Batis and Forest Canary. Check the scrub growing on either side of the riverine vegetation for Karoo Prinia, Grey-backed Cisticola, Speckled Mousebird, Swee Waxbill, Cape Bulbul and Cape Spurfowl. Keep an eye out for Black Saw-wing flitting over the riverine vegetation.

3. In the open Fynbos on either side of the Eerste River species such as Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Siskin and Yellow Bishop can be seen.

4. The dam approximately a third of the way up the valley should be checked for African Black Duck, whilst the moister areas hold Levaillant's Cisticola. Familiar Chat are often present on the dam wall.

5. Some of the walks leading up the valley can be very rewarding. A walk up the Swartboskloof which may take up to 2 hours, leads through some mature Protea nitida woodlands, where the diminutive Neddicky can often be heard calling. Orange-breasted Sunbird and Malachite Sunbird are usually present in this area. Further up the valley, one can see Cape Robin-Chat, Cape Bulbul, Cape Grassbird, Victorin's Warbler, Cape Siskin, Yellow Bishop and Forest Canary. Knowledge of the cheerful call of the Protea Seedeater will definitely help in locating small groups of this sought-after seed-eater, usually found in clumps of dead proteas and in the forested ravines of the Swartboskloof. More energetic climbers moving up to the higher altitudes might be rewarded with sightings of Cape Rock-jumper and Ground Woodpecker feeding in small family groups.

6. Throughout the Reserve, an eye should be kept out for raptors such as Jackal Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Verreauxs' Eagle and White-necked Raven patrolling the cliffs above.

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General

The Reserve is open to day visitors and a small fee is payable at the gate. The town of Stellenbosch is approximately 70kms (1 hours drive) from Cape Town. From Cape Town take the N1 and then take the Stellenbosch off ramp towards Stellenbosch. Once in Stellenbosch, turn left into Merriman Avenue at the fourth set of traffic lights. To get to the Reserve, follow Merriman Avenue to the outskirts of Stellenbosch and then a further 8km to the Reserve gate. Visitors to the area should note that the Reserve receives a large amount of rain during the winter months and should be prepared for a rain shower at any time in winter.

Booking for trails and general information can be attained from Tel: +27 21 886 1560. email:

The Reserve is open daily during the following times:
1 April – 31 October: 07h30 – 18h00
1 November – 31 March: 07h30 – 19h00

Cape Nature Website

Andrew Hester 2001.

Oude Denneboom
Copyright © 2008 SA Birding cc