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Maitland Nature Reserve Trails

Eastern Cape > Port Elizabeth > Maitland

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Situated in 150 hectares of pristine, untouched wilderness, the Maitland Reserve Trails are a chance to immerse yourself in the dense, lush indigenous coastal forest. It is home to forest birdlife and elusive creatures, such as the elegant bushbuck and the graceful blue duiker. And let’s not forget the famous giant Maitland sand dunes that rise and fall in the backdrop.


Please remember that this is a Nature Reserve:

- All plant and animal life are protected and must not be disturbed or harmed.
- Please keep on the trail at all times.
- Minimum number three persons is recommended as a safety precaution.
- Please do not smoke or light fires while on the trail
- Dogs are not allowed.
- Do not litter.
- Carry at least two litres of drinking water per person.
- For reservation and general enquiries please contact: Reserve Manager: George Branford on +27 (0) 82 522 0298.
- In case of emergency while on the trail, please contact the Reserve Manager or 10111.


The 250 hectare Maitland Nature Reserve, which is accessed via the Seaview Main Road to Maitland River Mouth, comprises dense indigenous coastal forest, abundant birdlife, an old wagon road which leads to Maitland lead mines, a variety of small animals such as bushbuck, and blue duiker as well as the famous giant Maitland sand dunes.

The reserve offers three circular nature trails which provide easy access into the dense forest, namely:
- The Sir Peregrine Maitland Nature Trail, named after the Governor of the Cape Colony (1844), which is a 2.8 km self-guided trail; 1 to 2 Hours.
- the De Stades (River) Nature Trail which is 6.5 km long trail and provides magnificent view of St Francis Bay and Maitland dunes; 3 to 4 hours Hours.
- and lastly the Igolomi (Xhosa name for Knysna Loerie/Turaco) Trial which is a 3.1km walk passing through some of the thickest sections of the dense forest. 1 to 2 Hours.

An old wagon trail meanders through the reserve and is used as the first leg of all three trails. This wagon trail was used to access the former lead mines situated on nearby properties. The thick vegetation hides the numerous tunnels that burrow deep into the hillside to form the old mine’s complex of man-made tunnels and natural caves. In them are still found long-abandoned mining and drilling equipment, reminders of the fruitless searches for precious minerals. One of the caves is aptly called Bats’ Mine – it contains thousands of these winged creatures.

Coastal dune forest is well represented and preserved within the reserve. Much alien vegetation has been cleared from the reserve, allowing indigenous vegetation to establish itself. A few common plants found are Wild Olive (Olea Europea), White Milkwood (Sideroxylon Inerme), Cape Cranberry (Dovyalis Rhamnoides), Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus Falcatus) and Spike Thorn (Maytenus Heterophylla).

An abundant bird life flourished in the reserve with the following species being well represented: Knysna Loerie, Speckled Mousebird, Southern Boubou, Cape Robin, Cape White Eye and Double Collared Sunbirds. Fish Eagles can sometimes be seen patrolling the Maitland River.

Small buck species are also present as well as Blue Duiker and Bushpigs.

At various points the sea can be seen and whales might be spotted. Southern Right Whales are present mainly between August and early October while Humpbacks migrate along this stretch of coast between April and early December and can provide spectacular viewing.


- Maitland Sand Dunes: Maitlands is also renowned for its giant sand dunes, which not only provide breath-taking backdrops, but are also loads of fun to climb, sandboard, or simply roll down.
- Maitland Beach: One of the most popular beaches in the area offering swimming, fishing and other beach activities. The beach is also a popular spot for hang gliding and paragliding.


Top Fauna:
- Orbweaver Spiders
- Knysna Warbler
- Knysna Turaco
- Dark-backed Weaver
- Boomslang
- Numerous Insect Species incl. varied Dragonflies & Damselflies
- Bushbuck
- Chacma baboon
- Vervet Monkey

Top Flora:
- Numerous Forest Tree Species incl. Forest Boer-boon & Outeniqua Yellowwood
- Epiphytic Orchids
- Bontveld Chafflower
- Forest smilax & Spotty Nettle
- Different Lichen & Fungi Species
- White Milkwood Thicket
Contact / ReservationsMaitland Nature Reserve Trails

Alternatively contact the TOURISM call centre on +27 (0) 41 585 8884


Latitude : -33° 58' 43.73" S | Longitude : 25° 18' 45.04" E


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