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Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve

Eastern Cape > Port Elizabeth > Van Stadens

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RECOMMENDED HIKING TIMES: 07h30 – 16h30 (gate closes at 16H30)

A breath taking floral wonderland where nature’s artistry is fully displayed, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The Reserve promises a sensory feast of nature’s abundance and various wildflowers, including Proteas and Ericas. Hikers can relax and enjoy areas such as the birdhide, where they can see a variety of birdlife.


Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve is a 500-hectare “floral wonderland” located on the gateway to the Garden Route, 35km from Gqeberha. The area is well known as a stop over for travellers arriving or leaving the city to relax. The terrain comprises of southern wooded slopes, a large plateau and northern river banks, each with its own unique vegetation type.

The prime purpose of the Reserve is to protect and propagate the unique indigenous flora, including the rare Sterculia alexandri, named after English medical doctor and amateur botanist Richard Pior, born Richard Alexander.

Visitors are encouraged to explore and enjoy the extraordinary diversity and splendour of the natural Fynbos, succulents and other indigenous flora. Mountain bikers are welcome to explore the plateau section of the reserve.

The Cyrtanthus stadensis, whose name pays homage to Marthinus van Staden, a pioneering farmer in the area, is part of the African genus of bulbous plants. Cyrtanthus stadensis, a delicate brushstroke on nature's canvas, paints the landscape with vibrant hues and intricate patterns.

There are a number of flat gravel roads, which are ideal for exploration on a mountain bike. The area provides ideal riding terrain for the novice mountain biker or the family on a cycling outing, during which time indigenous flora can be appreciated.


Flower House:
There is a well maintained custom designed 'flower house' with correctly named flowering plant specimens at the reception office to test your knowledge.


Fynbos ramble:
Starts just past the second traffic circle and is a 500 m easy walk and is a circular route. Suitable for beginners. 500 meters / 15 minutes.

3 Dam trail:
Starts behind the conference centre and is 1.5 km easy walk along three dams and is a circular route.

Nymph trail:
Starts at the 2nd traffic circle in the same direction as the Forest Walk. It is a 3km moderate circular route though one can combine it with the Forest Walk.

Forest Walk:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 4.5 kilometers / 1 hour 30 minutes.
This circular walk takes you through the Van Stadens River forest where local endemics Atalaya capensis and Sterculia alexandria as well as many other tree species can be seen.

River Walk:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 4 kilometers / 1 hour 20 minutes. It starts near the Arboretum and follows the contour of the north-facing slope of a small tributary to the Van Stadens River. The steep slopes are home to Encephalartos longifolius and Cyrtanthus staadensis.

The Arboretum: Suitable for beginners. 600 meters / 20 minutes.
The Arboretum started as the old nursery and has been restored as an amble amongst some of the oldest trees in the reserve. Many varieties have been tagged by FOVS volunteers with both their scientific and common names so visitors can better acquaint themselves with the larger indigenous flora varieties from various places in South Africa. Be sure to take a rest on one of the informal seating areas provided to appreciate the peaceful nature of this pathway, and you may well spot some of the colorful birds which grace the reserve.

Bird hide:
Looks out over a dam with water lilies and the Lady’s Slipper mountain. The short walk to the hide starts along the track to the Forest Walk.

The Link Trail:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 1 kilometer / 30 minutes.
This scenic return path has some spectacular views across the gorge and the rock strata as it winds its way to the Van Stadens bridge (1971). After taking a moment to catch your breath beneath the inspiring bridge archway return with the impressive mountain views ahead of you.

Boulder trail:
Suitable for intermediate and experienced walkers. 1.9 kilometer / 50 minutes.
This scenic trail is for the more adventurous and links the River walk to the link trail.

Van Stadens Hike:
Suitable for experienced hikers. 11 kilometers / 3 hours.
This hike combines the River, Boulder, Link Trail, Forest Walk and Nymph Trail walks to showcase the best the reserve has to offer. It is a circular walk starting at the Flower House and follows the outer sections of the River Walk, Link Trail Forest Walk and and Nymph Trail.

A number of picnic areas are available for visitors use. We encourage you to bring a picnic and relax whilst enjoying the natural environs. You may even be lucky enough to spot some of the shy Buck and small animals and birds who live in the reserve. Please do drop your litter into the bins provided before you leave.

Mountain bike rides:
Mountain Bike Rides: These are family friendly trails that explore the plateau section of the Reserve while appreciating the plethora of indigenous flora on display. 3Rivers Trails also offer more adventurous trails outside of the reserve. See www.3riverstrails.co.za for more information.

Drives and Rides:
All the roads in the reserve are car friendly and open to the public. The circular route travels past the African huts and along the valley with a view of the mountain range before reaching the bridge picnic area - where you may wish to get out and take a photo of the Van Stadens motorway bridge. There are further roads criss-crossing the interior of the circular route enabling visitors to access less frequented areas of the reserve.

Braai areas:
In the Reserve, sharp left from the second traffic circle, by prior arrangement at 041 9560155 or at the bottom of the Van Stadens pass (R102), drive in on the left-hand side just before the low bridge.

Top Fauna:
- Narina Trogon
- Varied Sunbird Species
- Knysna & Olive Woodpeckers
- Crowned Eagle
- Numerous Butterfly & Dragonfly Species
- Chacma Baboon

Top Flora:
- Numerous Proteacea & Ericaceae
- Van Stadens Sceptre
- Van Stadens Firelily
- Honeybush Tea
- Cape Krantz Ash & Coffee Pear
- Large-leaved Dragontree


Please remember that this is a Nature Reserve:
- All plant and animal life is protected and must not be disturbed or harmed.
- Please keep on the trail at all times.
- A minimum number of two people is recommended as a safety precaution.
- Please do not smoke or light fires while on the trail.
- No dogs allowed.
- Do not litter.
- Carry at least two litres of drinking water per person.
- For reservation and general enquiries please contact: Reserve Manager: Clyde Scott on +27 (0) 82 415 5264.
- In case of emergency while on the trail, please contact the Reserve Manager or 10111.
- The Reserve is open daily from 08h00 till 17h00 and offers two walking trails and picnic sites. Tel: (041) 956 0155, Environmental Conservation Division.
Download the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve Hiking Trails Guide and Map here: https://www.nmbt.co.za/uploads/1/files/doc_van_stadens_wildflower_reserve_hiking_trail_guide_map.pdf
Contact / ReservationsVan Stadens Wild Flower Reserve

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


Latitude : -33° 54' 44.02" S | Longitude : 25° 13' 12.91" E


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