Overstrand Municipality’s Environmental Management Services and the Hermanus Botanical Society worked closely together to rebuild and rehabilitate the hiking routes after the Fernkloof Nature Reserve was severely impacted by the storm of 24 September 2023 and many of the hiking trails were closed as a result of rockslides and erosion.
As from today, 24 November 2023, hikers will once again be able to enjoy most of the scenic hiking trails in the Nature Reserve, as almost 85% of the heart of Fernkloof’s contour paths have re-opened.
Parts of the Red Route were impacted the most by flood damage and will take longest to repair and will remain closed. However, the Fisherman’s Kloof approach is open and the Jeep Track can be reached via this route.
Hiking should be approached with caution, respect, and common sense and visitors are advised to avoid these parts of the Red Route until repairs have been completed as they are still unstable and unsafe.
Councillor Clinton Lerm as Mayco Member of Investment, Infrastructure and Planning praised the Bergstap volunteers who did most of the repair work to date. He also thanked Kobus Stofberg’s team who did excellent quick repairs on the timber bridges during the past week.
“All the volunteers, under the auspices of the Hermanus Botanical Society, did (and are still doing) sterling work to bring the paths back to the point where they can be used safely. We really appreciate their hard work and extend a thank you to them for what they have accomplished in a month’s time,” he said.
The following routes are affected:
- Boardwalk to the Waterfall – Open but visitors cannot pass the waterfall as this leads to the Red Route (Kanonkop)
- Adder Ladder – Open
- Boekenhoutbos – Open
- Green Route (Lemoenkop) – Partially open
- Blue Route – Open (Dog Friendly)
- All other trails – Open
- Fernkloof Gardens – Open
- Red Route (Fishermans Kloof to Kanonkop Staircase) – Open
- Red Route (Waterfall to Kanonkop Staircase) – Closed
- Red Route (Lower section directly above the Visitor Centre) – Closed
Visitors are still urged to exercise extreme caution when using the paths and adhere to all warning signs.
Kindly note that the Hermanus Botanical Society is closing the Visitors Centre building for two weeks from next week (27 November), for refurbishment. The woodwork needs to be replaced or fixed, broken glass is to be replaced and there is a problem with the floor which is unstable on one side.
Maps will be obtainable from the Fernkloof Nursery in the meantime. The floral display will be resumed as soon as the work is done. The Visitors Centre should be open mid-December for the height of the season.
Somebody did ask why the Municipality does not start charging an entrance fee to speed up the rebuilding of trails. The main reason is that the Fernkloof Nature Reserve has always been free and that there are many entry points – meaning the Municipality will have to place a person at the entrance gates to collect the fees. The Hermanus Botanical Society currently has an agreement with Overstrand Municipality regarding the gardens and this is another factor to be considered.