Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve: A Newly Discovered Gem
A 2km drive on Askop Road, off the N2, along a winding road, brought me to the gates of the Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve. Upon my arrival I was greeted by five dogs: Baloo who looks like a very fluffy bear (living up to his name, no doubt); Angela, who is so obviously the tiny queen (or so she thinks); Mia, who seems to be way more bark than bite (and this I realise every morning as I enter the kitchen); little Chickpea, who might actually be scared of her own shadow and you only really see her out of the corner of your eye, and feisty little Phoebe who thinks she’s a giant but it quite literally the size of a morning rusk (but a cute morning rusk). I have not mentioned the rather heavy set donkey that galloped in my direction to say hello. At the time I felt like death was fast approaching and it had large ears and massive teeth. I soon found out that like most of the animals on this beautiful reserve, Cara is very loving and normally comes over for a butt scratch – to the point where you might look up and straight into the hindquarters of an ass. My mornings are greeted with the red-chested Cuckoo’s melodious ‘Piet-my-vrou, Piet-my-vrou’ and I drift off to sleep with the song of a very illusive Buff-spotted Flufftail right outside my window. This beautiful and largely undiscovered paradise is definitely shaping up to be a fantastic start to the next 6 weeks and a close second to Nature’s Valley.
Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve has one of the most beautiful patches of indigenous forest and various trails that explore the property. One of my favourite spots is atop a hill about a 100 m from the front door. It boasts fantastic views of Formosa peak to the north-east, the highest of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, and stunning sunset over Robberg in the south-west.
With the establishment of Brackenburn CREW in 2015, a conservation facility, they now provide guided tours through the woodlands of the reserve. The trails meander down to the Buffels River, with a healthy community of birds and other wildlife on the way and cooling rockpools as reward after a long trek – a nature-enthusiasts dream. Brackenburn CREW also specialises in conservation, rehabilitation and education. The facility is run on strict rehabilitate and release ethics and gives a holistic respective on the process of rehabilitation and the progress of the injured as well as a look into the environment the rehabilitated will be released into.
You can also stay onsite in a gorgeous two-bedroom, self-catering cottage surrounded by lush forest and its accompanying wildlife - giving you the opportunity to share in the vision of the facility and explore nature as well as the many attractions Tsitsikamma and the surrounding areas have to offer. The Nature’s Valley Trust believes in this endeavour, headed by amazing and passionate people like Brenda, Mark and Polly and gives it the stamp of trust!!