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Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve (9800 hectares) is located near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape Province and consists of the Jonkershoek Mountains and parts of the Jonkershoek Valley. The smaller Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve (204 hectares) is part of Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. Assegaaibosch is particularly suitable for shorter walks and having a picnic while Jonkershoek is a more rugged terrain and is therefore interesting for hikers. There are a number of mountain bike trails and you can rent a mountain bike. The lower parts of the valley are used for growing wine grapes.

There are more than 1100 plant species in the reserve including some rare species such as proteas; the natural vegetation consists mainly of Fynbos. Protection of the area includes pruning and removal of trees and plants that are not native to overgrow in this area and Fynbos. An exception is the oak trees that were planted around 1817; these trees are considered to be of historical value.

There live leopards, monkeys, klipspringers, magoesten, badgers and several smaller animals in this area, however, they are shy animals and they are almost never seen. Bird species that are seen here include the osprey, black eagle, kingfisher, sugar bird and sunbird. For hikers, it is important to be alert for snakes, including the tree snake, puff adder and Cape cobra.

The climate in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is not different from the rest of the south-western Cape. The summer temperatures are hot to very hot with occasional strong south-easterly winds which gives a risk for forest fires. In winter the temperature drops significantly and it may snow on the mountain tops. There is also regularly rain in the Mountains. Hikers should always take note of the weather forecast and be aware that the weather can sometimes change quickly.

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