The Koeberg private nature reserve
Eskom controls 3000 ha of West Coast around the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. In keeping with both Eskom's environmental policy and national conservation trends - Eskom has decided to open this property to the public. The property was proclaimed as a private nature reserve on 18 October 1991 and was officially opened by the then administrator of the Cape, Kobus Meiring.
Two major veld types are represented on the reserve: West Coast Strandveld and dune veld. As only 0.74% of West Coast Strandveld is being conserved at present, the Koeberg Nature Reserve plays a vital conserving role for this threatened veld type.
The reserve is home to a number of animal species. The Grysbok, Steenbok and the larger Duiker are buck species which occur naturally in the area. The Bontebok and Springbok have been introduced.
The area's largest predator is the Caracal (rooikat). The elusive African wild cat, Grey mongoose and genet can also be seen. The most common reptiles are the Cape Cobra (geelslang), Mole snake, Boomslang, Skaapsteker and the angulated tortoise. The reserve has an abundant birdlife with 153 species recorded to date - including the Ostrich, African Fish Eagle and Cape Penduline Tit.
Koeberg runs a number of conservation and environmental projects including an alien plant eradication programme, environmental education of the community and visitors and academic research. Improvement of visitor facilities is on-going.
In addition, the reserve provides some members of the local community with an opportunity to generate income by cutting rooikranz (vegetation) to sell for fire wood. This activity serves the dual purpose of removing an invasive alien species and empowering between 50 and 100 otherwise unemployed people to earn an income
A hidden natural asset within the reserve is a large aquifer or underground lake. The Blaauwberg Municipality pumps approx. 6 000 million litres of water per year from the aquifer for the town of Atlantis, supplying the whole town's water needs. The water quality and level of the water table is monitored by the Blaauwberg Municipality and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
There are two hiking trails on the reserve. The Dikkop Trail is a 13 km circular walk which includes pristine strandveld, dune veld and a 2km walk along the beach.
The walk is most spectacular in spring when the wild flowers along the route are in bloom
The Grysbok Trail is a two hour walk starting at the Visitor Centre and includes a stretch along the beach and passes a salt marsh which is rich in birdlife in the winter months.
Koeberg uses the reserve to make available the joys and fruits of conservation to the average man in the street and break down the generally held misconception in South Africa that nature reserves are for the privileged minority.
Koeberg also believes that by increasing direct public involvement in and awareness of the environment it can create public pride in having such natural assets on their doorstep - thereby ensuring the long-term survival of the reserve.
Booking for the trails can be done at the Koeberg Visitor Centre at telephone no: (021) 550-4021office hours.