Doornkloof Nature Reserve

Please contact the Marketing Officer for any information Ms Nthabeleng Bodumela cell: 0833 40 9900

Tel:  051 7533005/6
Fax: 086 577 1315

PO Box 94, COLESBERG, 9795

Reserve Manager - 082 7718803
Accommodation Manager – 0833409900
Doornkloof Marketing Officer Ms Nthabeleng Bodumela
cell: 0833 40 9900

Doornkloof Nature Reserve was proclaimed in terms of Section 6(1) of the Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance no. 19 of 1974, with the purpose to conserve its biodiversity and ecological processes. The surface area of the reserve expands over an area of 12 000 ha. Of significant conservation importance is the Zeekoei River (historically known as the Seacow River) which is the largest and most important tributary of the Orange River flowing into the Vanderkloof Dam.

The geology of the reserve form part of the late Carboniferous to Jurassic age Karoo Supergroup. At the time of the supercontinent, Gondewana, the area was part of an inland sea. This is clearly noticeable in the horizontal layers of white sandstone out-crops which characterizes the hillocks on the reserve. The area at and below the white sandstone indicates the level of the Jurassic inland sea. Fossil leaf impressions and solicified wood fragments are also fairly commonly found. 

Another interesting phenomenon on Doornkloof Nature Reserve is the scattered dolerite boulders that are often covered by a thin, black, glossy/glazed film which is called desert var-nish. The coating, which forms only in arid regions, is comprised of iron and manganese oxides which give the rock its characteristic polished appear-ance and black colour.

The areas summer and winter months are characterized by extreme temperature fluctuations. Summer can be extremely hot and winter very cold with icy nights, frost and occasional light snowfalls. Temperatures ranges from –8 ºC in July to 41 ºC from November to February. The mean annual rainfall varies between 300 mm to 400 mm, which occurs mainly as thunderstorms during summer.

The first inhabitants of the area were Bushmen who hunted game for food and undertook small scale farming. Bushmen artefacts can be seen on farms neighbouring the reserve. In 1830 Mr. A Steedman, a naturalist and explorer, travelled the length of the Seekoei (previously called the Seacow) River to its confluence with the Orange River and documented in particular the regular occurrences of lion and hyaenas. The last Cape Lion was shot in 1836 in close proximity to the town of Colesberg.

In 1836 land, on which Doornkloof Nature Reserve is presently established, was allocated for stock farming. The life style of these early pioneer farmers are evident in the remnants, which are scattered through-out the reserve. These structures include old stone kraals and dipping kraals, old draw-wells and the foundations of the old farm dwellings.

During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) intensive battles took place in the area. Re-mains of a British Fort and two watch towers that were used by General De Wet can still be seen on the Doorn- kloof Nature Reserve today.

Outdoor junkies can enjoy the two to three day Bokmakierie hiking trail (32 km). Angling is also popular at Roodewal (Zeekoei River). We also have a variety of other activities which include:

  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Game viewing
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking

Doornkloof Nature Reserve occurs within two vegetation types, namely the Besemkaree Koppies Shrubland and Eastern Upper Karoo. These two vegetation types fall within the Grassland Biome and Nama-Karoo Biome respectively. The vegetation of the reserve has broadly been grouped rela-tive to topographic units.

Karoo Kuni-bush (Rhus burchellii), once used by the San to make bows, and Red Grass (Themeda triandra) dominate the slopes. The plateaus are more open with Sour Karee (Rhus ciliata) and Love Grass (Eragrostis sp.). The abundant kloofs are densely grown with Sweet Thorn (Acacia karoo), Wild Olive (Olea europaea subsp. africana) and Buf-falo-thorn (Ziziphus mucronata). The Zee-koei river has a dense fringe of Sweet

Thorn (Acacia karoo) along its banks with reedbeds (Phragmites Australe) in the shallower parts of the river. Some of the Wild Olives on the reserve are over a hundred years old. The most characteristic features of this tree specie are the silver green leaves and the rounded crown, especially in the older trees.

The reserve also hosts a surprising combina-tion of flowering plants. The most noticeable are the Januariebos (Gnidia polycephala) and Kapokbos (Eriocephalus ericoides), which start flowering early spring. The clustered flowers of the Januariebos are bright yellow, however the flowers of the Ka-pokbos are small and in-conspicuous. It is the Kapokbos’ white balls of fluff, in which the seeds are hidden, that are conspicuous (hence the common name Kapokbos).

The less abundant species, which flower from spring to mid-summer, compliment the veld with their different colours. The violet flowers, when in full bloom, of the mat-forming Brand-bossie (Aptosimum procumbens var. procumbens) has an attractive appearance. However, one plant can have both white and violet oloured flowers.

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