Topography and Geology
The peak of Phillipskop (487m) dominates the reserve, though the highest point is actually on the ridge of the mountains behind (575m). The Klein River Mountains are made up of hard quartzitic rock of the Table Mountain Group (often called Table Mountain Sandstone). This rock type makes up Table Mountain (as one would expect from its name) and most of the highest mountains of the Western Cape. The hard rock outcrops throughout the reserve creating interesting formations, including high cliffs, a natural cave, rock stack and waterfall. The soils that derive from this quartzite are very sandy, acidic and nutrient poor, unsuitable for most crops or grazing.
The vegetation that grows here is "acid sand proteoid fynbos", one of the most diverse habitats for plants in the world. The "acid sand" refers to the soil type; the "proteoid" reflects the large number of members of the protea family (Proteaceae) found in this vegetation; "fynbos" is a type of heathland found only in the Cape region of South Africa. Fynbos is characterised by the high presence of members of the restio family (Restionaceae), protea family (Proteaceae) and of the genus Erica. Most of the vegetation on the reserve is completely natural, but the lowest slopes do have some invasive wattle (Australian species of Acacia), which we are trying our hardest to control and clear.
The reserve last burnt in 2012, a natural process for this vegetation that occurs around every 10 to 20 years. This was part of the same fire that burnt Vogelgat. It has gradually been recovering but every stage of the cycle brings new plants to the fore, so there is always something different to enjoy when you visit us.
To discover more about the plants and animals you are able to see on our reserve please see our pages on flora and fauna or look at our current list of sightings.
At Phillipskop Mountain Reserve we welcome day visitors, or you can extend your stay by booking one of our self-catering cottages. Visitors to Phillipskop are free to explore the reserve, but please do stay within the reserve and respect the privacy of our neighbours' land. There are no fences to mark our boundaries, but the reserve is bordered by streams to the east and west, and the ridge along the crest of the Klein River Mountains to the north.
For those who would like to discover more about the fynbos or the natural history of the reserve, why not book a personalised guided walk with Chris, who will help you learn more, whatever level of knowledge you are starting from.