Salmonsdam Nature Reserve, run by Cape Nature, is a small nature reserve not far from Stanford in the Western Cape in South Africa. There are three hiking trails available.
The longest is a Mountain Trail from the foot of the Perdeberg mountain and at the top they say that there’s a view over Walker Bay (thats for sure, as you can see Walker Bay from virtually any point in the reserve), and the country towns of Caledon and Bredasdorp. The second trail is the 4km Ravine Trail through Keeromskloof and through small patches of indigenous forest. The final trail is the Waterfall Trail of about 3km through thick fynbos down to the falls and back. All three trails have short links so experienced and fit hikers could tackle all three in a day.
As a far too heavy 62 year old on a severe diet that includes at least an hours walking or biokinetics a day, the logical thing to do after 10 weeks of the regime was to do a bit of hiking, so we set off one beautiful Saturday morning to Salmonsdam.
We did part of the ravine trail but turned back where it joins the mountain trail. The piece we did do was fairly easy but the next stage seemed fairly difficult, although probably not difficult at all for experienced hikers. The fact that Salmonsdam hiking routes don’t feature strongly on hiking and related sites confirms that assumption. I think if I’d had a walking stick I would have gone further. So we’ll have to back at some stage.
There are very basic facilities at Salmonsdam Nature Reserve for overnight camping including a few small chalets. There is an ablution block and 10 camping sites.
Around the South east edge of the reserve is a “mountain drive”: which leads far up into the Perdeberg and meets up with the Mountain trail. I was expecting to be able to drive to the top in an ordinary motor vehicle (a Mercedes C- class) but it seems that only 4X4 vehicles or perhaps even 4X2 LUV’s will be able to reach the summit with any ease.
Flora and Fauna is varied and the reserve is a good example of a mountain catchment area. We spent an entire morning in the reserve and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It’s often used as a training site for school children because of the catchment area is so easily visible. Baboons and other small mammals are often seen in the reserve. We saw signs of the baboons feasting on freshly open Protea flowers and also flowers from a Protea that flowers just below the surface.
Salmonsdam was named after Captain Robert Salmond of HMS Birkenhead which sank just a few short miles from Salmonsdam on 26th February 1852 when around 450 sailors and soldiers lost their lives. from that tragic event came the now famous call of “Women and Children First’ and the “Birkenhed Drill”
From Cape Town go to Hermanus on the N2 and R43 and then to Stanford on the R43. As you enter Stanford turn left onto the Caledon Road (R326). From the intersection go 4.4km until you reach the “Papiesvlei, Elim” turnoff to your right. From here on the roads are gravel. the road condition is not good and caution should be exercised.Travel approx 6km on this gravel road and then turn left at the Salmonsdam turnoff. Travel for approx 3.5 kms. You will pass the entrance to a property called Beloftebos and 1.5 km from there you will reach Salmonsdam Nature Reserve.