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PHILLIPSKOP MOUNTAIN RESERVE, STANFORD DISTRICT

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Phillipskop Mountain Reserve covers over 246ha on the southerly slopes of the Klein River Mountains just to the east of Stanford in the Western Cape. The reserve protects unique mountain fynbos. Flowers abound throughout the year and visitors are encouraged to do a guided walk with Chris, a FGASA registered guide and world renowned authority on fynbos. Winter brings the magnificent proteas into full bloom; during spring flowers of bulbous plants appear from nowhere; while in summer and autumn the multitude and variety of ericas grab the attention. A comprehensive list of the plants and animals seen on the reserve is available at this link: http://www.phillipskop.co.za/flora-fauna/

The reserve offers excellent opportunities to get into the heart of the Klein River Mountains. There are a range of hiking trails, with differing levels of endurance, taking visitors to various sites around the reserve such as a small waterfall, unusual rock formations like the David & Goliath rock stacks, a large cave once inhabited by Khoi herders, and the top of Phillipskop itself, with its amazing views. Read more about available trails here: www.phillipskop.co.za/your-visit/explore-the-reserve/, or about guided walks here: www.phillipskop.co.za/your-visit/guided-walks/ One could even spot Verreaux’s Eagles that regularly patrol the crags at the back of Phillipskop in search of dassies.The spacious self-catering cottages are perched on slopes above the Klein River and afford sweeping views across the Overberg. Each cottage sleeps six people (a double en-suite and two twin bedrooms that share a bathroom) and are ideal for a family or small group wanting to spend time in nature. There is a large open plan living area with fully equipped kitchen. The comfortable sitting area has a log-burning stove to ensure warmth during the chilly winter evenings. On the mountain side, there is a patio and built-in braai, with vistas towards Phillipskop. The deck on the valley side is a wonderful place to sit and watch the birdlife of the Overberg. In season raptors abound as they traverse the valley; listen for the call of the Blue Cranes across the fields and in summer White Storks come in to roost in the trees below. Throughout the year, the indigenous plants around the cottages attract sunbirds and sugarbirds, and a variety of insect eating species. The Phillipskop Mountain Reserve is also in close proximity to many of the top birding destinations along the Cape Whale Coast such as those at Hermanus, Stanford, the Uilenkraals Valley and Estuary, the Dyer Island Peninsula, as well as the Overberg Wheatbelt. The levels of avian endemism in this region are extra-ordinary making for outstanding birding.