De Hel Nature Area


De Hel near Rhodes dr, Newlands, Cape Town

De Hel Nature Area

A riverine and valley adjoining Table Mountain below Rhodes Drive to the northeast of Constantia Nek. The upper reaches of the Spaanschemat River runs through this natural area, and environmental surveys of De Hel show that the site remains in a natural condition.

The land is designated as public open space, and has also been declared a Provincial Heritage Site. De Hel is dubbed ‘the Jewel in the Crown’ of Constantia’s riverine because of its steep slopes and dense tree cover. At the bottom lies a flat piece of land known as ‘the Meadow’ which is still home to pockets of fruit trees and garden plants.
The Dutch East India Company also established one of their four woodcutters’ posts in the area, and because of this and its associations with slave labour and slave runaways, De Hel is a heritage site of significance. It is also linked to old Khoisan cattle trails.
A plant survey identified 250 plant species; a third of these being alien to the site. The indigenous vegetation is Afro-temperate forest and fynbos (i.e. species common to the mountains of Africa), and is home to the endangered silver tree. Sixteen species of mammals have been observed, and a bird count yielded 72 species, with 17 reptiles and amphibians recorded. Notable endangered species include the Knysna warbler and the Western leopard toad.
Venue: De Hel near Rhodes dr, Newlands, Cape Town
Time: Daily
Cost: Free





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