Rolfontein Nature Reserve

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Tel: 053 6640900
Fax: 053 6640901

PO Box 23, VANDERKLOOF, 8771

Reserve Manager - 072 462 5929
Accommodation Manager - 083 665 3730
Rolfontein nature reserve is situated adjacent to Petrusville and Vanderkloof, on the Southern bank of the Vanderkloof dam .The reserve covers an area of 8 400 ha and is located between 29º 59' 00" S and 30º 05' 20" S longitude, and 24º 40'20" and 24º 48'20" E latitude. The reserve is situated between 1 175m and 1 437m above sea level. It lies in a predominantly summer rainfall area with an annual rainfall of 355 mm, peaking in March and April. The mean maximum daily temperature for January is 30.4ºC and the mean minimum daily temperature for July is –1.8ºC


The reserve was proclaimed in terms of section 6(1) of the Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance 19 of 1974); Proclamation number 27/1994 of 15 March 1994, published in the Province of the Cape of Good Hope official Gazette 25 March 1994.

Wilderness zone

The wilderness zone is a limited development area. The only recreation and facilities permitted are hiking huts and hiking trails.

Development / Tourist zone

This includes all infrastructures on the reserve, and is the focus of tourism activities. Permissible developments include game viewing hides, picnic sites, angling areas, self-guided trails, huts, chalets, camping sites, bush camps, field ranger outposts, roads, and designated parking areas for tourists. The Vanderkloof dam is neighboring the reserve, which caters to all types of watersports.

It should be borne in mind that additional facilities, such as shops, restaurants, overnight accommodation, etc, are available in the adjacent town of Vanderkloof.
Organized farming in the area commenced in 1837. The two farms Roode Kop and Rolfontein, on which part of the present reserve is situated, were granted to J.H. van der Linde and J.S. van der Merwe respectively. These two Orange River farms were partly flooded by the P.K.le Roux dam. In 1968 the remainder of this farm, 4700 ha, was handed over to the Cape Department of Nature and Environmental Conservation to be developed as a reserve.

The Rolfontein Nature reserve was established, with its typical mountainous valley through which the Orange River runs, to preserve the mountainous Karoo ecosystem. The Dam started filling on 9 December 1976. For the next five years there was little progress on Rolfontein. The control of the surface area of the P.K.le Roux Dam for recreation purposes was transferred to the Cape Provincial Administration during 1974. In 1984 an additional 1500 ha of land was acquired for extension of the reserve.
Erection of game fencing started in 1972.

The integration of the Doornkuilen sector (1500 ha) into the original reserve increased the reserve size to 6200 ha. During March 1992 the game fencing of Rolfontein nature reserve was completed. Today the reserve has a size of 8400 ha.
The following species occurred historically on the reserve: kudu, mountain reedbuck, grey duiker, springbok and steenbok.
Since 1971 the following species have been reintroduced to Rolfontein nature reserve: Black wildebeest (1971 & 1973); Eland (1973 & 1974 &1975 & 1976); White Rhinoceros (1975 & 1976 & 1978); Red Hartebeest (1973 & 1974 & 1975); Burchell's Zebra (1976); Gemsbok (1976 & 1977); Blesbuck (1978); Kudu (1980 & 1981); Warthog (1985); Brown Hyena (1980 & 1981 & 1982 & 1990); and Cheetah (1980).
Since the establishment of Rolfontein Nature Reserve, soil reclamation was an important management function; due to previous farming activities there was a need for construction and maintenance of soil reclamation works and exclosures.
Extension and Environmental Education has been ongoing since 1975. The development of the Tent Camp concept for accommodating school groups for education purposes commenced during 1985.

The reserve actively became involved with the tourism concept in 1979 with the construction of the entrance gate complex and the upgrading of tourist routes. The reserve was opened for the first time to the general public in October 1980.

Game Viewing

Game to be viewed includes the White Rhino and other mammals such as Eland, Gemsbok, Kudu, Black wildebeest, Red hartebeest and Burchell's zebra. Aardwolf, Brown hyena, Aardvark, Baboon and Vervet monkey also occur in the Reserve. There are also many bird species in the Reserve.

Angling And Boating

The Dam is rich in fish species, such as the small-mouth and large-mouth yellow fish, catfish and carp. Angling is permitted in designated areas at the dam and a valid license is required, which is obtainable from any post office. Boats of all types are permitted on the dam, but may not approach the Reserve Bird Sanctuary and must maintain a distance of at least 50m from the shoreline.

The floristic diversity of Rolfontein is represented by 209 plant species of which 44 are grasses.

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