UWC Nature Reserve, Cape Flats Nature Reserve, one of the most important floral conservation sites in the Cape Lowlands, since only small fragments are formally conserved. The vegetation of this nature reserve includes endangered Cape Flats Dune Strandveld which is endemic to the Western Cape. This vegetation is of significance in terms of its horticultural and medicinal value; 66 ‘Red Data List’ plant species recorded. Due to development and sand mining, only 43% remains, unfortunately only 6% is under formal protection.
The reserve protects critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos; also endemic to the Western Cape. Despite a national recovery target of 30%, only 16% remains. Unfortunately not all the remaining vegetation falls within protected areas, therefore only 1% is formally conserved. Cape Flats Sand Fynbos was the most widespread vegetation type in Cape Town, but due to development, there is an irreversible loss. Only small patches of this ecosystem are protected. Less than 10ha of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos remains within this reserve with visible evidence of disturbance. Of concern to this ecosystem is that water tables can be altered and polluted in urban areas, especially where reserves are very small.
3 major floristic regions occur within the reserve: Vlei, Flats and Dunes with over 240 indigenous plant species including special species such as the
endangered Euphorbia marlothiana (melkbos) and the vulnerable Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron hypophyllocarpodendron (protea) are also found in the reserve. More than 20 species of mammals occur in the reserve including caracal, grysbok, mongoose, Cape dune molerat and smaller species of rodent. A variety of bird species surveyed at over 100 species including birds of prey such as the Black shouldered kite,
Rock kestrel and Spotted Eagle Owl and includes smaller species such as Weaver’s, Spotted Thick-knee and
Cape Robins. Various species of reptiles are also found in the reserve. This urban reserve with its central location holds lots of research and training potential for students.
There are many short trails through the dunes, dune depressions, flats and past the pristine seasonal wetland. You can switch from one trail to the next
at any of the intersection points or just relax at the picnic areas or bird hide. Groups can book guided tours through the endangered Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and seasonal wetland, or they can enter on their own or join the weekly PhotoWalk; which has already provided several species list additions.