The Rondevlei Nature Reserve

From the top of Table Mountain overlooking the Southern suburbs and False Bay you cannot help but notice the large wetland area almost at the coast.

Overlooking the Southern suburbs and False Bay

The view from the back of Table Mountain. Note the wetlands in the distance

This is a wetland area consisting of 2 large vlei’s (an Afrikaans word for wetland) Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei with a linking corridor between them.

One of these bodies of water is Rondevlei Nature Reserve. It is a reserve which is managed by the city of Cape Town and is described as an “ecological gem” Originally established as a bird sanctuary in 1952 it was upgraded to a full nature reserve in 1988.

A view from Rondevlei towards Muizenberg


Although historically this area was home to many hippos, the population was soon wiped out after the arrival of the European settlers. However hippos were reintroduced to Rondevlei in 1981 to help control the growth of an invasive South American grass that was threatening to overrun the vlei. The hippos eliminated the invador and now play an important ecological role in the area by restricting the growth of other invasive plants and of spreading nutrients through the system via their dung. 

An interesting story about the reserve concerns young Zorro. This 4 year old male hippo who was born in the reserve was chased out of the area by his father in 2010. (this is normal hippo behaviour where the adult males chase the juveniles away from their territory)
After some anxious days searching for their lost hippo,the reserve management found him and he was relocated to a game reserve in Worcester.