The Maitland Forest Nature Reserve Trails
  • Port Elizabeth

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  • Longitude: 25.312564
  • Latitude: -33.978786
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The Maitland Forest Nature Reserve Trails

The Maitland Reserve is about 3 km inland from Maitland River Mouth. The reserve covers 150 ha and was established in 1975. There are three trails in the reserve which can be walked in various combinations. They are suitable for moderately fit persons who are advised to walk in a group, wear stout shoes, take a sun hat and drinking water. No dogs are allowed.

An old wagon trail meanders through the reserve and is used as the first leg of all three trails. This wagon trail was used to access the former lead mines situated on nearby properties. These mines are of some historical importance as they were one of the earliest attempts at mining in the Cape Colony. In 1792 it was estimated that a hundredweight of earth from these mines contained between fifty and sixty pounds of pure lead and about fifteen pounds of base silver. The mining did not, however, prove viable due to a combination of high labour costs, the difficulty of land cartage and the dangers of the coastal trade. The lead produced could not compete on the Cape Town market with that imported from Europe.

Coastal dune forest is well represented and preserved within the reserve. Much alien vegetation has been cleared from the reserve, allowing indigenous vegetation to establish itself. A few common plants found are Wild Olive (Olea Europea), White Milkwood (Sideroxylon Inerme), Cape Cranberry (Dovyalis Rhamnoides), Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus Falcatus) and Spike Thorn (Maytenus Heterophylla).

An abundant bird life flourished in the reserve with the following species being well represented: Knysna Loerie, Speckled Mousebird, Southern Boubou, Cape Robin, Cape White Eye and Double Collared Sunbirds. Fish Eagles can sometimes be seen patrolling the Maitland River.

Small buck species are also present as well as Blue Duiker and Bushpigs.

At various points the sea can be seen and whales might be spotted. Southern Right Whales are present mainly between August and early October while Humpbacks migrate along this stretch of coast between April and early December and can provide spectacular viewing.

Please note that use of the area is at your own risk.

Map and Directions to The Maitland Forest Nature Reserve Trails

GPS : 33° 58' 43.63" S / 25° 18' 45.23" E

Either take Buffelsfontein Road/Seaview Road to Seaview village, turn left into Elizabeth Road by the Spar and follow the road through Beachview village to where it turns inland, travel almost 2 km and the entrance to the reserve is on the left;

Or take Kragga Kamma Road to the T-junction at Cow Corner, turn tight and then left into De Stades Road, travel 5.4 km, turn left and follow this for 1.4 km when the entrance to the reserve will be on your right.

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