Rocherpan Nature Reserve
West Coast DC
Rocherpan is a coastal nature reserve teeming with birds and colourful wildflowers. The reserve, which lies 25km north of Velddrif on the Cape West Coast, consists largely of a seasonal vlei that is usually dry between March and June. Rocherpan was established as a nature reserve (930 hectares in size) in 1966, and the adjacent section of the Atlantic Ocean was declared a marine reserve in 1988 (150 hectares in size). Rocherpan had a fortuitous start when farmer Pierre Rocher arrived in this area in 1839 looking for improved summer grazing for his livestock. Rocher and his workers closed off the mouth of Papkuils River, forcing it to flow behind the dunes that separate the sandveld from the sea. This inadvertently created a perfect habitat for waterbirds, and the local species have thrived ever since. Along the coast, you’ll see the rare and endangered black oystercatcher, the kelp gull and the Cape shoveller.