The Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve is a lowland conservation area located within the old Milnerton Racecourse. It forms part of the greater Table Bay Nature Reserve, proclaimed in June 2012. Historically this now remnant natural veld would have been connected to the Rietvlei wetland complex.
Formerly known as Royal Ascot Conservation Area, the Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve is some 17.6ha in size. Divided into two portions it comprises two non-contiguous natural areas – a northern area and a larger southern area – separated and surrounded by the up-market residential development of Royal Ascot, Cape Town. It consists of the land inside the tracks of the former Milnerton Turf Club and is now managed by the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department.
The area, protected by the racetrack, has remained relatively untouched by development as well as free of invasive alien plants due to the removal of tall alien trees that would obstruct views of the running horses.
The Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve has unusual geology consisting of neutral to slightly acidic sand on ferricrete. It is one of the last natural habitats situated on ferricretes, from where the name Ysterplaat is derived. The vegetation comprises Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. There are 232 recorded plant species of which 12 have “Red Data” status.
Flora and Fauna
There are two small wetlands in the area, but during winter several small temporary wetlands develop, providing habitat for more than 70 bird species. At least 10 species of butterflies and moths have been recorded. There was a small population of Steenbok but is still a population of Grysbok in both the northern and southern parts of the reserve.
The southern portion of the reserve is not opened to the public. The northern portion has a footpath and is accessible to the public. Sadly, following abuse of the rules, dogs are no longer allowed.
Reserve Manager, Hester Pentz, will be hosting a guided walk through the Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve on the 15th, 16th and 18th September 2019 at 12:00 to show the flourishing beauty of our local Sandveld Fynbos. RSVP to join.
For more detail contact The Friends Of Rietvlei