The Nelson Mandela University campus was declared a Private Nature Reserve in 1983. The campus covers 830 ha, and is dominated by the St Francis Dune Thicket vegetation community, which is characterised by clumps of thicket occurring within a matrix of Dune Fynbos.
This fynbos vegetation is highly threatened due to agricultural clearing and coastal development, and the Nelson Mandela University Nature Reserve makes a significant contribution towards its conservation. Of the 17 500 ha of this vegetation still in existence, only 1 500 ha are conserved, and the reserve accounts for 48% of this total. Despite some problems with invasive Australian Acacias the vegetation is in very good condition.
The Grysbok Trail was established in 1995 and is designed to act as an environmental education and recreation resource for the University, and the broader community. The trail meanders through the reserve, providing opportunities for observing the exciting fauna, including a variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and flora of the area.
There are two trail options that can be walked, a 4.8 km or a 2.5 km loop. Both trails cover relatively flat terrain and are suitable for moderately fit people. Visitors are welcome to walk this trail privately, but please note that for safety purposes you need to sign the Visitors’ Book at the fence stile at the start of the trail.