About Us

Helderberg Eco-Rangers – where your outdoor adventures begin

The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is an extra mural aimed at children aged 3 – 15. This group is all about having fun while learning about and exploring nature and our environment. After all, we live in one of the most scenic parts of the world offering a diverse and magnificent floral kingdom along with a number of majestic creatures such as the Bontebok, Zebra, Caracal and leopard to name a few. Take a closer look, get down on your knees and you will discover a world often overlooked by the naked eye . . . beetles with intricate patterns, tiny bugs, fungi. Look up and you see the sugar birds flitting here and there, an African Harrier Hawk seeking a meal, brightly coloured butterflies and dragon files dancing on the breeze. Look further and you see the craggy mountains – the Helderberg and the Hottentots Holland ranges forming the backdrop to a land filled with beauty and life. You will be caught in wonder if you just take the time to be with nature. In the Helderberg, outdoors life is an adventure for all to enjoy and Eco-Rangers is here to help you and your children embark on a journey you will not regret.




The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is based right in the middle of nature! We meet each Friday (term time only) at the Environmental Education Center in the Helderberg Nature Reserve of Somerset West. This is the perfect home for this children’s group. With a safe, nature filled classroom environment our children are able to listen, learn and grow while being guided through amazing facts about the world around us. Lessons are most often presented to the children via an interactive overhead presentation. Following this, the children will have the opportunity to work on something practical be it an art, craft or science experiment relevant to the subject being discussed. Classroom sessions are always filled with fun and laughter as we feel this is the best way for children to learn and develop. They enjoy a fun, hands on approach to learning. Of course, being in the Nature Reserve, many of our lessons take place while out in the field interacting and becoming connected with nature. The outdoors is one big and exciting classroom. While out and about children have time to discover and explore in a safe place. They can make friends, study nature, play and just be children. As we know, being outside is beneficial to us all and research has shown us that children who have access to the outdoors are healthier, happier, calmer, more focused, inspired and more creative. Children of today don’t have the freedoms we used to have. They can’t just take a bike and go riding around town for fun. They don’t have opportunity to meet up with friends and go hiking up the mountains or swimming in the local rivers. And parents are most often caught up with work and life with little or no time to spend with their children in nature. Our world has become so unfriendly to children and families and thus we have the nature deficit disorder showing up all over the place. This is where Eco-Rangers comes in to help children and families reconnect and enjoy time out in nature. We want to bring back the joy of nature into the lives of the children of today.

The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is a family friendly group. Although Eco-Rangers is primarily aimed at Children aged between 3 and 15, we do like to encourage parents to join in whenever they can. Being together as a family in nature can help develop stronger, happier relationships between children and parents. Grandparents can join as well!

Sorting of seeds

Sorting of seeds

There are four groups which children can join.

The Dassies – this group is aimed at children aged 3 – 5 years

The Genets – this group is aimed at children aged 3 – 7 years
This group meets at 13h45 each Friday for an hour.

The Caracals – this group is aimed at children aged 7 – 11 years
This group meets at 15h00 each Friday and finish at 17h00 / 17h30

The Leopards – this group is aimed at children aged 11 – 15 years
This group meets at 15h00 each Friday and finish at 17h00 / 17h30

Our weekly children’s programme which is held each Friday consists of nature projects, nature slide shows, environmental education sessions, wildlife observations, hiking, practical workshops, conservation led tasks such as tree planting and alien species clearing. Most importantly of all it offers children time to be with friends and to have fun. Children who are members and attend the weekly meetings are able to take part in projects where they can work towards badges. These badges give children the incentive to learn more, become involved, take pride in themselves and their environment and share their knowledge. Our badge system helps children to develop of sense of achievement while recognising those who really put in a great deal of effort and hard driven desire to achieve a goal. Children who show a particular interest in a specialised subject can be introduced to the relevant person, body or community. We currently have a couple of children who enjoy botany and are now involved with ‘CREW’ and spend time submitting photos to www.ispot.org.za/. Other children are involved with leopard monitoring. These projects allow the children to learn specialised skills as well as to equip them with experience and exposure which can benefit them in the future. Children can also apply some of the knowledge they learn to their work and projects at school thus improving their grades in areas such as Geography, Natural sciences and life skills. Eco-Rangers offers so much more than just nature . . . it helps to develop the child as a whole, provides them with opportunity to learn new skills, puts children in touch with community projects, allows the child to feel and be a part of something bigger.

Apart from the weekly meetings, we run a series of outings, outdoor events and workshops throughout the year that take place in natural areas of Somerset West and surrounds. We normally organise two local outings per term. These will take place over a weekend. There will also be one or two long distance outings for families who are interested. During the school holidays more events are organised. These may include week-long nature programmes, survival camps and sleep-outs. Our outings and holiday programs are open to anyone wanting to be out in nature in the company of children.

Family Hike along the Watsonia Trail

Family Hike along the Watsonia Trail

Don’t let nature pass you by. Give the Television a break, put away the Ipad and Xbox. Put on your hiking boots, take a breath of fresh air and embrace yourself and your family for some good healthy fun. Discover more and be amazed – Join the Eco Rangers

Members –
Membership is open to all children and parents who want to reconnect with nature. At the moment the group caters for Primary School children and their parents. Current members come from schools in the Helderberg and Stellenbosch areas.

Outings –
Non-members can join in the outings and these events are billed separately.

Are the Helderberg Eco-Rangers part of the Helderberg Nature Reserve and ‘the Friends of the Helderberg Nature reserve’?
‘The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is an independent group providing nature and outdoor education and experiences to children and their families. The ‘Friends of the Helderberg’ support this group and assist where they can in areas such as marketing and advertising. The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is not part of the ‘Friends of the Helderberg’ or the Helderberg Nature Reserve. All these groups stand for a similar cause – that being the preservation of our local natural areas, flora and fauna. We all work together where we can to make a difference. Teaching our children to be aware of, to connect with and care for nature is where it all begins and thus the Helderberg Eco-Rangers plays a very important part in the future of our natural heritage and the Helderberg Nature Reserve.’

Information –
We use e-mail and facebook to inform members and interested people about upcoming events. Kindly email us if you want to be included on the mailing list or require more information about joining this group.

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