The Brenton Blue Butterfly reserve:
The wingspan is 24–38 mm for males and 22–42 mm for females. Adults are on wing from October to November and from February to March. There are two generations per year.
The larvae of the first two instars feed on the leaves and later instars on the rootstock of Indigofera erecta. The larvae can be found in holes at the base of their host plant. They are attended to by Camponotus baynei ants.
It was discovered in 1858 by Roland Trimen at Knysna in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It was not seen again until 1977, when Dr Jonathan Ball of Cape Town found a population at Nature’s Valley 50 km to the east of Knysna. This population died out during the 1980s but in 1991 Ernest Pringle of Bedford in the Eastern Cape Province located another colony at Brenton-on-Sea near Knysna. A housing development was planned for this site, but this was prevented after a highly publicised campaign to save the species from extinction. This resulted in the procurement of the land on which the butterfly breeds by the South African Government and its proclamation as a Special Nature Reserve in July 2003.
The butterfly is the type species of the genus Orachrysops, and is Red Listed as Critically Endangered. The Special Nature Reserve at Brenton is managed by CapeNature, assisted by a management committee and informed by research conducted by Dave Edge of Knysna. This research studied the life cycle of the Brenton Blue and all the ecological factors that impact on its survival including geology, microclimate, vegetation communities, ant interactions (myrmecophily), and the biology of its larval food plant Indigofera erecta Thunberg.
See more on http://www.brentonbluetrust.co.za/
Featherbed Private Nature Reserve: Situated close to Brenton-on-Sea on the Western Head of Knysna, this protected area offers a few interesting experiences. Visitors are ferried to Featherbed from Knysna across the lagoon. Here they can take a 4X4 vehicle and trailer drive, enjoying the spectacular views and learning more about the history, fauna and flora of the area; do a short guided walk through coastal forest and fynbos into ancient sea caves; and enjoy the famous buffet lunch at the outdoor restaurant. See http://www.featherbed.co.za/
Goukamma Nature Reserve: This interesting coastal reserve lies between Buffels Bay and Sedgefield, to the west of Brenton. Here you can take a walk on one of the trails, go horseriding, try your hand at fishing, paddle a kayak up the river, spot as many birds as you can and also experience the ferry across the Goukamma River. See http://www.capenature.co.za/reserves/goukamma-nature-reserve/
Robberg Nature Reserve: Situated at Plettenberg Bay, this peninsular nature reserve is a real gem. Here you can enjoy unspoiled seascapes and all the natural treasures of the reserve. The best way to explore it is by walking one of the three trails, ranging from 2 to 11 km. See http://www.gardenrouteadventureguide.com/robberg-hiking-trail.html
Garden Route National Park: This is a huge protected area that include state and private land, scattered throughout the beautiful Garden Route. It stretches from Wilderness near George to the Tsitsikamma area in the east. It include the lakes area between Wilderness and Knysna, large parts of the indigenous forests between the coast and the Outeniqua Mountains, as well as the Tsitsikamma Coastal Park. Activities offered in these areas include hiking and nature walks, mountain biking, 4X4, kayaking, forest activities, water activities and bird watching.
For more information, visit http://www.sanparks.org/parks/garden_route/