De Mond Nature Reserve – Home to the Damara Tern

De Mond Nature Reserve – Home to the Damara Tern

Managed by CapeNature, the little known De Mond Nature Reserve lies along the southern Cape coastline almost halfway between Arniston and Struisbaai. The Heuningness River that bisects the reserve widens here before entering the sea, forming a tranquil lagoon that is popular with fishermen and birdwatchers and on clear weather days has an almost tropical feel to it that will put the best of the Seychelles and Mauritius to shame.

Best known for its large numbers of waders that visit the estuary mouth during the summer months, De Mond is also one of only a few important breeding locations in South Africa for the Damara Tern. These stunning and diminutive terns hunt amongst the wave break and in the more tranquil waters of the lagoon, where they dip down daintily to the waters surface to pluck-up small fish. The breeding colony that is found in the dune slacks has been carefully monitored for many years and the CapeNature staff proudly protects them from any disturbance. Sadly though, numbers are continuing to decline with only about 11 birds being seen at present.

The 7km Sterna Trail is a great way to explore the reserve and cuts through coastal fynbos and thicket before entering onto rolling white dunes and an undisturbed coastline that leads back to the estuary mouth. At the entrance gate picnic sites are found below the dense stands of ancient and knarled Milkwood trees and these attract a number of sought after bird species including the endemic Knysna Woodpecker and Southern Tchagra.  De Mond is without a doubt one of the Cape Floristic Kingdoms special coastal reserves where families may enjoy picnicking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing


Getting There:

De Mond Nature Reserve lies about 26kms south east of Bredasdorp between Arniston and Struisbaai. The reserve may be approached along a well-maintained dirt road from either the R319 to Struisbaai or the R316 to Arniston. Both routes are well sign-posted


Habitats found at De Mond:
  • Saltmarshes
  • River
  • Estuary
  • Coastal Fynbos
  • Dunefields
  • Coastline


Top Species bird species to be seen:
  • Black Harrier
  • Damara Tern
  • African Black Oystercatcher
  • Knysna Woodpecker
  • Southern Tchagra

Peter Chadwick

As a dedicated conservationist and wildlife & conservation photographer, Peter Chadwick has over 25 years of experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He is the founder of African Conservation Photography and has worked throughout southern Africa in some of its most special wild places, including the Kalagadi Desert, Kruger National Park, Drakensberg Mountains, the sub-antarctic Prince Edward Islands and De Hoop Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area. This has instilled in him a deep passion for Africa, its wild places and its peoples.

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