Goukamma Nature Reserve

Goukamma Nature Reserve

Goukamma Nature Reserve covers an area of about 2500has with an additional 14km long marine protected area that extends for 1,8kms offshore. Located in the Southern Cape, Goukamma forms part of the suite of CapeNature managed reserves and despite its relatively small size, a variety of habitats (that includes the fresh water Groenvlei, a productive estuary, coastal dune forest and species rich marine environment) are found within its boundaries. Some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa can also be found here.

All of this allows for excellent bird watching, with over 220 bird species having been recorded to date. Olive Bush Shrike, Half-Collared Kingfisher and African Black Oystercatcher are regularly encountered and, for the lucky, Cape Clawless Otter and Honey Badger are amongst the mammal species to be seen. Out at sea, Bottlenosed Dolphins and Humpback Dolphins cruise behind the wave-break throughout the year, while in the winter months Humpback Whales and Southern Right Whales may be viewed from the high vantage points. Perhaps one of the best options for enjoying the special tranquility of this reserve is through paddling up the estuary and river in a canoe.


Getting There:

Goukamma lies on the edges of the small southern Cape town of Buffalo Bay 11kms to the east of Sedgefield.


  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Sandy Beaches
  • Coastal Fynbos
  • Coastal Thickets
  • Freshwater Lake
  • Estuary


Other Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Bird Watching
  • Kayaking on the estuary


Top Species:
  • Bottlenosed Dolphins
  • Olive Bush Shrike
  • Knysna Turaco
  • Half-Collared Kingfisher
  • Honey Badger
  • Cape Clawless Otter


First Published: 16/02/15

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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