Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area, situated on the Garden Route between Sedgefield and Knysna, has a diverse array of fascinating habitats and an abundance of smaller wildlife, birds and fish. It is also a World Heritage Site.
The reserve covers 2 500 hectares of dense coastal forest, including milkwood, yellowwood and candlewood trees. It protects the charming vervet monkey, bushbuck and bushpig, as well as porcupine, mongoose, honey badger and grysbok. This is a popular choice for keen birders, as the Goukamma River and estuary and the Groenvlei Lake provide a welcoming habitat for more than 220 bird species, including the rare African black oystercatcher. There are two indigenous and four alien species of fish found in the Groenvlei Lake. Visitors enjoy the sight of the magnificent southern right whales between June and November. Bottle-nosed and humpback dolphins play in the waves throughout the year.
A great time to visit is in September/October when the first spring rains create splashes of bright spring flowers amid the fynbos. This is a year-round destination, as it falls between the Cape’s summer and winter rainfall seasons.