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LOCAL TIME: 01:04 am | Monday, 27 January
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Goukamma Nature Reserve, Garden Route

Goukamma Nature ReserveLocated between Sedgefield and the quaint coastal village of Buffels Bay, Goukamma is one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. The 2 500 hectare reserve of fynbos and forest also includes a marine reserve that extends out into the Indian Ocean for more than a kilometre.

It has a tranquil lake at its heart, as well as a river, an undeveloped estuary and 16 kilometres of empty beaches to stroll along. All the natural assets of pristine beaches, clear tidal pools, fish life, marine animals and birds are a direct result of the policy by Cape Nature to limit vehicle access and prohibit bait collection. Fishing from the shore is permitted but Ski-boat fishing or spear fishing is not permitted. Licenses for angling are obtainable from post offices.

Black Oyster CatcherMore than 220 species of birds have been recorded including spoonbill, African fish eagle, African marsh harrier, Knysna lourie, three species of kingfisher, the rare African black oystercatcher and occasionally the endangered African penguin.

The hiking is great, and you can choose to do short loops from either end of the reserve, or take off on a 14-kilometre slog over dunes and across the sweeping beaches.There are six well-maintained trails to choose from, all of which provide spectacular views, great birding opportunities and a lovely ambience of peace and isolation. In winter, Goukamma’s beach and dune trails reward the hiker with multiple sightings of Southern Right Whales, common dolphins.

One of the nicest and certainly most educational ways of seeing the reserve is to join local guide Mark Dixon on one of his regular Garden Route Trail slackpacking excursions. Visit Mark Dixon’s Website or call 082213 5931.

Canoeing GoukammaGoukamma is a great place to go kayaking. Stable canoes are available for hire on the Buffels Bay side of the reserve where the Goukamma River is an easy and rewarding paddle. Skirting giant dunes and forests, you can paddle for almost 10 kilometres upstream.

Goukamma has six self-catering units which are all equipped with stove/hob, fridge/freezer, microwave, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and bedding. For other accommodation options visit Goukamma Nature Reserve Website or phone Cape Nature 0861 227 362 8873 or 021 483 0190.

Directions: It lies approximately 40km east of George and 20km west of Knysna – the turn off to Buffel’s Baai is between Knysna and Sedgefield. It is sign-posted from the N2 road at the Buffalo Bay turn-off. Follow the Buffalo Bay road for approximately 8km and turn right towards the river.

Read the excellent article on Goukamma Nature Reserve by Country Life Magazine.

More info on the town of Knysna More info on the Garden Route area

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