GOUKAMMA NATURE RESERVE
(021) 483 0190
The Goukamma Nature Reserve lies approximately 40km east of George and 15km west of Knysna. The reserve is sign-posted on the N2 road between Knysna and Sedgefield at Buffalo Bay turn-off. Follow Buffalo Bay road for approximately 8km and turn right (towards the river) into the reserve.
The nature reserve comprises an area of about 2 500ha, with a coastline of 14km. The adjacent Marine Protected Area extends seawards for 1,8km. The nature reserve includes a long beach, an extensive dune field with some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa, the Goukamma River and estuary, and the unique Groenvlei Lake which has no in-flowing river and no link to the sea.Goukamma lies between the winter and summer rainfall areas. There is no cold wet or dry season, although the rainfall is higher in spring and autumn, and less in summer. The weather is unpredictable, with some warm days in June and July and the odd cold day in summer. Prevailing winds in summer are south easterly and in winter are westerly.Coastal fynbos and coastal forest are the main types of vegetation. The coastal dune forest, occurring mostly on the dunes, consists of dense milkwoods, yellowwoods and candlewoods. Further inland, the fynbos is characterised by erica and restio species and is most attractive in September and October.
Goukamma's diverse habitats support many animal species. Grysbok, bushbuck, bushpic, porcupine and vervet monkeys occur, as well as caracal, water and grey mongoose, honey badger and otter. Groenvlei has seven fish species (two indegenous and five alien).
More than 220 species of birds have been recorded including spoonbill, Africa fish eagle. African marsh harrier, Knysna loerie, three species of kingfisher, the rare African black oystercatcher and occasionally the endangered African penguin.