Goukamma Nature and Marine Reserve Conservation
Goukamma Nature and Marine Reserve was proclaimed a marine protected area in 1990 and it is heralded as one of the country’s conservation success stories. The reserve stretches along 16.5km of the coastline between Buffalo Bay and Platbank, and 2 500 hectares inland. It also extends into the ocean for 1.85km, (for a total area of 32km square) protecting an array of indigenous and endemic animal, bird and fish species.
Goukamma MPA consists of approximately 6 km of sandy shores, 5 km of rocky shores and 4 km of mixed sand and rock. All these habitats are found both on exposed coastline and in protected bays providing a full scope of habitats. The MPA has important inshore and offshore reefs which protect commercially important species such as Red Steenbras (offshore) and the Southern Cape Rock Oyster (inshore). Additional recreationally important species are Galjoen and White Musselcracker. These protected reefs ensure that reef fish have protected breeding areas which re-populate adjacent reefs.
The MPA is a safe haven for marine mammal species such as the resident pod of Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphin, the Bottlenose Dolphin and Southern Right Whale. The coastline serves as an important breeding area for the African Black Oystercatcher and White-fronted Plover.
The Goukamma Estuary, a priority estuary, also forms part of the MPA, which is a temporarily closed rivermouth which supports important species of fish including Spotted Grunter. Buffalo Bay is further a regionally important recreational area which receives a lot of visitors. Recreation in the bay includes snorkelling, kayaking, kite surfing, shoreline fishing, and probably the most popular use, surfing.
The MPA receives vast numbers of local and international visitors each year who marvel at the breath-taking aesthetic beauty and take part in recreational activities whilst unwinding in this prime example of an unspoilt southern Cape coastline.
Goukamma MPA forms part of a network of MPA’s, in the warm temperate Agulhas bioregion, which ensure that critical habitats and species are managed in a sustainable manner.
To see a close up of the MPA's boundary, click on the download below.