De Mond Nature Reserve Scott Ramsay 195
De Mond Nature Reserve

Map of Reserve area

Pristine coastal wilderness in the south-western Cape.

What to Do

De Mond offers fantastic whale-watching opportunities in spring, when these gentle giants come to breed and nurse their calves.

De Mond is a haven for sea birds, including the African black oystercatcher, the damara and Caspian tern and the blue crane. Click here for a comprehensive list of the birds found at the reserve.

Enjoy a picnic under the cool shade of the trees on the banks of the Heuningnes River. Please note, visitors can use gas braais and Webers, but open fires are not permitted.
Visitors can cool off in the sea’s crashing waves or in the Heuningnes estuary.

De Mond and Waenhuiskrans are popular fishing spots for both shoreline and estuarine anglers. Anglers must be in possession of a valid recreational fishing permit, obtainable at any South African Post Office. Please note that no bait collection or use of a cast net is allowed in the estuary.

No angling is allowed from 17h00 to 07h30 the following day.

De Mond has two hiking trails that allow visitors to enjoy the reserve’s untouched natural beauty.

Hiking trails

De Mond offers two hiking routes, one of two hours and the other of four hours in duration.

Easy to use trail maps for these hiking trails created by Forge can be downloaded here.

Help us protect nature

No pets/no weapons/no canoeing in the lagoon or estuary/no fires/no flower picking/no fishing without a valid permit/no horse riding.


Permits may be purchased for R50 per adult and R30 per child at the reserve office or through CapeNature Central Reservations.

Trail preparation

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
  • Do not hike alone.
  • Carry enough food and water with you.
  • Make sure you know what the weather conditions are before you depart.
  • Take a warm jacket/raincoat in winter.
  • Make sure you have a relevant map of the area.
  • Take a field medical kit with you for emergencies.
  • Obey all signage.
  • Stay in a group and on the trails.

Sterna Trail

Trail distance: 7km

Estimate time: 2 hours

This circular trail, named after the damara tern (sterna balaenarum), begins near the reserve office. Adventurous hikers will enjoy crossing the swaying wood-and-cable suspension bridge to the south of the Heuningnes River.

The trail turns upstream for 1km before leading back into the reserve. Along the route you’ll see dune milkwood thickets, limestone fynbos and dune fynbos until you get to the beach. From there, hikers make their way back to the estuary mouth. Staying on the south bank of the river, the trail leads back to the bridge.

Damara Trail (De Mond to Waenhuiskrans (Arniston)) 

Trail distance: 16.5km

Estimated time: Day 1: 5km (1 hour 45 minutes); Day 2: 11.5km (3 hours 45 minutes)

This linear trail takes you along a beautiful coastal route past the Waenhuiskrans cave, and historical fish traps and middens once used by the Khoi and San people. Hikers will also see the remains of an old shipping beacon – a concrete structure on the beach, which carried a copper ball that reflected sunlight and warned skippers off the reef.

The reserve’s 954 hectares include former sections of Zoetendals Vallei and Bushy Park farms. De Mond was established as a nature reserve in 1986, and it is still a popular spot for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts today.

Visitors can enjoy a peaceful picnic under shady trees along the banks of the river, or explore the reserve on one of the beautiful hiking trails. The 7km Sterna Trail, for example, winds through riverine vegetation, dune forest and stabilised dunes before following the coast to the river mouth and saltmarshes. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy De Mond’s prime freshwater and marine angling spots.

Cars are not allowed past the parking area. Please do not disturb nesting birds, and keep to specified paths to avoid trampling vegetation.

To find out more, download the De Mond Nature Reserve brochure and map below.

How to get there

From Cape Town, take the N2 to Caledon, before turning off on to the R316 to Bredasdorp. From Bredasdorp, the reserve can be approached from either the R319 to Struisbaai, or the R316 to Arniston. De Mond is approximately 200km from Cape Town.

GPS: 34° 42’ 36.81”S 20° 06’ 17.41”E

Office hours: 07h30–16h00, weekdays only.

Gate hours

07h30 – 16h00, weekdays

07h30 – 17h00, weekends and public holidays.

Please note that day visitors must exit the nature reserve by 16h00 on weekdays and 17h00 on weekends and public holidays.

De Mond Nature Reserve - Tel: 087 087 3931


You can obtain a fishing permit for R50 and a hiking permit for R50.

See Tariffs
Conservation Fees


Day Access = R50; Overnight fee = R40


Day Access = R30; Overnight fee = R20

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Visitors Gallery
Events Calendar
2 Feb 2024
World Wetlands Day 2024
23 Sep 2023
7 Sep 2023
1 Sep 2023

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