De Mond Nature Reserve

Pristine coastal wilderness in the south-western Cape

De Mond is a beautiful coastal nature reserve at the mouth of the Heuningnes River. It lies about 26km south-east of Bredasdorp on the south-western Cape coast, between Arniston and Struisbaai and is a World Heritage Site.

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.

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: 07:30–16:00, weekdays.

Gate hours

1 April to 30 September: 07:30-18:00
1 October to 31 March: 07:00- 18:00

Please note that visitors must exit by 18:00. No permits are issued after 16:00 therefore no visitors allowed to enter the reserve after 16:00.

Telephone: Tel: (028) 425 1242/(028) 424 2170
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190



  • De Mond Cottage

    This charming self-catering cottage is nestled in the reserve’s milkwood trees and coastal fynbos. The cottage is fully equipped, with three rooms that can sleep six guests.

    Electricity: Yes
    Bathroom: Shower with hot water – no bath
    Kitchen: Fridge, stove/oven, kettle, cutlery and crockery
    Bedding, linen and towels: Yes, but bring own towels
    Fireplace/braai facilities: Yes
    Disabled access: No
    Pets welcome: No


  • Angling

    De Mond is a popular fishing spot for both shoreline and estuarine anglers.  Anglers should 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.

  • Swimming

    Visitors can cool off in the sea’s crashing waves or in the Heuningnes estuary.

  • Picnicking

    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.

  • Hiking and Walking

    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, both about four hours in length.

    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 R40 per adult and R20 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: 4 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.

    De Mond to Arniston

    Trail distance: 8km
    Estimated time: 4 hours

    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.

  • Bird watching

    De Mond is a haven for sea birds, including the African black oystercatcher, the damara and Caspian tern and the blue crane.

  • Whale Watching

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



De Mond Nature Reserve Conservation

Before De Mond became a nature reserve, the area’s sand dunes were stabilised with indigenous vegetation. The reserve’s vegetation ranges from dune milkwood forests to saltmarshes, which sustain the river’s ecosystem. Inland, dune fynbos grows next to limestone fynbos.
De Mond is also home to grysbok, steenbok and grey duiker. The only notable predator is the caracal, which is seldom seen. The reserve also has an abundance of reptiles and amphibians. Visitors should look out for puff adders, particularly in spring. The reserve’s rich birdlife make it a popular destination for birders. De Mond is a breeding site for the threatened damara and caspian terns. The reserve also protects the rare African black oystercatcher and the endangered blue crane.


De Mond Nature Reserve Filming

De Mond is 954 hectare coastal nature reserve on the south-western Cape coast, between the seaside villages of Arniston and Struisbaai.

It is a sanctuary for marine life and seabirds, while the floral character of De Mond is dominated by coastal vegetation, ranging from dune milkwood forests to salt marshes teeming with life.

Filming is allowed on all areas of De Mond Nature Reserve, except for breeding and roosting sites.

8 Reviews

Slice of paradise in The Cape!

Phill Waugh, Aug 12, 2015 - De Mond Nature Reserve

An absolute gem! After a few well placed visits i can happily say i will be back again and again! this place is truly one of the best kept secrets of The Cape!
Awesome staff, accommodation and one of the best and most pristine estuary system i have ever seen!


A little gem

Amanda Barratt, Feb 19, 2015 - De Mond Nature Reserve

Paid a quick visit to De Mond Nature Reserve after a visit to Agulhas. I was blown away by the beauty of estuary. A true gem and I take my hat off to Cape Nature for their rehabilitation efforts here. A lovely walk on the boardwalk, serene picnic spots. I will be back.


De Mond Nature Reserve, Bredasdorp | wayposts, Jul 2, 2014 - De Mond Nature Reserve

[…] Cape Nature’s De Mond Nature Reserve website Download the De Mond Nature Reserve […]


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Bookings are processed through our Call Centre during office hours Monday to Friday 07h30 to 16h30 and Saturday 08h00 until 12h00 noon (CAT).

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