Goukammma July 2020 Scott Ramsay 17
Goukamma Nature Reserve

Map of Reserve area

Goukamma Nature and Marine Reserve was proclaimed a marine protected area in 1990.

Where to Stay

What to Do

Take a relaxing tour of the reserve on a canoe or kayak. Visitors can slowly drift down the river or across the lake, taking in the scenery and keeping a sharp eye out for wildlife and birds. Kayaks can be reserved at the main office. Paddles and lifejackets are provided.

This is a marine protected area so no bait organisms or shellfish can be removed or disturbed. For this reason, no ski-boat fishing or spear fishing is allowed. Angling with a rod and line from the shore is permitted.

This is a popular birder’s destination with more than 220 species recorded in the nature reserve. Visitors should keep an eye out for the rare African black oystercatcher and the endangered African penguin. Species commonly spotted include the African fish eagle, African marsh harrier and Knysna loerie. A bird list is available at the office.

Visitors are welcome to picnic at any of the designated spots.

Between June and November each year, the southern right whale heads to South Africa’s shores to breed and calve their young. The sight of these majestic creatures lolling in the water never fails to impress.

Guided horse-riding trips are being offered in the Knysna Forest, Plett, and Tsitsikamma. The costs vary depending on the number of horses required.

A variety of hiking trails are offered in this beautiful reserve ranging from two to six hours in duration. Take plenty of water and a sense of adventure with you!

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

The reserve covers 2 500 hectares of dense coastal forest, including milkwood, yellowwood and candlewood trees. It protects the charming vervet monkey, bushbuck and bushpig, as well as porcupine, mongoose, honey badger and grysbok. This is a popular choice for keen birders, as the Goukamma River and estuary and the Groenvlei Lake provide a welcoming habitat for more than 220 bird species, including the rare African black oystercatcher. There are two indigenous and four alien species of fish found in Groenvlei Lake. Visitors enjoy the sight of the magnificent southern right whales between June and November. Bottle-nosed and humpback dolphins play in the waves throughout the year.

A great time to visit is in September/October when the first spring rains create splashes of bright spring flowers amid the fynbos. This is a year-round destination, as it falls between the Cape’s summer and winter rainfall seasons.

Goukamma also borders Buffalo Valley - a conservation area overlooking the Goukamma River which offers safe seclusion in three fully-equipped self-catering timber lodges.

Goukamma Nature Reserve has been awarded ECO Certification by Ecotourism Australia.

How to get there

From Cape Town: Take the N2 highway and travel for about 500km south towards George. Roughly 40km past George and between the towns of Sedgefield and Knysna, take the turn-off to Buffalo Bay. Follow this road for 8km and then turn right (towards the river) and into the reserve.

GPS: 34 4 6.73 S 22 56 52.29 E

Office hours: 07h30–16h00

Tel: 087 087 3945/46

Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: 087 087 8250

Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area | Situated on the Garden Route between Sedgefield and Knysna, this destination has a diverse array of fascinating habitats and an abundance of smaller wildlife, birds and fish. It is also a World Heritage Site. The reserve covers 2 500 hectares of dense coastal forest, including milkwood, yellowwood and candlewood trees. Explore and stay over in one of our self-catering accommodation units

What Our Guests Say

I got what I hoped for and enjoyed the whole experience.
14 Jun 2023

Discover our self-catering accommodation options, with prices starting at just R1,190.

See Tariffs
Conservation Fees


Day Access = R50; Overnight fee = R40


Day Access = R30; Overnight fee = R20

Book Now
What our guests say
Goukamma Review 1, 14 Jun 2023
I got what I hoped for and enjoyed the whole experience.
Send us your review
Visitors Gallery
Events Calendar
2 Feb 2024
World Wetlands Day 2024
23 Sep 2023
7 Sep 2023
1 Sep 2023

Other Reserves Nearby

Keurbooms Nature Reserve copyright Scott N Ramsay
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve
View reserve
Robberg Nature Reserve copyright Scott N Ramsay 5
Robberg Nature Reserve
View reserve