Keurbooms High Res Scott Ramsay 6
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve

Map of Reserve area

Keurbooms provides an undiluted, unspoilt nature experience just outside Plettenberg Bay.

Where to Stay

What to Do

An abundance of river and forest birds inhabit this region.

Visitors should look out for the Knysna loerie, giant kingfisher, Knysna woodpecker, sunbirds, yellow-billed ducks and fish eagles, as well as narina trogon, little grebe, sunbirds and the black-headed oriole.

Permits are available for boating and costs depend on engine size. There is law enforcement on the river to ensure the safety of visitors.

All users of inland water, such as the Keurbooms Estuary, will be required to adhere to the SAMSA regulations regarding boat safety.

To purchase a boat permit and gain access to the Keurbooms River, for boats with engine capacity above 15 horsepower, it will be necessary to own a Skipper's license, SAMSA boat registration number, and a SAMSA certificate of competence for the operator.

Launch fee: R85 a day or R460 a year. 

Please call the CapeNature Contact Centre on 087 087 8250 to confirm boat fees.

Day canoeing

Double canoes and kayaks can be hired per day at the entrance gate. Canoe and kayaks cannot be booked (first come first use).

The cost includes lifejackets and oars (see tariff list).

5 km Canoe trail (also see self-catering accommodation)

This is an overnight trail with accommodation provided in the Whiskey Creek Cabin. We recommend that visitors leave no later than 14:00 in summer and 13:00 in winter to ensure they make it to the cabin well before nightfall. Depending on level of fitness it can take approximately one and half-hour to a three-hour paddle on the river, to the last upriver picnic site. A chorus of bird calls accompanies you on your paddle up the river. If on the trail, during low tide, note that the canoe might have to be pulled across the rapids by hand. When getting out of canoes, extreme care must be taken on slippery rocks. Children must be accompanied by adults. Guests will spend the night in the Whiskey Creek Cabin. The rapids can be challenging and the walk to the cabin is 400m requiring certain levels of fitness. Visitors will be required to sign indemnity forms and wear lifejackets, helmets and water shoes when on the river.

  • Pack lightly as the cabin is a 400m walk from the river.
  • Take hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • There is no cellphone reception.
  • No Firewood is allowed into the reserve.
  • Firewood may not be chopped or gathered. Echo logs are sold at the gate.
  • Included in the trail is a double canoe, a dry bag for your items, and safety gear.
  • Water shoes must be brought along when you have to get into the water.

Visitors are welcome to picnic at one of three designated spots along the river – these are only accessible by boat or by double canoe. The canoes can be hired at the entrance gate.

There is also a picnic area at the entrance gate with various braai areas under roof.

Visitors are welcome to swim in the Keurbooms River. Children should not swim unsupervised.

Angling is permitted at the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve.

Named after the Western keurboom tree, the reserve is a sanctuary for indigenous trees, including the Cape beech, giant stinkwoods and the beautiful Outeniqua yellowwoods. A lush destination filled with an abundance of plant life, the reserve can be explored on walks, boat trips and canoe trails. Swimming and bird watching are also popular activities. Visitors should look out for the quirky vervet monkey, the shy blue duiker, beautiful grysbok and mongoose. Those patient and lucky enough could even spot the elusive leopard. The many bird species provide a musical background to the lush surroundings, with contributions from the Knysna loerie, giant kingfisher, Knysna woodpecker, sunbirds, yellow-billed ducks and more.

To find out more, download the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve Brochure below.

How to get there

From Cape Town: Take the N2 highway towards Plettenberg Bay. Drive 8km past Plettenberg Bay and turn left at the “ferry” signboard, immediately after crossing the white bridge, and then follow the signs to the reserve.

GPS: 34 0 6.54 S 23 24 8.30 E

Office hours: 08:00–17:00

Tel: +27 (0)44 533 2125

Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: 087 087 3937

What our guests say


Discover our self-catering accommodation options starting at R1 770.

See Tariffs
Conservation Fees


R60 (additional R40 for every overnight)


R40 (additional R20 for every overnight)

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Keurbooms River Nature Reserve Filming

Six hours from Cape Town, on the scenic Garden Route toward Nature’s Valley, lies the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve.

It is just six kilometres outside of the popular tourist destination of Plettenberg Bay. A variety of habitats are conserved in the reserve, such as the relatively unspoilt riverine gorge and patches of Knysna forest along the flood banks. In the protected kloofs you will also find coastal fynbos, and estuarine littoral dune fields.

Find out more
Visitors Gallery
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Events Calendar
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27 Jun 2024
CapeNature Conservation Review 2024
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2 Feb 2024
World Wetlands Day 2024
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23 Sep 2023
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7 Sep 2023

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