Keurbooms River Nature Reserve

Keurbooms promises an undiluted, unspoilt nature experience

Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site, is an exquisite, small reserve of just 740 hectares located in the lush Garden Route region just outside Plettenberg Bay. The Keurbooms River passes through the reserve bringing an abundance of water from further up in the Tsitsikamma Mountains to enter the ocean through the stunning estuary. Promising an undiluted nature experience of indigenous forests, unspoilt river gorge, and protected kloofs, this reserve is a favourite destination for both local and international travellers.

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

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: +27 (0)21 483 0190



  • Whiskey Creek Cabin

    Whiskey Creek Cabin is located 7km upstream from the main entrance and comfortably sleeps 10 guests in four double bunk beds and two single beds. The cabin has an open-air kitchen shaded by a veranda roof, and an expansive deck with a braai area. A timber walkway connects the cabin to the river. Guests need to bring all bedding and food. Wood can be bought at the reserve gate. Fresh rain water is provided.

    Electricity: Solar lighting
    Bathroom: Showers (solar geyser)
    Kitchen: Gas fridge, two-plate gas cooker, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery provided
    Bedding, linen and towels: Pillows with pillow slips only
    Fireplace: Outdoor braai, with grid and utensils
    Disabled access: No
    Pets welcome: No

    Whiskey Creek Cabin has been awarded: Best Value Establishment in Plettenberg Bay


  • Angling

    Angling is permitted at the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve.

  • Swimming

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

  • Picnicking

    Visitors are welcome to picnic at one of three designated spots along the river – these are only accessible by boat and canoes can be hired at the entrance gate. The main picnic area is easily visible from the entrance gate.

  • Kayaking and Canoeing

    Double canoes can be hired from the reserve office. Paddles, lifejackets and helmets are provided free of charge. There is law enforcement on the river to ensure the safety of visitors.



    Use of own canoe is R30 plus conservation fee.

    Hire of double canoes is R150 per day.

    Multi-day canoe trail

    This is an overnight trail with accommodation provided in the Whiskey Creek Cabin. We recommend that visitors leave no later than 16:00 in summer and 15:00 in winter to ensure they make it to the cabin before nightfall. The adventure begins with a four-hour paddle, stopping along the way at picnic sites or for a leisurely swim in the river. 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 hats, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
    • There is no cellphone reception.
    • Firewood may not be chopped or gathered. Wood can be bought at the reserve gate.
    • No cutting of plants.
    • Included in the trail is a double canoe, a dry bag for protection, and safety gear.
    • Water shoes must be brought along when you have to exit and pull the canoe in shallow water.
  • Boating

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

    Launch fee: R85 a day or R460 a year.

    Boat fees   Annually Monthly
    50 hp

    R 300

    R 210

    51 – 55 hp

    R 325

    R 230

    56 – 60 hp

    R 370

    R 240

    61 – 70 hp

    R 395

    R 255

    71 – 85 hp

    R 450

    R 285

    86 – 90 hp

    R 460

    R 290

    91 – 100 hp

    R 485

    R 300

    101 – 115 hp

    R 540

    R 350

    116 – 125 hp

    R 570

    R 360

    126 – 130 hp

    R 585

    R 370

    131 – 150 hp

    R 645

    R 400

    151 – 175 hp

    R 725

    R 470

    176 – 200 hp

    R 805

    R 505

    201 – 225 hp

    R 870

    R 540

    226 – 250 hp

    R 995

    R 580


  • Bird Watching

    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.



Keurbooms River Nature Reserve Conservation

Keurbooms River Nature Reserve conserves a variety of habitats including indigenous forest, riverine gorge, coastal fynbos and estuarine littoral dune fields. Trees that are of particular interest include the Western keurboom, after which the reserve is named, the Cape beech and Outeniqua yellowwood. This is a sanctuary for forest and river birds, and
visitors can expect to see a diversity of species, including the Knysna woodpecker, fish eagle, little grebe, black-headed oriole and narina trogon.


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.

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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).

Our friendly tourism booking officers will take you through the booking process and answer all enquiries.