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: 087 087 8250
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.
Whiskey Creek Cabin can only be reached with an approximately four-hour paddle on the river. This can take longer if paddling into a headwind. We recommend that visitors leave no later than 14h00 in summer and 13h00 in winter to ensure they make it to the cabin well before nightfall. Note that the canoe might have to be pulled across the rapids by hand during low tide. When getting out of canoes, extreme care must be taken on slippery rocks. Children must be accompanied by adults. The rapids can be challenging and the walk to the cabin is 400m requiring a reasonable level of fitness. Visitors will be required to sign indemnity forms and wear lifejackets, helmets and water shoes when on the river. We do NOT supply water shoes. Please bring your own shoes.
Solar lighting – dependable on sunshine
Indoors bathroom: One shower (solar geyser) and one flush toilet
Kitchen: solar operated freezer, two-plate gas burner, 2 pots, 2 pans, crockery and cutlery provided
No linen ONLY pillows with pillow slips
The outdoor braai, with grid and utensils
No disabled access
No pets allowed.
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).
Multi-day 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. 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.
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.
In order to purchase a boat permit and gain access to the Keurbooms River, it will be necessary to be in possession of a SAMSA boat registration number and a SAMSA certificate of competence for the operator.
Launch fee: R85 a day or R460 a year.
|51 – 55 hp|
|56 – 60 hp|
|61 – 70 hp|
|71 – 85 hp|
|86 – 90 hp|
|91 – 100 hp|
|101 – 115 hp|
|116 – 125 hp|
|126 – 130 hp|
|131 – 150 hp|
|151 – 175 hp|
|176 – 200 hp|
|201 – 225 hp|
|226 – 250 hp|
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.
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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How do you want to get involved?
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.