Goukamma Nature Reserve Knysna - photo by Birgitt HeyerThe Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area is situated on the Garden Route between Sedgefield and Knysna. It has a diverse array of fascinating habitats and an abundance of smaller wildlife, birds and fish. It is also a World Heritage Site.

Goukamma Nature Reserve

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 the 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 signboard

There are several hiking trails:

  • Blombos Trail (3 options ranging from 6.5km to 15km)
  • Galjoen Trail (12km)
  • Porcupine Trail (13.5km)
  • Cape Clawless Otter Trail (6.5km)
  • Bushpig Trail (6.5km)
  • Buffalo Bay Trail (4.2km)
  • Alternatively, you can mix and match parts of these trails.

Blogs About Goukamma Hikes

To find out more, download the Goukamma Nature Reserve brochure.

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: 07:30-16:00
  • Tel: 044 383 0042