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De Mond Nature Reserve Hot

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De Mond Nature Reserve by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick.jpg

De Mond Nature Reserve is a small picturesque coastal reserve that lies almost halfway between Arniston and Struisbaai. The Heuningness River widens here before entering the sea, forming a tranquil lagoon that is popular with fishermen and birdwatchers. De Mond is one of only a few important breeding locations for the Damara Tern in South Africa.

The coastal fynbos, dunes and coastline of the reserve may be traversed by walking the 7km Sterna Trail that rises to a high lookout point near the start of the trail, giving elevated views of De Mond. Dense stands of ancient and knarled Milkwood trees occur near the entrance gate and attract a number of sought after bird species.

De Mond Nature Reserve from the lookout by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

1 of 7: De Mond Nature Reserve as viewed from the lookout on the Sterna Trail.

Southern Tchagra by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

2 of 7: Southern Tchagra.

Walking the Sterna Trail by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

3 of 7: Walking the Sterna Trail.

Heuningnes Estuary by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

4 of 7: Tropical looking waters of the Heuningness Etuary.

Caspian Tern nesting site by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

5 of 7: Signage warning of the Caspian Tern breeding colony.

Greater Flamingoes by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

6 of 7: Greater Flamingo flock in the shallow waters of the estuary.

Ploughshare snails by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

7 of 7: Ploughshare snails feed on the beach at low tide.


Best Time to Photograph
Dawn and early morning are when the birds are most active. Waders are best photographed on the outgoing tide when mudflats become exposed. Winter is best for landscape photography when winter storms pass the coastline providing dramatic scenery and particularly at dawn
Type of Photography
  • Landscape
  • Seascape
  • Birding
Best Time of Year
Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
During the summer months, fair numbers of waders that regularly include rare and sought after species may be found on the mud flats of the estuary mouth at low tide and with careful movements can be approached for decent photographs. The Milkwood Trees near the reception are good locations for photographing Knysna Woodpecker and Southern Tchagra. The coastline at dawn is worth walking for landscape photography.
Recommended Gear
Long telephoto lenses are a must for photographing the birds in this area. Hand holding the camera that is set to a high ISO and allows fast shutter speeds is advisable together with using image stabilization. Wide angled lenses and a tripod are a must for landscape photography.


Season and Weather
The climate is Mediterranean with warm summers and mild winters. Wind is present throughout the year with rain falling mainly in the winter months. Always be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. The summers are the dry and dusty months, whilst winter is the time when the fynbos is lush, green and in flower. The best months to visit are April and September.
Other Activities
  • Birding
  • Fishing
  • Walking & Hiking


Closest Town


Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.