Goukamma Nature Reserve Hot

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Goukamma Nature Reserve is a hidden and largely unknown gem located along the southern Cape coastline. It is a superb photographic location.

Goukamma forms part of the suite of CapeNature Reserves. It is definitely a reserve that punches way above its weight as despite its relatively small size, a variety of habitats that includes the fresh water Groenvlei, a productive estuary, coastal dune forest and species rich marine protected area, amongst others, may be found within its boundaries.

Goukamma Nature Reserve covers an area of about 2500ha's with a 14km long marine protected area that extends for 1,8km's offshore. Some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa can be found here and the unique Groenvlei lake has no in-flowing river and no link to the sea.

Excellent bird watching and wildlife photography can be had across the diverse habitats while sightings of Cape Clawless Otter and Honey Badger may be had by the extremely lucky.


Best Time to Photograph
For landscape photography, early morning and dusk are the obvious choices, while kayaking up the estuary for bird photography is best from early morning to mid-morning. Given Goukamma’s east/west position both sunrise and sunset may be captured along the coastline
Type of Photography
  • Birds
  • Landscapes
  • Seascapes
Best Time of Year
Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
Good coastal views looking westwards may be obtained from the top of the caravan park in Buffalo Bay. Dramatic seascapes are best captured from the estuary mouth, particularly during winter storms. The Oysterbanks near the center of the reserve is another great spot for landscape photography. African Black Oystercatchers occur throughout the coastal length of the reserve and good water-bird and kingfisher sightings may be had from kayaking the river. Keep a sharp lookout for the Half-Collared Kingfisher along the banks of the river in low hanging vegetation. When working along the coastline or near the estuary mouth be aware of occasional rogue waves that break along the shoreline.
Recommended Gear
A wide angled lens, tripod and cable release is the main photographic equipment needed at Goukamma, but great landscape images can also be obtained with a mid-range zoom lens. For birding photography a large telephoto lens is a must.


Season and Weather
Goukamma has a mild climate where weather is often un-predictable with rain falling at anytime of the year.
Bottlenosed Dolphins
Other Activities
  • Bird Watching
  • Canoeing
  • Walking & Hiking


Closest Town
Getting There
Goukamma lies on the edges of the small town of Buffalo Bay 11kms to the east of Sedgefield and 12 kms to the west of Knysna. It is well signposted from the N2.
Goukamma Nature Reserve


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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.