Goukamma Walking Trails

The Cape Clawless Otter Trail starts off at Groenvlei and takes hikers alongside the lake through a exquisite dune forest before the path climbs steeply up the dune into fynbos where one gains increasingly wonderful panoramic views of the Outeniqua mountains, the lake and over the dunes to the sea and to Gerickes Point.

One can hike down into the valley, over the dunes and finally down to the oyster beds on the coastline. If you do not want to do the return journey you can walk along the beach and climb off it up the boardwalk at Platbank. Check with the Cape Nature Office first about the tides.

It is advised to take this walk in winter as there is no shelter in between the dunes during the scorching summer months. One can also see migrating whales from the top of the dunes in the winter season.

There is also the Porcupine Trail that starts at Groenvlei and ends after crossing the Goukamma River on The Point. Be well prepared as this is a distance of about 13,5 kilometres.

A number of walks can be taken from the Buffalo Bay side of the Goukamma Nature Reserve but you have to cross the Goukamma River at The Point first.

The circular Bush Pig Trail takes you inland up all along the dune, through a coastal forest down to the sea. On return you go around the back of the dune, alongside the river and the side of the dune back to The Point crossing.

The 12 kilometre Galjoen Trail is a beach walk from Platbank to Buffalo Bay. However, one needs to do this at low tide.

If the river mouth is open you will need to walk inland to cross over the Goukamma River via The Point. You will have to arrange for transport back to the starting point or a cross over procedure similar to the Porcupine Trail.

Going out the reserve gates and turning right to Buffalo Bay, drive a short distance and then turn right into the parking lot next to the sea. Cross over the road to do the Buffalo Bay Trail.

This trail takes you up a gentle slope to overlook the village of Buffalo Bay then down through a piece of forest and along the dune to give you stunning panoramic views of the bay area.

You then come down onto the beach and depending on your time frame can either walk left towards Brenton-on-Sea and back again or turn right walking along the beach to the Buffalo Bay outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea.

Otherwise you can continue to walk towards the caravan park and in the quiet season request permission to walk through the resort that is situated on a grassy peninsula completely surrounded by the ocean.

The rocky outcrops along this part of the coast provide roosts for hundreds of white-breasted and Cape Cormorants. Within the Marine Reserve this is a popular and scenic campsite in the summer months as the bay has a superb swimming beach and is also a favourite for surfers. You can frequently see pods of dolphins surfing the breakers.

If you want to stay a while to enjoy the area to its maximum, you can overnight in the Goukamma Nature Reserve at bush camps overlooking Groenvlei or opt for the rondavels outside Buffalo Bay near the river and the beach.

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