This 2500 hectare reserve lies between Sedgefield and Buffalo Bay and you can access it from both sides of the reserve though the main offices and primary entrance are just outside Buffalo Bay. The reserve falls under the auspices of Cape Nature.
Just outside the Goukamma Nature Reserve entrance, on the Buffalo Bay Road, are some picnic sites and canoes for hire. You can paddle all along the river and explore the area towards the river mouth. Be careful, though, as the mouth closes from time to time naturally.
As you paddle upstream, you will find that the river flows within the bounds of the nature reserve. This gradually gives way to peaceful farmlands and dairy cattle, horses and other farm animals.
You can beach your canoe when you reach the The River Deck restaurant on your can stop for a break. Here you can carry your canoe over the small falls and continue paddling up river.
As you paddle along you will pass under the N2 highway and shortly afterwards will come to the Black Waters River Lodge. The lodge is famous for its open-air restaurant.
Make sure that you start early in the morning. When night falls it can be quite easy to get lost in the tranquillity of nature.
There is no access for public transport in the main body of the Goukamma Nature Reserve, which means that the area can only be explored on foot. This provides adventurers with a real sense of being out in untrammelled nature that offers picture perfect scenes for photographers.
To get to the secluded hillside offices that are on the Buffalo Bay Road, turn right at the gate of the reserve and drive along a winding dirt road past the picnic site next to the Goukamma River to reach the car park. There you will be able to purchase various permits for fishing. They also have maps to familiarize you with the many hiking trails.
The added advantage of Goukamma Reserve is that it has a long stretch of coastline and the adjacent ocean is a Marine Protected Area. This can only be appreciated through walking the shoreline or boating out on the sea. Recreational angling however, is only allowed from the shoreline.
Near the outer limit of the marine reserve is a 12km2 unbroken length of submerged fossilised dune. It lies about 3,5 kilometres off shore. The ridge is roughly 10 meters below the surface and this reef provides a breeding ground and nursery area for several species of fish.
Goukamma Nature Reserve also includes Groenvlei. The calm water is a translucent sea-green colour and reflects the sky like a mirror.
It is the only freshwater lake on the Garden Route and has no river inlet – it is constantly refreshed by a subterranean spring. Here one can swim, boat and fish in clear water.
As the crow flies towards the west of Buffalo Bay, you will find Brenton-on-Sea. This small town offers beautiful, modern houses for sale. For more information, contact Sophie on 082 572 2729.