Keurbooms River Nature Reserve

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8km from Plettenberg Bay

-34.0019, 23.4023


+27 44 533 2125


The 740 ha Keurbooms River Nature Reserve is situated about 8km from Plettenberg Bay and is bisected by the Keurbooms River. It is well worth a voyage upstream to enjoy the unspoilt, unpolluted beauty of its spectacular gorge. Marine resources are afforded protection by the permanently open river mouth and the Keurbooms Estuary is one of the best examples of an estuary along the Garden Route.

Other habitats conserved include patches of Knysna forest along the flood banks and in protected kloofs, as well as coastal fynbos, and estuarine littoral dune fields. The reserve is named after the western keurboom tree, virgilia oroboides, which grows on the edges of the coastal forest and has mauve-pink blooms in spring and summer.

Other noteworthy trees in the forest are Cape beeches, giant stinkwoods, Outeniqua yellowwoods, and ironwoods. Resident mammals include the bushpig, rock hyrax (dassie), caracal, genet, baboon, vervet monkey, blue duiker, bushbuck, grysbok, leopard, mongoose and the Cape clawless otter. Amongst the notable bird species are the Knysna turacos, malachite and giant kingfishers, narina trogons, African fish eagles, kelp gulls, little grebes, black-headed orioles, Cape batises, Knysna woodpeckers and various sunbirds.

A variety of activities and facilities are available, including braaiing (barbequing), boating, skiing, canoeing, guided ferry trips, windsurfing, picnicking and an overnight canoe trail up to Whiskey Creek. The well-shaded and extensive picnic site at the reserve entrance is a popular spot to spend a lazy afternoon, and offers braai areas and ablution facilities. Three other picnic sites further upstream are set within Knysna-like forest and can only be reached by boat or canoe.

Canoes for day trips can be hired, but the reserve is best experienced on the two-day Keurbooms canoe trail, which offers secluded overnight accommodation 7 km upstream in a refurbished log cabin.


  • 1 cottage, sleeps 10 people