If you’re not keen on the busier centres of Knysna or Plettenberg Bay, the small town of Sedgefield provides a pleasant alternative that’s still within easy access of all the popular tourist attractions on the Garden Route.
The surroundings are attractive. The Swartvlei Lake flows into the Sedgefield lagoon, which in turn flows into the Indian Ocean between fynbos covered dunes. To the north stand the forest-shrouded slopes of the Outeniqua mountains.
The town was established in 1928 as a halfway stop along the newly-completed railway line between George and Knysna. Its name referred to the abundant sedge grass growing in the area.
Today, its neighbourhoods spread around the lagoon and weave through the dunes fringing the coast. Many of the streets are lined with gum trees, which exhibit brilliant red flowers in summer. The central business district runs along 2 slip roads parallel to the N2.
West of town on the way to Wilderness lies the lovely lakes area, offering nature- and water-based activities. Sedgefield’s greatest appeal lies in its undeveloped beaches and coastline, thanks to the large sand dunes that lie between the town and the sea.
Look out for
Gericke’s Point - is a shale headland west of Swartvlei Beach. At low tide the rock pools are good for snorkelling and it’s a very popular fishing spot.
Bird Watching – over 250 species of birds occur in the area. This includes estuarine, marine and forest species. Sedgefield borders the Goukamma Nature Reserve to the east, which is a hot spot for marine birds. There are 3 public bird hides on the lakes to the west.
Walking and Hiking - there are numerous trails in the area. Some are specifically designed to allow the public access to the different ecosystems with birdwatching in mind. These include a number of trails in the Goukamma nature Reserve.
Wild Oats Farmers Market – this must be the best-known place in Sedgefield. It’s held each Saturday morning. You’ll find it on the left just off the N2, about 1km east of the town centre. Get there early to ensure the best selection from the 60-odd stallholders.
Groenvlei - is a spring-fed lake west of town that is brimming with an abundance of bass and birds. It is the only body of fresh water of all the lakes between Wilderness and Sedgefield, and is quite unusual in that it is not fed by any river. It’s popular with fishermen who try their luck from the shore, or from boats with electric motors or paddles (no petrol motor boats are allowed).