The Seekoei Nature Reserve is a spectacular celebration of the natural beauty of the Eastern Cape. It is perched between the idyllic retreats of Aston Bay and Paradise Beach, both of which are situated just outside the surfing Mecca of Jeffrey’s Bay. The reserve is less than 100 kilometres from Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay, making it a perfect day trip for those visiting this part of South Africa.
The Seekoei Nature Reserve occupies a total area of more than 60 hectares (about 150 acres). Its geographic location, on the estuary formed by the confluence of the Swart River and the Seekoei River, adds another dimension of beauty and natural abundance. This is also the reason for which a large portion of the reserve can only be reached by using a small pontoon (a flat boat).
The natural vegetation consists mainly of Kaffrarian thicket, which is characterised by semi-succulent, thorny plants that form a dense floral profile. There are also areas of river and coastal scrub, which adds greenery and lushness to the reserve, and spectacular coastal fynbos, which is endemic to South Africa.
This flora is the natural habitat for a number of animal species, including more than 120 different kinds of birds. Wildlife that can be spotted here includes different duikers, bush pig, caracal, mongoose, porcupine, the ungulate tortoise, and the spotted genet (or Cape genet). Notable birds include the magnificent fish eagle and the fascinating flamingo.
There are a number of hikes and walking trails through the Seekoei Nature Reserve. These range from one kilometre to three kilometres, the former of which includes a bird hide and the latter a river crossing.
The Penguin Rehab Centre is close by and offers visitors the prime opportunity to see these character-filled marine birds, and to learn more about them. The penguins are being treated for the damage caused by pollution, and the centre helps to educate the community to raise awareness and reduce risk.
Because of the natural value of the Seekoei Nature Reserve, no fishing or boating is permitted on the estuary. In addition, dogs are prohibited, as is the picking or removing of any plants.
The Eastern Cape Province is known for its temperate climate and the pleasant conditions that characterise it almost all year round. This means that both the province and this nature reserve are ideal for visitors in practically any season. Winters can be chilly with rain, but there are many days that enjoy sunshine and clear skies, even in cooler temperatures. Summers are hot and dry.
Attractions near Seekoei Nature Reserve
Marking the halfway point between the surfing hotspot of Jeffrey’s Bay and the holiday retreat town of Cape St Francis is the aptly named Paradise Beach. Although its name would imply that it refers only to a stretch of the coastline, Paradise...
More info and photographs: Paradise Beach
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Contact Details for the reserve: Telephone: +27 (0)42 292-0339.
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