Game Reserves in Eastern CapeIsland Nature Reserve
Whewre?25 km from Port Elizabeth, Seaview Road Turn-off.
Questions? +27 (0)41 378-1634
The country areas surrounding the main business centre and residential hub of Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay are beautiful in their peaceful appeal and rich verdant foliage. Deep in the heart of the coastal suburb of Seaview lies the secluded Island Nature Reserve. It is neighbour to the popular tourist attraction, the Seaview Lion Park. Smallholdings and farms are the only residential neighbours, giving the entire reserve a very quiet ambience that immerses its visitors into the peace of the Eastern Cape.
This reserve was established in 1986 by the conservation organisations that are committed to protecting the natural wealth of the country and the province. Nature wardens ensure that entrance to The Island is controlled for the safety of the reserve and its visitors.
The central part of the reserve is dedicated to braai spots (complete with concrete braai facilities and wooden tables and benches) and picnic areas, with plenty of space between them. This grassy space is often occupied by families and groups of friends that are enjoying the gorgeous surrounds, often playing Frisbee or football while taking in the fresh air and sunshine for which the Eastern Cape is so well known.
The Island Nature Reserve boasts dense indigenous Alexandria coastal forest, through which there are a number of pathways and trails along which to walk. These are safe and easy to manage, even for little ones. The Bushbuck Hiking Trail is a 16 kilometre walk that is a circular trail with a lookout and views of the Indian Ocean and surrounding mountains. This is the longest of the trails, with others covering shorter distances, starting from about 1.5 kilometres.
Common trees that can be found within these beautiful forests include the white milkwood, cheesewood, Outeniqua yellowwood and Cape chestnut, amongst others. Many of these are hardy, well suited to the salty sea air and windy conditions of Nelson Mandela Bay. They also form the natural habitat of an array of animal species.
While walking in the forests and surrounding greenery, visitors will often spot the playful monkeys hanging in the trees, exploring the braai areas and running through the groups of families and friends while displaying their characteristic mischievous nature. They are inquisitive and love watching human visitors enjoying the animals’ pretty habitat. Other wildlife species that can be found in the reserve are the elusive blue duiker as well as bushbuck and bushpig. The reserve is also a bird-watcher’s delight. The trees and forests are home to the olive woodpecker, Knysna Loerie, olive bush shrike, forest canary, blue-mantled crested flycatcher and the forest buzzard.
The Island Nature Reserve has an ablution block for the use of the hikers, as well as those simply visiting the reserve for a barbecue or picnic. There is an entrance fee (per person), which ensures safety and superior conditions.