Game Reserves in Eastern CapeWaters Meeting Nature Reserve
This pretty but small nature reserve lies just 4 km west of Bathurst, north west of Port Alfred, on the Kowie River.
The well sign-posted dirt road leaves the R67 into Grahamstown, down to Waters Meeting Nature Reserve with few problems where, after paying an entrance fee, there are various marked hiking trails - each of them a different coloured footprint.
What makes it so special is that at its heart is one of very few river loops in South Africa – from an aerial view, and with a bit of imagination, it looks like a mini Blyde River Canyon.
Known as 'Horseshoe Bend' there is a viewpoint not far from the entrance to the reserve over the bend in the Kowie River, which flows through the reserve on to the Indian Ocean, where it has its river mouth at Port Alfred.
The U-shape of the river is also where fresh water meet sea water, hence the reserve's name – Waters Meeting. There is a wonderful Kowie River Canoe Trail from Port Alfred up the Kowie River, a self-guided trail that winds 21 km upstream to the reserve.
One can make a trip of this canoe trip, overnighting in a wooden chalet at Horseshoe Bend, before heading back the following day, although the incredible bird life in the reserve may keep you there for longer.
Of course the lookout point over the river is a steep uphill hike for those who have canoed into the reserve, but worth it for the views.
At the lookout point are picnic and braai sites for those not interested in the hiking trails.
The reserve is not well frequented and there is every chance that on one of the hiking routes (the green trail heads into the forest, if you want a cooler option, although it also heads up high onto the ridge overlooking the river).
Take the southern dirt road (Trappes Street) at the corner of York and the R67 at the Historic Pig and Whistle Inn in Bathurst.