About Cape Recife Nature Reserve

The Cape Recife Nature Reserve lies on a headland at the tip of Algoa Bay. The small reserve is considered the best spot for sighting marine and freshwater birds near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Did you know? The small Cape Recife Nature Reserve is one of the best birding spots near Port Elizabeth.

More appealing than that though is Cape Recife Nature Reserve's beauty. It lies on an open, virtually wild stretch of beach, oddly below sea level yet only five metres from the shoreline.

All there is in this wildness is a 130+ year-old, black and white striped lighthouse, a beautiful stretch of beach, natural dune vegetation, rocky outcrops and an incredible bird life.

All of this is just 15 minutes' drive from Port Elizabeth. Visitors speak of the extraordinary views of the bay, the colour of the sea, the rock formations and the clifftop walk full of wild flowers during spring. The best way to explore the reserve is by taking the Roseate Tern Trail. A bird hide at the freshwater reclamation ponds makes bird spotting that much easier.

On the headland past the lighthouse is a mixed species tern roost where you can spot the Roseate and Antarctic tern, especially during winter.

Damara terns tend to roost here during summer more frequently now, and African black oystercatchers are common. You may also spot an African penguin or two, as they breed on islands in Algoa Bay and sometimes swim round the headland.

Cape Recife Nature Reserve is part of a greater conservancy that protects globally important plants like St Francis dune fynbos, thicket mosaic vegetation, and endemic coastal fynbos. A nine kilometre walking trail starts at the gate along the beach, through dune vegetation and past the lighthouse.

Need to Know

WhereCape Recife Nature Reserve, Schoenmakerskop, Port Elizabeth, 6011, Eastern Cape

WhenDaily from 07h00 to 21h00.

Telephone+27 (0)41 583-4004

OvernightStay in Port Elizabeth Accommodation, Eastern Cape


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