Cape Recife Nature Reserve

Cape Recife Nature Reserve is one of the best bird-watching locations in Port Elizabeth

Eastern Cape Game and Nature ReservesThe 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.

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.

Popular Attractions / Activities at Cape Recife Nature Reserve

Cape Recife Lighthouse

The spine on the Eastern Cape's Indian Ocean floor bed is stacked with rocks for vertebrae that form the east coast bay backbone. This 'Thunderbolt Reef' rising out of the dark waters of the south entrance to Algoa Bay is set in the Cape Recife...

More info and contact details: Cape Recife Lighthouse

SAMREC Penguin Rehab Center

For an extraordinary educational trip that may change your perspective on things, visit the African penguin rehabilitation centre in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. Not only are the endangered African penguins rescued and rehabilitated here, but you will see a...

More info and contact details: SAMREC African Penguin Rehabilitation Center

Roseate Tern Hiking Trail

This is one of Port Elizabethís most popular, and beautiful, walks. Best of all, it isnít difficult. The Roseate Tern Hiking Trail wends its way through the Cape Recife Nature Reserve, regarded as one of the best bird-watching spots in the city...

More info and contact details: Roseate Tern Hiking Trail

Did you know?

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

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