About Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve

Kwelera is 160 hectares between the Gonubie and Kwelera rivers, roughly 20 kilometres northeast of East London in the Eastern Cape.

Did you know? The 10 hectare Kwelera National Botanical Garden exists within the reserve.

Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve is one of ten nature reserves that collectively make up the East London Coast Nature Reserve – a gorgeous stretch of coast that extends from the Great Kei River in the north east, all the way to the Tylomnqa River in the south east.

Fundamentally coastal dune forest that runs alongside the Indian Ocean, with a series of heavily wooded sand dunes that can rise as high as 250 metres, Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve is home to small buck, monkeys and an incredible bird life.

It spreads over the Kwelera Mouth, on the tidal river of the same name close to the little village of Kwelera, and is popular for launching boats, surfing and snorkeling.

From the slipway for about 300 to 400 metres the water is reasonably shallow and ideal for snorkeling. From there it gets deeper, which is great for diving.

Divers and snorklers speak about the unique west wind that needs only blow for a day, before the water is clean and clear. However, they also speak about a dangerous rip tide at the river mouth during low tide. Expect to spot rays, sandsharks, strepies, blacktail, mullet and blue fish as well as huge schools of fish, whales and dolphins.

At Kwelera point you may also see the remains of the Santa Alberto that was wrecked off the coast in 1593. And the village of Gonubie is a mere 5 kilometre coastal trek, if the mood takes you.

The 10 hectare Kwelera National Botanical Garden will soon exist within the reserve, with a system of boardwalks to connect the two. This is the first botanical garden for the Eastern Cape.

Need to Know

WhereKwelera Coastal Nature Reserve, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenDaylight hours.

OvernightStay in Kwelera Accommodation, Eastern Cape

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