Lying on the southern Garden Route coastline in the Western Cape, Goukamma marine protected area extends along 14km of coastline and out to sea for 1.8 kms. Despite its relatively small size, the species-rich MPA contains rocky platforms, sandy beaches, subtidal rocky reefs, a productive estuary and coastal dune forest. Some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa can also be found here. All of this allows for a rich mix of warm temperate marine species that includes many that are endemic to the south coast of South Africa.
African Black Oystercatchers are regularly encountered along the coastline together with gulls and various tern species. For the lucky, secretive Cape Clawless Otters may also occasionally be viewed searching for food either in the estuary mouth or in the intertidal rock pools and at night porcupine and honey badger venture out onto the beaches to search for and feed upon detritus. Out at sea, bottlenose and humpback dolphins cruise behind the wave-break throughout the year, while in the winter months, humpback and southern right whales may be viewed from the high vantage points. Over 164 species of seaweeds have also been identified within the MPA boundaries.
Of the marine activities, walking along the stunningly beautiful coastline and shore-based rock and surf fishing are the most popular. Abundant shell middens provide good evidence of Khoi-san peoples having inhabited this stretch of coastline in the past and amongst the shells, pieces of ostrich egg shells and pottery may also be found. Scuba diving is also allowed within the MPA and there are some excellent reefs that are covered in soft sponges and sea fans.
For more information please do visit Marine Protected Areas South Africa and also please help spread the news in support of our MPAs.