The East London Coast Nature Reserve is 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 west. Between these two bodies of water lies well over 3 000 hectares of conservation area made up of ten coastal reserves and two inland state forests, known collectively as the East London Coast Nature Reserve.
57% of the 250 kilometre coastline between the two rivers is taken up by these ten nature reserves that include Cape Morgan, Double Mouth, Cape Henderson, Cintsa West, Kwelera, Nahoon, Cove Rock / Gulu, Kidds Beach Nature Reserve, Kayser’s Beach and Chalumna, whilst the two inland state forest reserves lie north of East London along the north bank of the Buffalo River.
The main reasons for the East London Coast Nature Reserve’s existence are to preserve the incredible biodiversity in the region, to protect the natural vegetation and manage alien vegetation. But for the visitor the extraordinary wildness and unspoilt surrounds is what is most attractive. This stretch of coastline is relatively untouched by the tar brush of tourism.
Whilst a few of the villages, such as Kidds Beach, Nahoon and Kayser’s beach have become more popular with visitors seeking alternatives to the busier parts of the Eastern Cape, the combination of these nature reserves provides an effortless space in which to lose oneself.
Transitional coastal forest, valley thicket, eastern thorn bushveld, eastern dune thicket and coastal grassland still provide shelter to the leopard, blue duiker, giant golden mole, tree dassies, Cape parrots, crowned eagles, the Knysna lourie and the narina trogon. More attractive still are the frequent sightings of the Southern Right whale on the coast between July and September, and the sardine run at the beginning of June.