The Goukamma MPA was proclaimed a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 1990 and is 10 kilometres west of Knysna. The Goukamma MPA has a coastline of approximately 16km that extends east from Buffels Bay to Platbank and one nautical mile (1.85 km) out to sea.
The Goukamma MPA supports a rich mixture of warm temperate species, including many that are endemic to South Africa’s south coast. The Goukamma estuary is one of a few semi open closed estuaries and functions naturally with no artificial opening or closing of the mouth. The fact that it has a large catchment area for the length of the river makes this estuary somewhat unique.
The MPA is an important breeding area for the rare African black oystercatcher and many other sea birds that frequent this area.
Globally-threatened sea turtles – including loggerhead, green, hawksbill and leatherback – also frequent these shores. Many other marine mammal species have been sighted in this MPA, including various types of dolphin, whales, sharks and seals.
Goukamma MPA consists of approximately 5.5 km of sandy shores, 5 km of rocky shores and 3.5 km of mixed rocky/sandy shore. It has important offshore reefs which provide habitat to commercially important species, such as hake and endemic fish species, such as red steenbras. Furthermore, the offshore soft sediment areas close inshore between the offshore reefs is important areas for east coast sole