The Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park is adjacent to the 80km of rocky MPA coastline. The MPA is situated along the rocky Indian Ocean shoreline. The MPA is situated along the rocky Indian Ocean shoreline beneath 180m high cliffs where the rivers flow into the Indian Ocean through rocky ravines. The Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area protects a variety of inter-tidal marine life, marine habitats, and threatened as well as endangered fish species. It is one of the largest and oldest restricted MPA’s (no-take) in the world, conserving 11% of South Africa’s temperate south coast rocky shoreline.

The temperate rocky shore provides a near pristine area for fisheries baseline research on endangered fish species. It was proclaimed in 1964 and became the first marine national park in South Africa. Many species of forest, fynbos and sea birds are present in this protected area, which has a history of marine and forest utilisation.  The local communities relied upon these two ecosystems for their survival in one form or another.

Marine bird species like cormorants, kelp gulls and African black oyster catchers are prominent along the coastline and pied- and giant kingfishers can be seen hunting fish in tidal pools or in the rivers that drain into the Indian Ocean.

Managed by:

MPA established date:

Length of coastline protected:
60 km

Area of ocean protected:
186 km²


  • To contribute to a national and global representative system of marine protected areas by providing protection to the coastal and offshore benthic and pelagic ecosystems of the Agulhas Inshore Bioregion;
  • To conserve and protect threatened ecosystems;
  • To conserve and protect the biodiversity and ecological processes associated with these ecosystems;
  • To protect and regulate access to a scenic area which contributes to eco-tourism;
  • To protect the cultural heritage of the coastline;
  • To facilitate species management by protecting spawning stock and nursery areas for fish species and allowing stock recovery and enhancing intertidal and subtidal resource abundance in adjacent areas;
  • To protect and provide an appropriate reference environment for research and monitoring. This includes research to assess biodiversity status, the impact of limited recreational fishing access in controlled areas, and resource recovery in areas where there is no access to resources; and
  • To restrict or prohibit activities that may have an adverse effect on species, ecosystems and ecological processes.

Managed by:

Contact details for MPA office:
Manager : Ms Bulelwa Msengi
Phone: 042 281 1607
Email: Bulelwa.Msengi@sanparks.org