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Sedgefield & Goukamma Reserve

The drive from Wilderness to Sedgefield on the N2 is very pleasant, with a series of lakes on the left and occasional glimpses of the ocean on your right. Sedgefield looks very unattractive from the road -- a motley collection of shops, estate agents, and service stations -- but it's worth turning off and heading for the beach, which is one of the nicest along this stretch (mostly because the houses are set back behind the sand dunes). One of the best Garden Route beach walks starts here: During low tide, walk westward to Gericke's Point, a hillock of sandstone where locals pick fresh mussels.

Next stop is the 2,230-hectare (5,508-acre) Goukamma Nature Reserve, which encompasses forests, an estuary, beaches, reputedly the highest vegetated dune in southern Africa, and Groenvlei, a freshwater lake fed by underground water sources. The reserve has a few rudimentary self-catering accommodations options (the best is probably Mvubu Bush Lodge) and several hiking trails that cover various habitats in the reserve, including a 4-hour beach walk and a short circular walk through a milkwood forest. Admission to the Goukamma Reserve is R25. Gate hours are daily 8am to 6pm. Access is through the Buffalo Bay turnoff or near Sedgefield. For more information and bookings, contact tel. 044/383-0042 or visit www.capenature.co.za.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.