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The Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve or the Dassie Trail as it is known locally, is a small reserve that incorporates part of the Nahoon river Estuary area. The name comes from one of the few suburban populations of Dassie which are left in east London and can still be seen sunning themselves on the rocks in the reserves. So watch out birdwatchers, you are being watched! Of interest is the small area of mangroves on the water's edge, which have expanded quite rapidly after planting a few years ago. On a short visit expect to see or hear an average of 40 species.



Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker, Barratt's Warbler, Brown Scrub-Robin, Terek Sandpiper



This reserve consists of small pieces of coastal forest, a tidal river system with flat sandy and wetland area's.



The reserve has recently been equipped with a boardwalk which follows the edge of the tidal flats. There are laid out paths through the forest with seating arranged at suitable vantage points.



Although this reserve is small it contains a real special in the form of Knysna Warbler which has been resident in the reserve for as long as I can remember. This bird is really difficult to see and knowledge of the call is a must. It also prefers densely tangled brush and will generally sit right in the middle of that and call. If it will help, the prospective Knysna Warbler hunter should listen for the bird, sneak up on it, binnie's at the ready, and then prepare not to see it. Seriously though, this is a tricky one, so good luck. Remember, Barratt's Warbler occur in the same reserve and the calls are very similar. Other specials include Terek Sandpiper which have been seen here quite regularly.

The Dassie trail will provide you with a good selection of the robin species including Brown Scrub-Robin, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Chorister Robin-Chat and White-browed Scrub-Robin. Waders in the form of Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Three-banded Plover, the occasional Common Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Common Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Water Thick-knee, and sometimes, a Grey Plover. Little Egret are there most of the time with occasional visits by Yellow-billed Egret. The area is also quite good for Olive Bush-Shrike, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Southern Tchagra and Dark-backed Weaver. Knysna Turaco, Knysna Woodpecker, Olive Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, African Dusky Flycatcher and Grey Sunbird will be found in the forest as well as Cape Batis. Trumpeter Hornbill breeds in the cliffs at the right time of year but are present for most of the time. Even though most birds here can be seen anywhere in the eastern cape, a visit for a chance of seeing the Knysna Warbler is worth the effort.



As the reserve forms part of the Nahoon river system it is recommended that visits be made early in the morning, especially at weekends, to avoid contact with motorised boats and other noisy leisure activities on the opposite bank. To find the reserve, travel from east London on the western bypass ( R72) until you reach the Beacon Bay turnoff. Turn left onto the off ramp and continue over the Batting Bridge and turn right into Beaconhurst Drive. Continue past the Beacon Bay Country Club and then follow the curve of Beaconhurst Drive to the left. Watch for the sign to the reserve on the right at blue Waters Road.The reserve is closed at weekends, public holidays and after office hours during the week. Access during those times can be arranged through Mr. Graham Winch on tel. (043)7403392 or Mr. Ken Griffith on tel. (043)7352195.

For general information contactEastern cape Tourism: Tel: +27 43 701 9600. email:

Eastern Cape Tourism Website

Neil Smith 2007.

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