The Conservancy Area
The Western Heads-Goukamma Conservancy is located in the Eden District of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It covers the area from the western bank of the Knysna Estuary to the eastern bank of the Goukamma Estuary, and from the beach (high water mark) inland to the N2 national highway.
Key Features of the Conservancy
The Western Heads-Goukamma Conservancy contains important flora, including one of the largest remaining patches of the critically endangered Knysna Sand Fynbos vegetation type. The area is also home to several endangered butterflies, of which the Brenton Blue Butterfly is best known, as well as endangered mammals such as Caracal and Honey Badger. The rest of the invertebrate fauna is a virtual black box awaiting discovery.
The area is also of geological interest, comprising a series of wind-blown sand dunes running parallel to the coast which formed during the last Ice Age when the coast extended much further seaward. Fairly recent fossils of large mammals are occasionally exposed in these dunes. The dunes influence the micro-climate which in turn affects what plant species grow where. There are a number of sites of archaeological interest, including Strandloper Shell Middens.
All landowners within the area are ipso facto members of the conservancy at no cost at this time, and are encouraged to become familiar with this wonderful heritage, and importantly, to make sure they are members of the local Fire Protection Association (see the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association – www.scfpa.co.za).