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Great Fish River Nature Reserve

Great Fish River Nature Reserve



+27 (0) 84 576 5578



Poaching Hotline:

+27 (0) 8600 10111


Size:  45,000 ha / 450 km2

Nearest major city:  Port Elizabeth (2h50 approx by car)

Species Numbers:  69 Mammals        247 Birds        44 Reptiles

Big Five:  No


  • - Malaria-free
  • - Spectacular scenery overlooking the Great Fish River
  • - One of South Africa’s largest populations of black rhino

One of the least known, and least visited reserves in the country, Great Fish River Nature Reserve is situated in the Eastern Cape about 40kms north-east of Grahamstown, and about 60kms inland from the Indian Ocean. The defining feature is the Great Fish River which meanders through the undulating hills covered with dense sub-tropical bush, including spekboom. Without the river, this part of the country would seem to have little going for it; the dense thickets survive on stony soils, and the intense heat and aridity of summer makes for a stern atmosphere.

Wildlife is few and far between, but this unassuming protected area conserves one of the largest populations of black rhino in Africa, which feeds prodigiously off the sub-tropical thicket, which itself is one of the most poorly conserved habitats in the country. Together with some attractively-located accommodation on the edge of the river, these factors make Great Fish an intriguing destination for more seasoned wildlife fans.