STEENBOK NATURE RESERVE

Along the northern shores of Leisure Isle lies a large open area, bounded by the sea on one side and consisting of open grassland, small copses of bush and indigenous trees and stretches of salt marsh. There is a wealth of naturally occurring and planted indigenous flora, and bird life abounds. This is Steenbok Nature Reserve, a place much loved by Islanders and visitors alike.

Originally used as a nine-hole golf course, the first efforts to turn this large open space into a nature reserve took place in the mid-1990s. A new initiative gathered momentum in 2005 to ensure that this area would be nurtured and protected in perpetuity for the enjoyment and appreciation of all Knysna residents and visitors.

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Following a successful fundraising campaign and the formation of the Northern Shores Development Foundation - now the Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve Trust - work began in earnest in 2007.

The Reserve now includes a wheel chair path, nature trails, salt marsh areas, boardwalks, indigenous gardens, play areas, indigenous tree copses, a boma used for educational talks and get-togethers and a lovely stretch of shoreline.

Story boards provide information on many subjects such as the importance of salt marshes, the Knysna sea horse, and the aquifer of fresh water that lies a few metres below the surface. The website provides information on the history, management, finances and a feast of flora and fauna species including frogs and aquatics that were recently introduced.

The Reserve is a very popular with dog owners – dogs must be on a leash (a municipal by-law) and people are urged to pick up pooh! Bags and bins are provided.

For more information about all aspects of the Nature Reserve or how to become a 'Friend' or donor, see www.steenboknaturereserve.org.za

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