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Discover Sedgefield South Africa

An invitation is extended to you to discover Sedgefield South Africa. It  acquired the status of being the first Slow Town in Africa in October 2010 from the Italian Organisation, CittaSlow based in Tuscany.

This completely dovetailed with the concept of "conservation without boundaries", complementing the overall vision that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism had for the Garden Route National Park which was gazetted in March 2009.

Swartvlei weaving around the Island to the seaThe Swartvlei winding around the Island towards town and on to the ocean.

Sandwiched between two better-known towns, Wilderness and Knsyna, lies the Garden Route’s secret gem, a village called Sedgefield. With the N2 highway running through the middle of the business area, little can be seen of its natural treasures from the national road.

However, just by venturing 200 meters in from its only set of traffic lights, one discovers the relaxed way the village leans against the bends of the Swartvlei Estuary, following a course around ancient sand dunes, to the Indian Ocean. There in plain sight is the invigorating outdoors, right on your doorstep, serene and unspoiled. 

Slowing down to nature's paceCanoeing and cycling are two ways to slow down in Sedgefield.

Discover Sedgefield and immerse yourself in Nature

Cycling and running around the lagoonCycling & running around the lagoon
Anything that floats competitionAnything that floats fun competition
boating and fishing on the lagoonBoating and fishing on the lagoon

You can run, walk or cycle next to the lagoon bordering the town, around the Island suburb and all the way to Platbank along the beach and back. Easy access to the sea and river allows people to engage in numerous watersports - kite, wind and wave surfing, water-skiing, canoeing, stand-up paddling, swimming, rock, beach and lagoon fishing, and beach volleyball.

Surging out the RivermouthSurging on the outgoing tide
Surfing at Swartvlei BeachSurfing at Swartvlei
Standup Paddling on the LagoonSuping on the Lagoon

When the river-mouth is open, the historical practice of surging in and out on the tide on a tyre or any floating object, is still a fun thing for all ages to do. When the mouth is closed, safe bathing Is particularly good for little children under their parents’ supervision.

15 kilometers of pristine beaches meld together with towering, striated rock formations that are ancient, fossilized dunes, forming a majestic backdrop. Fossil dunes and ancient animal tracks flank our shoreline attesting to abundant wildlife in the area 20,000 years ago when the sea was 100 kms away beyond the Agulhas Bank.

Nowadays, dolphins and whales (in season) can frequently be watched while on a beach walk and even a seal or two can be spotted near the shoreline.

Fishing and walking at GerickesFishing and walking at Gerickes
View of the Sphinx from Swartvlei BeachView of the Sphinx from Swartvlei Beach

The iconic Sphinx landmark at Gerickes Point on the western side of Swartvlei beach is mentioned in local history books as the Nepaul shipwreck took place in its vicinity in 1850 shortly after the ship’s captain and passengers had spent an afternoon picnicking in its shadow.

Today, low Spring tide reveals a wonderland of sea-creatures in the multitude of rock pools overly exposed for a couple of hours. A local guide offers a thrilling moonlight meander at such times for people to explore the nightlife of sea creatures in the inter-tidal zone. Scuba diving or snorkeling at any time, offers even more opportunities to explore its underwater mysteries.

Judys Moonlight MeanderMoonlight Meander with Judy
Gerickes treasure poolsTreasures in Gerickes pools
Fossilised Dune at GerickesThe massive fossilised Dune

Sedgefield is almost surrounded by water. It borders on the Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area incorporating Lake Pleasant. This is the only freshwater lake in the Lakes District, and it is still not scientifically proven where the ground water comes from, run-off, rain or an aquifer.

In centuries past the lake provided fresh water for hippos, elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and many other forms of wildlife. The abundance of water gave rise to the area being called the Garden Route. Nonetheless, even here we know it is a precious commodity.

Two African SpoonbillsSpoonbills
Grey Heron fishingGrey Heron fishing
Purple Heron and Pied KingfisherPied Kingfisher and Purple Heron

Bird life is prolific. No wonder, birding and photography are popular pursuits. At times, your vehicle may have to slow down for Thick-knees, Egyptian Geese, Guineafowl, and tortoises that wander on verges and cross our streets. The local Lakes Bird Club has a large membership attracting keen birders of all ages from Knysna to George, among them, many distinguished authors and well-known National birders.

Paraglider landing on Swartvlei BeachParaglider landing on Swartvlei Beach
Paraglide launch from Swartvlei carparkParaglider launching from Swartvlei Car-park
Paragliding from Cloud 9Paragliders flying from Cloud 9

Sedgefield is a popular well known international destination for paragliders. The tall sentinel of vegetated dune, Cloud 9 is one of the sport’s best sites on the Garden Route. Tandem flights over spectacular scenery are offered by several companies but many people fly their own gliders and their silent flights above the town are a common colourful spectacle.

Sedgefield Sports ClubSedgefield Sports Club on the Island
Family Golf SundayFamily Golf Sunday

An 18 HOLE Mashie Golf course alongside the Swartvlei Estuary is popular among locals and visitors and the Island Sports Club boasts a very active bowling club and Tennis teams.

There are no big city lights here but it’s difficult to outdo Sedgefield sunsets! Colourful mosaic benches and artworks brighten up the town with the aim of presenting Sedgefield as the Mosaic capital of the Garden Route. 

Besides there being a mosaic tourist route through town, a  quirky outdoor theatre “’The Mosaic Octopus Garden under the Sea” houses a film projector and hosts popular live shows throughout the year. People can bring their own chairs, settle down in comfort with blankets if necessary or stand up and join in the action when live bands perform.

Winter sunset reflecting in the Swartvlei Lagoon and silhouetting the Outeniqua Mountains.Winter Sunset shining in the Swartvlei lagoon and silhouetting the Outeniqua Mountains

The village has several reputable restaurants and coffee shops, good doctors and dentists, and enough chain stores and local shops to supply daily needs for visitors. the 3 Saturday markets are world famous and attract visitors from far and wide.

There is an array of B&B’s, self-catering accommodation, camping sites/caravan parks and chalets, timeshare options and a boutique hotel. Sedgefield is an ideal destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts as they easily fit right in with the friendly vibe of this small, close-knit and caring community.

Stall scenes at the internationally acclaimed Saturday Outdoor Wild Oats MarketWonderful Wild Oats Outdoor Saturday Farmers' Market

Here are some suggestions of enjoyable outdoor activities...

  • Picnic next to the lagoon. 
  • Laze under an umbrella on any one of 5 beaches. 
  • Swim in the invigorating water.
  • Kite-surf along the length of Myoli and Cola beaches. 
  • Throw a fishing line from the rocks. 
  • Surf the waves on Swartvlei beach.
  • Canoe the rivers.
  • Snorkel in the amazing tidal pools at Gerickes.
  • Surge on the incoming tide at the Swartvlei Rivermouth.
  • Enjoy some lazy stand-up paddling on the peaceful lagoon.
  • Hike the nature trails of Goukamma Nature Reserve.
  • Cycle wherever your fancy takes you.
  • Do a guided walk to discover the magic of Sedgefield's 66 mosaic artworks scattered throughout the town.
  • Take a paragliding lesson or enjoy an exhilarating tandem experience from Cloud 9. 
Christmas fun sand sculpture competition
  • Explore the back roads. e.g.The historic 7 passes Road.
  • Familiarise yourself with our village by simply walking its streets.
  • Browse our famous three outdoor Saturday markets.
  • Experience life in the inter-tidal zone on a Moonlight Meander with Judy Dixon.
  • Hike a guided trail of beach, river and forest with experienced local guide, Mark Dixon. 
  • Do an art workshop with a known South Africa artist hosted by Zanne Small.

Tip: Photographers, Never go anywhere without your camera! And birdwatchers, you can enjoy all of the above while adding to your lists! can do nothing at all! Just sit and let the peace of the place soak in! 

Boats rest in morning tranquillity at the  Kingfisher Drive launch-site on Swartvlei Estuary.Perfect Photographic Scene at the Kingfisher Drive boat-launch site on the Swartvlei Estuary.

The outdoors constantly beckons with unforgettable vistas whichever way you look. You may be halted in your tracks by the shining stillness of the morning that reflects off the lagoon. Breath-taking sunsets can amaze - the colours get richer as evening darkens to night. Sandy beaches stretch for kilometers beckoning you to lengthen your stride and explore the shoreline finding caves and rocky pools and sheltered coves to while away the hours. Up on the dune cliffs, you can whale watch or spot dolphins leaping effortlessly through the surf.

Sedgefield 1 Mosaic VolksieSedgefield 1 Volksie at the slipway on Kingfisher Drive
Moasic counter Sedgefield Edge NewspaperThe Edge Community Newspaper Counter
Mosaic Octopus in the outdoor entertainment garden arenaThe Octopus Garden Outdoor Entertainment Park

The Mosaic Art Community Upliftment Project managed by Sedgefield NPO, Masithandane has enabled unemployed people to learn skills in the process of creating practical and useful mosaic art that beautifies our town.

 Experience profound Connections

Sedgefield is an ongoing parade of special moments found when we slow down to appreciate the most fundamental things. Things that matter deeply but are not monetary. To appreciate the intrinsic value of our relationships with each other and the natural world around us, we need to take the opportunity to find soul space.This allows us to rest our overworked minds, rejuvenate our stressed bodies and relax into a sense of well-being and harmony.

Friends picnic together at Monkey Beach on New Year's DayOutdoor cameraderie with family and friends on New Year's day

This is the kind of place that reminds something deep within us of how life ought to be lived - more simply and serenely. It's about finding quality not in things but in experiences, perhaps most of all, by connecting with nature! Somehow this helps us connect better with each other too and why Sedgefield has the reputation for being a village of friendly, generous-hearted people who care about each other and have a strong sense of community!

Be enticed  to discover Sedgefield  for yourself. - to revive your spirit and feed your soul. Take your foot off the accelerator and slow down to the pace of nature. Wind down, rest and play in one of the best of nature’s playgrounds. Revitalize yourself with soothing sounds of the sea and the tangy taste of salt air. Enjoy the friendly laid-back vibe of the people and the town. Go home refreshed and rejuvenated. Thank you for coming. We enjoy sharing our piece of heaven with people who appreciate it and look forward to seeing you again! 

The Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

Sedgefield became part of a unique concept created by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Dr. Van Schalkwyk, when he declared the Garden Route area a National Park, on 6 March 2009, of "conservation without boundaries."

Magical Sedgefield residential islandMagical Sedgefield residential Island

Subsequent to that, a great number of people applied their expertise to assembling a forest of information together (it took nearly 8 years) to have the park and a larger area, be declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO by reason of its unique and abundant biodiversity. This was granted in June 2018.  The main aim was to be able to develop the strategies to coordinate human development in an ecologically acceptable and sustainable way to preserve as much of this biodiversity as possible, for us now, and for the sake of future life on this planet.

Southern Greater Double-collared SunbirdSouthern GC Sunbird on a Protea Flower
Cape Clawless OtterCape Clawless Otter near Placid Waters Timeshare
White and Black ButterflyButterfly drinking nectar from a flowering plant

If you come to live here or are just visiting, know that you are privileged and understand nature is fragile. Tread lightly to maintain the delicate balance between human interaction and the natural environment for the benefit of both.

Be careful of what poisons you use on your plants, they will kill the Knysna Dwarf chameleons if you have any residing on your property and their existence is already tenuous. Try to garden with local indigenous plants. They can handle the bad bugs better.

Knysna Dwarf ChameleonKnysna Dwarf Chameleon
Satyrium corneum indigenous orchidIndigenous Orchid Satyrium
Knysna Seahorse rescueKnysna Seahorse

Only take from the sea what you need. Do your part to keep the ocean, rivers and beaches free of plastic waste and discarded fishing gear.  The only estuarine seahorse in the world has found a home in our estuary. Know it is illegal to remove them from the water dead or alive. Sanparks monitors them regularly because their vulnerable populations vary considerably according to the state of the lagoon. 

Slow down for guinea-fowl, Dikkops and tortoises. Don't pick tortoises up unnecessarily. It causes them to release water and can cause them severe dehydration if water is scarce or far from where they are. Don't remove them to some place else. They know their territory and it is important they know where they are.

Dogs love to run freely but keep them under control where birds have ground nests or fledglings learning to fly. In conservancy areas they should be kept on leashes at all times and the whole Island is a conservancy. Birds and tortoises have right of way on the roads. Please inform people who don't seem to know that. Some can't read noticeboards! Sedgefield people are known to stop traffic on the N2 highway to shepherd Mother Goose and her babies safely across the road to the lagoon.

Guineafowl with chicksGuieafowl with well camouflaged chicks
Drive Slowly traffic signTraffic calming sign on the Island
Tortoise crossing the roadTortoise crossing a road on the Island

 Go out of your way to preserve the endangered indigenous vegetation. Fynbos is the most threatened and diverse biome in the world and 69% of its species are found nowhere else on earth. It is home and a retreat for many endemic birds, insects, small wildlife and our resident guinea-fowl and tortoises. Trees too are important as more and more are being lost to urban sprawl.

Be considerate and compassionate towards all sentient beings. They are also entitled to their space on our planet and humans would have no quality of life without the biodiversity of nature. Let's keep the Garden in the Garden Route It is a unique treasure that once destroyed cannot be recovered.