The Westford Bridge Estate borders the western bank of the upper reaches on the Knysna Lagoon and its wetland reserve area is one of the most important ecological areas of the estuary. This salt marsh area provides an amazing habitat for all forms of marine life and most importantly is home to the endangered Knysna Seahorse.
SA National Parks Board is the custodian of the Lagoon as a whole and is in charge of protecting this unique conservation area. Here are some interesting facts taken from their published information.
The high conservation importance of the Knysna Lagoon has been emphasised in several studies, having been ranked 3rd in South Africa in terms of botanical importance, 8th in terms of conserving fish, 19th in terms of waterbird conservation and 1st in terms of overall conservation based on size, diversity of habitat, zonal rarity and biodiversity.
As the lagoon with the largest volume of sea water entering during neap and spring tides, Knysna has one of the highest biodiversity levels of any lagoon in South Africa. Because of it’s permanently open mouth, Knysna is host to a highly variable marine fish population. Small bait fish such as the estuarine Round Herring and Cape Silverside breed in the estuary while important line fish such as Spotted Grunter, White Steenbras, Dusky Kob and Cape Stumpnose use it as a nursery area.
The Knysna salt marshes are the second largest in South Africa, containing specialised plant life and supporting a host of invertebrate life, like the endangered Knysna Sea Horse.” (SANParks).
(By the way, if you sometimes wonder what the strong smell of rotten eggs is that you occasionally encounter near the lagoon, it is perfectly natural according to SAN Parks. The bacteria that break down the organic material produce sulphur dioxide as a by product, which is a sign of a healthy working lagoon. Please visit www.sanparks.org for more information).
Attention all BOAT USERS on Knysna Lagoon.
SANParks now control usage of the Lagoon and all boats must display a valid vessel permit, these may be obtained from the SANParks office on the Thesen Island Jetty. Opening hours Mon-Fri 08.00- 16.00. Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 09.00 – 14.00. Tariffs vary according to size and hp and are available as Annual ( April – March ) or Short Term ( 30 days) permits . The issue of these permits is conditional on the vessel owner holding a valid Boat Survey Certificate and a Skippers Licence.
Skippers Licence courses are available at the following SAMSA accredited training Institutions:
South African Underwater Union ( SAUU), Knysna
Knysna South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA) , Knysna