From Buffalo Bay to Sparrebosch, the Knysna Hope Spot includes the Knysna Estuary, marine coastline and offshore waters. This area is already safeguarded within South Africa’s Garden Route National Park, offering protection to unique species including the Knysna seahorse, with its only sustained population found in the estuary. The Knysna estuary is also an essential breeding ground for up to 80% of coastal fish species in the area.
Estuaries are important as the nurseries of the sea. Since their waters are protected from the weather, are rich in nutrients, are generally warmer than in the ocean, and are usually free of large predators, they’re ideal, safe environments in which the larvae and juveniles of many marine species can develop.
About 100 species of prawns, crabs, and fishes that produce their eggs and larvae at sea off the coast of South Africa rely on our estuaries in this way, while another 400 or so migrate into and out of our estuaries at some time during their lives. (Most of the fish that rely on estuaries as nurseries migrate into the estuaries from late winter through to early summer).