Coastal Guide to Hessequa

If there is one thing that we treasure on the Explorer’s Garden Route it is the coastline. And for good reason. Each year thousands of visitors flock to the coastal towns of Witsand, Jongensfontein, Stilbaai and Gouritsmond to enjoy the unspoiled ocean beauty we’ve become accustomed to. They enjoy the Blue Flag beaches, all the water activities, the sunshine and the carefree vibes that can only be found by the seashore. But enjoying our beaches and river-mouths also comes with an responsibility towards the environment and fellow humans to make it a pleasurable experience for all and to ensure the generations after us will have the same joy – walking their kids and dogs along an empty stretch of beach. So have a look at our handy coastal guide below to make sure you are prepared and ready for summer!

Blue Flag Beaches

Hessequa’s Blue Flag Beaches

At the end of 2014, Hessequa became the first municipality in South Africa to have all of its beaches feature on the Blue Flag programme. This was repeated in 2015 and again in 2016! Blue Flag is the prestigious, voluntary eco-label for beaches, marinas and boats that is recognised as a trusted symbol of quality and regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known eco-label globally. Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone involved! You can read the official WESSA press release here. The beaches are:
  • Witsand
  • Jongensfontein (Pilot Status)
  • Stilbaai Wes (Pilot Status)
  • Lappiesbaai
  • Preekstoel
  • Gouritsmond

Where are they?

Estuary Management (River Control)

Where can you row your boat? Obtain a permit? Fish? Go skiing this summer? Browse the frequently asked questions below to make sure you are in the know!

1. Where can boating permits be obtained?

Stilbaai: At the slipway (during December holidays)

Witsand: Lower Breede River Conservancy Office (LBRC)

Gouritsmond: Municipal Office (note municipal office hours)

2. What documents are needed when applying for a boating permit?

Skippers license, buoyancy certificate and a seaworthy certificate.

3. Where can fishing permits & bait permits be obtained?

Stilbaai: Post Office

Gouritsmond: Post Office (Gouritz Spaar)

Witsand / Heidelberg: Post Office (Heidelberg)

*Or any other South African Post Office. Also note the business hours of each respective Post Office – plan ahead.

4. Where can boats be surveyed?

Recreational: Johanne Steyn – 072 408 6099 (Stilbaai)

Thane Garlick – 076 747 3494 (Witsand / Vermaaklikheid)

Commercial: SAMSA – 044 690 4201

5. Who can be contacted in case of an emergency?

Stilbaai: National See Rescue Institute (NSRI) – 082 990 5978

SAPS – 028 754 6100 (Stilbaai)

Witsand: National See Rescue Institute (NSRI) – 082 990 5957

SAPS – 028 722 1910 (Heidelberg)

Gouritsmond: National See Rescue Institute (NSRI) – 082 990 5957 (Mossel Bay)

6. Where can general information be obtained regarding River Control?

Stilbaai: At the slipway (during December holidays). All other times at the Hessequa Municipality.

Witsand: Lower Breede River Conservancy Office (LBRC)

Gouritsmond: Municipal Office

Duivenhoks: At the slipway (during December holidays). All other times at the Hessequa Municipality.

7. Are jet-skis allowed on the estuary?

No. Jet-skis are not allowed on the estuary.

8. Is skiing allowed on the estuaries?

Yes. Kindly consult the maps located at the Goukou & Gouritz slipway for skiing zones.

9. What is the cost of a boating permit?

Related Links

National Sea Rescue Institute

Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa

Shark Spotters

WWF South Africa


Wind Guru

Southern Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative