Stay On the Banks of the Beautiful & Tranquil Goukou River
The Goukou river originates in the Hessequa range of mountains and then finds its way into our beautiful valley. The river, previously known as the “Kaffirkuils”, was renamed as the Goukou River after a local Griqua chief of the same name.
Today properties along the river have been upgraded from what one may call subsistence farms to mostly lifestyle farms, but there are a few large-scale olive farms and some cattle and sheep are raised.
Many of the farms offer accommodation where visitors can enjoy the tranquil lifestyle, the river and just chill and enjoy the natural beauty of the valley.
The river itself is a well manged estuarine system and although there are many varieties of fish, due to protection measures fishing is only permitted from the mouth to the 5km mark upstream.
Boating, sailing and safe swimming can be enjoyed but in keeping with good management practises, certain zones are demarcated as “wake-free” zones where no skiing or speeding is permitted, thus allowing all to use the river safely and preserve marine life.
Goukou River Valley
History of the Town
In the late 1700s the area where Still Bay is today consisted of farmland. The environment was rough and bushy with an abundance of game and other wild beasts, snakes and even elephants.
One or two of the original homestead are still standing today, albeit extensively restored. By 1873 the first plots were marked out and only around the turn of the century the town’s name became Still Bay.
At first people crossed the river in flat-bottomed boats, later by means of a ferry until 1955 when the bridge was built. For many years some of the locals made a living through fishing and selling their fresh catch straight from their boats.
Looking at the town today, one can’t imagine a time that there were almost no houses in the area.
This area has a rich history indeed. To begin with, people from the Middle Stone Age (between 40 000 – 280 000 years ago) left behind spear points and various other artefacts. These items were found in the Blombos caves and other places in the Still Bay/Jongensfontein area. As a result these parts became known worldwide as an archaeological paradise.
Much later the Strandlopers lived in the same area. They survived by hunting, gathering food along the beach, and also by fish caught in their clever fish traps. In 1972 someone found a 2 000 year old skeleton of a Strandloper on the western side of the river mouth who died at age ± 40.
Furthermore botanists have identified a number of wild flowers indigenous to Still Bay and Bredasdorp. To protect and preserve these plants the Municipality declared 140 ha east of Still Bay as a nature reserve in 1982. It is named after the botanist, Pauline Bohnen.
History of the Area
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“A river is water in its loveliest form, rivers have life and sound and movement and infinity of variation, rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart.”
– Roderick Haig-Brown –