Oystercatcher Hike in Arniston

Sandy Trail in Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve leading to Arniston.

By Vicky · Published Feb. 24th, 2021 · Updated Nov. 23rd, 2022

This short walk in the Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve brings you to the little lighthouse of Arniston, an excellent place to see the African Black Oystercatcher and other seabirds. Unwind with the magnificent views of the ocean and relaxing sounds of the waves and the birds.

At the lighthouse of Arniston there is a good chance to see the African Black Oystercatcher.
Oystercatchers and other seabirds at the lighthouse.


This walk is in the Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve on the south side of Arniston, a pretty fishing village. The hike starts at the Roman Beach car park. It takes about 2.5-3 hours and 209 km to reach Arniston from Cape Town via the N2 and R316.

Oystercatcher Hike in Arniston Map

Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.

We went on this short hike as an activity on a weekend trip from Cape Town to Agulhas and Arniston. Find out more in our detailed trip report. This was our second hike in Arniston, after a hike around the town centre and to the sand dunes.


  • Take a sunhat and sunscreen to stay cool and safe.
  • There are a few options of where exactly to hike here, there is no real set route.
  • Only at low tide, you can visit Waenhuiskrans Cave.
  • If you have a 4×4 and are short on time or lazy, you can drive all the way to the lighthouse.
  • For fisherfolk, this is a good place for you as well.
  • For another short walk from Arniston, take a gentle stroll around the village and sand dunes.
  • Find more great hikes in South Africa.
Single Oystercatcher with many other sea birds.
A single oystercatcher with many other seabirds.

After our village hike, we drove through the village to park at the Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve at Roman beach. From here, we set off, first along a jeep track, with great views of the ocean. We cut down to the beach and walked along the sand to the far point in the distance.

Beach with Arniston lighthouse in the distance in Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve, South Africa.
To the beach!


The waves were very fierce at the end. However, the shoreline was protected by rocks, and this was where all the birds were. There were many cormorants, terns and other seabirds that I don’t know the name of. Most special was the African Black Oystercatcher. This is a wader that only inhabits parts of the coast of Southern Africa. It is a near-threatened species with about 6000 of them left.

Having a bird guide makes hiking much more interesting as you can identify and tick off the different species you see. If you’re a beginner, the Pocket Guide to Birds of Southern Africa* is a great option.

The end of the hike.
At the far point.
three oystercatchers.

After this short hike, we went back the way we came to the car and drove back to Cape Town.

Read more about a walk around Arniston, a trip to Cape Agulhas National Park or more exciting hikes in South Africa.

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