Kouga local municipality
Tel:+27 (0)42 200 2200
All-hours Emergency:+27 (0)42 291 0250
Alternative Number:+27 (0)42 200 8330

About The Kouga Area
Last modified: 12 Oct 2022


Kouga Local Municipality forms part of the Sarah Bartmann District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is situated west of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch) and covers a total land area of 2 418km².

It covers the nine towns of Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis, Oyster Bay, Patensie, Hankey, Loerie and Thornhill.

Eastern Cape


Topography and climate

Kouga is largely an urban area, with three main topographical regions: 

  • The coastal region stretches from the Van Stadens River in the east to the Tsitsikamma River in the west. This zone includes the towns of Jeffreys Bay, St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis and Oyster Bay. The coast serves as a major tourism attraction.
  • The Gamtoos River Valley is characterised by wide, fertile flood plains associated with low-lying land. Steep and less-fertile slopes flank the Valley. The towns of Hankey, Patensie, Loerie and Thornhill are focal points of this high-potential agricultural region.
  • The Humansdorp area, including Kruisfontein, is characterised by moderate slopes in the south, with steeper slopes towards the north and northwest.

The four main rivers in the area - the Kromme, Seekoei, Kabeljouws and Gamtoos – are tidal rivers. The Kromme River and Gamtoos River are significant sources of water supply. Ground water is another major component of domestic water supply. Aquifers are also utilised in the agricultural sector for irrigation.

There are numerous areas of wetland adjacent to the region's rivers and on the coastal platform. These wetlands are extremely sensitive to disturbances such as agricultural activities and development. The wetlands accommodate high species diversity and fulfil natural water purification and flood retention roles.

The climate of the Kouga region is subtropical, which makes the area conducive to a range of outdoor activities and various types of agricultural production. Rainfall varies between 650 mm per year (St Francis Bay area) to 400 mm (Gamtoos River Valley). The area is generally described as windy.


Despite it being the second smallest region in the Sarah Bartmann District, covering only 4,1% of the district’s land area, Kouga is the most populous region in the district. It has a population of 98 588 (Census 2011), representing approximately 22% of the total population of the district.

Kouga also has the fastest annual growth rate in the district. Since 1996, the population has increased at an average of 2,4% per annum compared to the annual growth rate of 1,1% in the district and 0,3% in the province.

Kouga is characterised by vast differences in population density from one area to the next. These variations have an impact on the cost of service delivery while migration to the urban nodes places additional pressure on the existing infrastructure of these high-density areas.

The influx of job seekers has also impacted negatively on employment figures. According to “Labour Force Survey Data” for 1995 to 2010 (Stats SA), employment in the region declined by 11,7% between 1995 and 2010 while the working age group increased by 25%. This means that 80,3% of the working age group had employment in 1995, compared to 56,8% in 2010.


Kouga’s total output / Gross Value Added (GVA), which is used to measure the value of production in a region, has shown erratic growth since 1996.

“Regional Income and Production Data” for 1995 to 2010 (Stats SA) indicates that the economic sector of Kouga is dominated by secondary and tertiary activity.

In 2010 the leading industries were finance, insurance and real estate (FIR) at 33,3%, manufacturing (MAN) at 19,1% and general government (GG) at 14,2%. With its growth outpacing all other industries, FIR has since 1996 overtaken wholesale and retail trade, catering and accommodation (WRCA) as the largest contributor to GVA. WRCA’s proportion to Kouga’s output has plummeted from 21% in 1995 to 10,3% in 2010.

The contribution of the main primary sector – agriculture, forestry and fishing (AFF) – has also decreased from 11,8% in 1995 to 3,5% in 2010. However, MAN’s proportion saw an increase of 4,8% over the same period. While the primary sector dominated employment up until 2005, the tertiary sector has since taken over this role.