The reserve aims to protect the large variety of bird, plant and animal species within the area. Bird watchers can feast their eyes on more than 170 bird species and a number of raptors frolicking in their natural habitat along the rocky gorge.
This includes the forest buzzard, jackal buzzard, booted eagle, African crowned eagle, peregrine falcon, black sparrowhawk, and lanner falcon.
There is an indigenous coastal forest along the gorge of Van Stadens River. It is home to the Knysna turaco, the Knysna warbler, and the sombre greenbul, among many others. There is also a nursery in the reserve which sells indigenous flora, and scenic picnic sites on the plateau that are perfect for relaxing over a meal. There are two hiking trails for those who want to explore the reserve. The River Walk is 4km long and the Forest Walk is 6km. Mountain bikers can explore the plateau section of the reserve, and there are easier sections which are ideal for families to cycle on.