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Garden Route (Tsitsikamma, Knysna, Wilderness) National Park

Hiking and Nature Walks

Wilderness Section

Outeniqua Trail

This spectacular trail can be conquered asa series of day walks or over a full seven day period, starting at Beervlei in the upper reaches of the Park and ending at Harkerville in the East between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

This trail carves its way in the cool shade ofundulating indigenous forest with rustic huts, a stop-over, for those endeavouring the seven day trek, or as an alternative starting point for those day walkers relative to the level of challenge you desire. The overnight cabins are regularly stocked with firewood. Water and rudimentary bedding are supplied to complete that outdoor experience.

As darknessfalls, the once blue sky, through pockets of forest, fynbos and different vegetation types during the day; now exposes a brilliant black sky pitted with billions of stars, buffered with the sounds of surrounding nocturnal activity. Perfect whether you are a stargazing astrologist, star-crossed lovers just seeking a romantic getaway or simply bonding with friends.

For those who have love for the sea, this trail makes its way down to the coast where beautiful rock formations may be explored, photographs taken or picnics enjoyed. Sea caves are often visible along this portion of the trail and tell of the sheer landscaping power of the Indian Ocean. This trail offers an unforgettable experience sure to leave walkers reeling with euphoria.

Permits can be obtained from the Knysna Regional office on Thesen's Island.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher Trail

Greeted by lush dense overhangs of thicket this trail is a jewel for bird watchers and aspiring botanists alike. A 2.5km walk, ends at a waterfall, a walk which playfully snakes through the Duiwe River valley and crosses the Duiwe River five times along its length. The trail lends itself to picnickers, at various points sheer-faced cliffs can be viewed or in the shade of the forest trees whilst you enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

The Knysna Turaco and sometimes the African Fish Eagle frequents the large trees of this peaceful valley and if you're quiet enough, you may just get to marvel at this regal predator from close-up.

Time duration: A three hour linear route totals 5km (2.5km each way) is sure to leave you visually, breathless.

Half-collared & Giant Kingfisher Trail

This trail is within walking distance of the EBB & FLOW Rest Camp. An immense wall of green punctured only by a human sized opening welcomes walkers into this cathedral of mature forest. The most popular trail in the Wilderness region it has many picnic points and lays nestled not more than 15 meters from the riverbank and may be accessed by canoe or foot, both promising a unique experience of this exquisite ecosystem.

The Half-collared crosses the Touw River by means of a pontoon to join the Giant Kingfisher trail. Trees are appropriately numbered to facilitate tree spotters in finding their favourite trees. Mostly shaded by ancient giant trees, walkers can relax as they walk comfortably on the trail to its heart boasting a magnificent waterfall where, again, picnics may be had.

Many birds especially the well-known Half-collared and Giant Kingfisher, Knysna Turaco, Fish Eagle and Black-headed Oriole may be seen. Bushbuck is also known to make graceful appearances stunning walkers with their beauty.

Time duration: A three to three and a half hour linear route totalling 7km to the end and back guarantees a benevolent experience.

Bosduif Loop

The Bosduif loop is a short challenging trail, it is an elevated artery branching from the Half-collared Kingfisher trail. This trail climbs sharply along the hillside into the forest where the vegetation changes slightly into ghostly drapes of lichens and mosses. In total the Bosduif is unique for the short hour it takes to complete and hikers will be breathless due to its astounding beauty and steep trajectory.

Duration: One hour, challenging walk upward to the top of a forested valley with stunning, sunlit views of the Wilderness Lakes looking eastward over Rondevlei in a humid haze.

Cape Dune Mole-rat Trail

Be sure to take liquid refreshments along on this trail, there are several options on this trail e.g. there is a 6km loop and a 3km loop which overlaps. A beautiful, scenic trail traversing through a few different vegetation types. The sandy trail is soft under foot in some places. Portions of the trail overlook Rondevlei and Swartvlei lake.

Millwood Overnight Trail

Part of the Outeniqua Hiking trail this is a 15,5km section but can be walked as a two day hike to Millwood Hut from Goudveld entrance Kiosk and 15km`s back the second day. This can be done as part of the Outeniqua Trail.

Woodville Big Tree Circular Walk

Take a short +/- 13 km drive from EBB & FLOW rest camp to experience an easy 45 minute walk through lush indigenous forest which starts and finishes at an 810 year old Yellowwood Tree.

Knysna Lakes Section

Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail

This two day, 24 km hike, starts and ends at Harkerville Forest Station. It passes through some prime examples of high-forest, crosses sections of coastal fynbos and takes the hiker along some breathtaking natural scenery along a cliff coast with low water pools and pebble beaches. Hiker sleeps over at two huts, called Harkerville and Sinclair hut, with basic facilities, including ablution, single bunks with mattresses, water, fire wood and an axe. Hikers are spoiled with sceneries over the forest and Indian Ocean after a day of hiking. The hike accommodates a minimum of two people.

Day Walks

The section provides for everyone, from old and youth, to the fit and physically disabled. Stop at Garden of Eden and learn the marked indigenous trees by name as you stroll the forest on a comfortable 800m boardwalk. Picnic, water and ablution facilities are available. The facility is situated between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, on the N2.

Other short walks included the scenic Kranshoek day walk and picnic site, with spectacular views over the Indian Ocean, and transects through Afromontane Forest, Coastal Scrub Forest, low tide pools and Coastal Fynbos. This walk is 9km long and takes you 4 to 5 hours of walking. The Perdekop day walk is also 9km long and provides the hiker with a shady forest walk, ideally for educational and spiritual fulfillment.

Tsitsikamma Section

Otter Trail

This is a five (5) day hiking trail which starts at the Storms River Mouth rest camp and ends at the small resort village of Natures Valley in the de Vasselot section of the park. The total distance for the trail is 42km and has six (6) escape routes which have forest huts for resting. This trail hugs the Tsitsikamma coast closely to the pounding surf and zigzags where the coastal plateau rises to elevation of 200 metres and cliffs drops steeply into the sea. The following are the escape routes for the five day otter trail:

  • Escape route 1-is 2.8km from the rest camp into the natural forest leading to the Ngubu huts inside the natural forest.
  • Escape route 2-the Kleinbos River escape route is 4.8km from the Ngubu huts to the river.
  • Escape route 3- Bloubaai escape route is 4.6km and has overnight stops which are the forest huts.
  • Escape route 4-Scotts hut/ Geelhoutbos Rivers is 3.6km and has overnight stops which are the forest huts.
  • Escape route 5- Jan Swart escape route is 3km and has overnight stops which are the forest huts.
  • Escape route 6-Bloukrans River towards the end of the trail and has overnight stops which are the forest huts.

Dolphin Trail

This unique guided, luxury hiking experience a 2 day spectacular trial on the Tsitsikamma coast, have luggage portaged and spend each evening in comfort of three different 4 5 * luxury accommodation. Point of departure is from Storms River Mouth Rest Camp at the Restaurant to fernery at Forest Ferns. This is made possible by a partnership between the Tsitsikamma National park, Forest Ferns and Misty mountains. The result of this is a hiking experience that will both challenge and pamper you. It covers a distance of 17km, starting at Storms river mouth and moving east through natural fynbos and indigenous, ending on the banks of the Sanddrift River at forest ferns. This includes all meals, guides, 4x4 drive through old Storms River pass and transportation of luggage. Other activities include spotting whales, dolphins and otters, bird watching, swimming and snorkelling.

Witelspeak Captain Harrison Trail

The Witelspeak Captain Harrison Trail is a circular route going in the direction of the Humansdorp turnoff. The duration is one day or 4hours, distance being 9km. This route takes you through natural forests, streams and ferns, starts and end at the Witelsbos state forest. There is also a picnic and braai area on the route.

The Cadeau Hiking Trails

The Cadeau Hiking Trails are situated in the Witelsbos region and it includes two trails. The Elands river trail is a very challenging one day trail. It takes up to 5hours and the distance is 5,9km. The Bloubaai trail is 5.2km long and takes up to 6hours to walk. Both trails offer views of the shoreline since it is situated along the coast.

Salt River via the Keurpad Route - Day walk

The trail starts opposite to the De Vassselot Camp site and follows the Kalanderkloof trail. The trail is 15.1km.

Grootriver Trail - Day walk

The trail starts at the entrance of the De Vassselot Camp to the Grootriver Bridge. It is 6km.

Stinkhoutkloof Nature Walk - Day walk

The walk starts and ends at Bloukrans Forest station. It is 8km and traverses through the natural forest and the plantation.

Rugbos Trail - Day Walk

This trail traverses to the forest and has three escape routes which are colour coded. There is the yellow coded which is 1.4km, green coded which is 1.3km and there is the blue coded which is 3.1km. The green and the blue coded routes starts from the Tsitsikamma Khoisan Village and the yellow starts and ends at the Rugbos picnic site on the Bloukrans pass.

Goesa Nature Walk - Day walk

Starts and ends at the Storms river Forestry office at Stormsriver. It is a 2km walk through indigenous forest.

The Ratel Trail - Day walk

The trail is divided into three routes. The green route is 1km long on it you follow a boardwalk through indigenous forest to the Big Tree. The yellow route is 2.6km, and the red route is 4.2km.

The Plaatbos Nature Walks - Day walks

Consists of three walks, the yellow route is 8,09km, the red route is 7,78km, and the green route is 5,09km. All three routes start at the Forestry office in Storms river village. On the yellow route you can have a picnic and a swim in the storms river at the old bridge picnic site. The walks are relatively easy.

Blue duiker - Day walk

The trail starts at the lookout point and is 3.7km long. It follows a circular route and ends at the Occeanettes.

The Loerie - Day walk

Starts at the lookout point and is 1km long.

The Water Fall - Day walk

It starts at the Oceanettes and is 3km long. It follows a trail in westerly direction towards the waterfall.

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