Wilderness really is the Pearl of the Garden Route. This little village lies very centrally in the temperate Southern Cape, just 15km east of George. A veritable treasure of unspoiled nature it nestles between the tannin-coloured Kaaimans river and the Goukamma Nature reserve. Its greatest asset is endless pristine stretches of beach, tranquil, secluded and fanned by soft sea breezes. During the winter months a special treat are the Southern Right Whales that can be spotted using the 18km of protected coastline to come in close to shore and calve.
The Serpentine river meanders through Island lake, Rondevlei and Langvlei making the perfect home for many species of wetland birds. This forms part of the 2500 ha of Wilderness National park, the eco-system here is rare and sensitive and rightly protected. Many beautiful walks and well marked hikes make this a paradise for nature lovers. Water sports can be enjoyed at Island lake so there is something for everyone.
Whether seeking a gentle nature filled break or a vigorous outdoor holiday Wilderness really does have something for everyone. Lots to do, lots to see, the perfect place to make special memories.
Wilderness Beach truly is therapy for the soul.
The Garden Route runs along one of the most beautiful and scenic coastlines in South Africa. The area extends from Mossel Bay in the west, to the Storms River in the east, including the towns of Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Natures Valley. The climate is maritime, meaning moderately hot summers, and mild to chilly winters making it pleasant all year round. We should experience all-year-round rainfall with most rain falling in the winter months. The humid sea-winds coming in from the warm Indian Ocean rise and release their precipitation along the high mountain ranges just inland of the coast. We are fortunate in that this stretch experiences the most hours of sunshine and the least wind of all the coastal regions of South Africa.
The Route lies between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of CapeFynbos and temperate forest and offer wonderful hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of birdlife are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos, to forest, and wetlands.
Ten nature reserves protect the varied ecosystems of the area ensuring this amazing area will continue to remain pristine. Unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals and a host of other marine life are there to be enjoyed. Various bays along the Garden Route are nurseries to the endangered Southern Right Whale which come there to calve in the winter and spring (July to December).
GARDEN ROUTE ACTIVITIES
ARTS & CRAFTS
Milkwood Village Wilderness | Friday nights |www.milkwoodvillage.co.za
Wild Oats Community Farmers` Market | Sedgefield | Saturday 7:30 – 12:00 | 044 883 1177
Scarab Village Market | Sedgefield | Saturday 7:30 – 12:00 | 044 343 2455
Karatara Market | Saturday 8:30 – 13:30 | 083 458 0975
The Friday Market | Knysna | 16:00 – 20:00 | Follow the scarecrows | 044 382 5316
Thesen Island Sunday Market | Knysna | 083 962 7202
Harvest Time Community Market | Saturday N2 Harkerville | 044 533 9094
The 7 passes road: Upon leaving Views Boutique Hotel & Spa, turn right on the N2 and proceed towards Knysna. As you approach the white bridge on the outskirts of Knysna, turn left immediately before the bridge.
The signboard reads Belvidere/Brenton-on Sea. Stay left. This road will continue to take you past Rheenendal village (Totties eatery, petrol station, shop and postal agency is your landmark on the left hand side) and on to where the tar soon gives way to gravel (landmark is Homtini Guest Farm on your left), the road winds down to a concrete bridge across the Homtini River.
After the bridge, the road climbs out of the gorge, passes through farmlands, then drops again to the Karatara River. After crossing the Karatara River on a single-lane bridge, the road passes the Karatara forestry settlement.
The next pass leads through the gorge of the Hoogekraal River, and the one after this takes you across the Diep River. You reach the tar again roughly 35 km from Rheenendal, and soon after this you pass the small settlement of Woodville. Turn right onto the gravel road signposted ‘Big Tree and Picnic Spot’.
Return to the tarred road and turn right, taking note of your kilometres. After a little over 3 km, turn right onto a gravel road for ‘Saasveld’. The road now negotiates three more river-valley passes. Note your kilometres as you cross the TouwRiver, and 4,6 km later keep straight, onto the tar, for George.
You then cross the Silver River, and after this the Kaaimans River. The old stone bridges over the Silver and Kaaimans Rivers were built in 1903 and 1904 respectively and proclaimed National Monuments.
Birds of Eden: www.birdsofeden.co.za
Cango Caves: www.cangocaves.co.za
Elephant Park: www.knysnaelephantpark.co.za
Rhino Basecamp: www.rhinobasecamp.co.za
Ocean Safaris: www.oceansafaris.co.za
Wolf Sanctuary: www.wolfsa.org.za
Crocodile Ranch: www.cango.co.za
Meerkat Manor: www.meerkatmagic.com
Highgate Ostrich Farm: www.highgate.co.za
Eagle Encounters: www.eagleencounters.co.za
Brenton Blue butterfly reserve: www.brentonblue.org.za
Eden Adventures: www.eden.co.za
Redberry Farm: www.redberryfarm.co.za
Garden Route Mall, George
Knysna Mall, Main Road Knysna
Knysna Waterfront, Waterfront Drive, Knysna
Langeberg Centre, Mosselbay
Goose Valley: www.goosevalley.net
Plettenberg Bay: www.plettgolf.co.za
Mossel Bay: www.mosselbaygolfclub.co.za