Whether you hike, bike, kayak, dive or trail run in nature, the Garden Route National Park (Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness) has some awesome eco adventures on offer. Here are our 5 favourites:
- Canoe and hike at Ebb & Flow Rest Camp, Wilderness. Rent a canoe and paddle down to the Wilderness lagoon mouth or make your way upriver, passing indigenous forests, and seeing abundant birdlife all the way including the Half-collared Kingfisher, Fish Eagles and various Cormorants.
- Hike the iconic Otter Trail. This 5-day 42km hike follows the Eastern Cape coastline from Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park. It’s heavily booked, so if you can’t get onto the overnight hike, stay at the SANParks Storms River Mouth Rest Camp cabins and try out the first part of the trail in a day hike to the Waterfall.
- Mountain bike on the spectacular Harkerville forest trails, situated halfway between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. There are routes to suit all levels of riders. Four colour-coded routes, ranging from an easy family ride to fast-flowing single-track take you through shady plantations, costal fynbos and indigenous forest, with great technical sections to challenge the more adventurous rider.
- Kayak, lilo, dive and snorkel at Storms River Mouth. Kayak under the Storms River suspension bridge up the gorge, then hop onto lilo’s to discover the deeper sections. Otherwise, go snorkelling and scuba diving in this marine protected park.
- Hike or Trail run the Tsitsikamma Forest. A good start is the 3 or 9 km walk from the famous Big Tree at Krisjan-se-Nek Picnic Site, which follows a track along a river through the high forest. Enjoy relaxing next clear streams and swimming in the water holes.
Recommended organised tours:
Mountain biking walks and hikes – Knysna Hike and Bike +27 (0)82 893 1361 firstname.lastname@example.org
Biomimicry Walks – Biowise +27 (0)44 382 0078 email@example.com
For more information visit the SANPArks website.
Getting to the Garden Route: The reserves are close to the N2 on the Garden Route, and all the roads are in excellent condition. You can drive, but if you are coming from Johannesburg or Cape Town, we recommend you cut your travel time by flying Cemair to Plettenberg Bay and then hiring a car or arranging a shuttle to the SANParks reserves.