Nature is as natural to the Garden Route as shopping is to Sandton or catwalks are to Paris or Milan. You'll find forests, lakes and beaches, forest elephants, whales and dolphins, even seahorses, butterflies and pansy shells. Here are some places and activities for nature lovers to add to their Garden Route itinerary in South Africa.
1. Go birding in Wilderness’s very own Lake District, which is a Ramsar Wetland of international importance. Try Swartvlei, Langvlei or Rondevlei, where there’s an excellent hide that juts out from the reeds to put you in spitting distance of masses of waders. If you’re lucky you might even spot one of the resident African fish eagles.
2. Hire a two‐man canoe at Ebb & Flow Reserve at Wilderness and paddle up the Touw River, passing milkwoods and other forest vegetation, and spotting kingfishers along the way. Contact Eden Adventures.
4. Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many tranquil sites in the forests around Knysna. Jubilee Creek is a particular favourite, with a short nature walk along the river. Go up the Rheenendal Road west of Knysna and take the turnoff to Millwood, then follow the signs. Entrance fee payable unless you show a Wild Card.
5. Discover a peaceful oasis in the middle of Knysna town. The Pledge Nature Reserve is slap‐bang in the heart of Knysna, just 200m from busy Main Road. A circular set of paths winds through indigenous wetland, forest and fynbos in this 10ha reserve. Rest on a wooden bench next to a lily pond or go in search of the blue‐mantled crested‐flycatcher, olive bush‐shrike or Knysna turaco. Like much of this area, the reserve suffered with the intense fires of June 2017, but is already showing how resilient nature can be.
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