1. Explore the moist, cool forest on the Elephant Walk in the Diepwalle Forest. Choose from 6–9km variations that take you through wet forest, crossing numerous streams. Tree ferns and yellowwood trees are other attractions. If it has been raining, the path will be slippery. Bookings unnecessary, but get a permit from the Diepwalle Forest Office where you park your car.
2. Not enough time to hike the Otter Trail? Do the one-day mini version instead by hiking the Kranshoek Walk near Harkerville, about 20km east of Knysna. This 9km walk has much the same kind of scenery as ‘The Otter’, the path taking you up and down cliffs and along pebbly beaches to meet some crabs. No scary river crossing though. The start and finish are fairly steep and strenuous and not for the weak-kneed. Take sunblock and cozzies for swimming in two pools along the way. Don’t forget to carry water. Booking unnecessary, but get a permit on site.
3. Do the Giant Kingfisher Trail at the northern end of the Ebb & Flow rest camp. The 7km trail will take you to a waterfall and back, climbing up and down through low forest and hugging the Touw River. You’ll enjoy the company of sombre greenbuls, Knysna turacos and of course lots of kingfishers. At one point you must cross two pipes across an exposed rock; don’t give up or you’ll miss the waterfall and rock pool, which is a great place to cool off. The walk takes about an hour and a half in each direction. Carry drinking water. Booking unnecessary.
4. Take your mountain bike out for a spin in the Goudveld Forest up the Rheenendal road west of Knysna. The three-hour, 19km circular Homtini cycle route starts at the Krisjan-se-Nek picnic site (on the way to Jubilee Creek). Pay for a permit at the entry point, which should be manned, or simply sign the visitor’s book. Contact SANParks’ Cathy van Rooyen for more info, tel 044 302-5606.
5. Take to the skies above Wilderness for a paragliding adventure. Tandem flights are available for the faint of heart or those without time for training. Find out more from Cloudbase Paragliding, Coastal Paragliding or SA Paragliding Adventures.
6. Go kloofing through indigenous forest and along the Kaaimans River, indulging in some boulder hopping or even a jump off the rocks into the water below – if you dare. Alternatively, top up your adrenalin levels by abseiling 45m into the Kaaimans River Gorge right next to a magnificent waterfall. Contact Eden Adventures.
More about the Garden Route
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