It doesn’t matter how often you’ve been to the Wilderness–Knysna area on the Garden Route, it always has the power to enchant and amaze.
Part of the greater Garden Route National Park, it’s a world of rivers, lagoons, lakes, wetlands and beaches set against a backdrop of lush forests and mountains. So whether you’re into water sports or forest drives and walks, even if you simply want to cruise from one coffee shop or oyster gorging to another, this is a place to make you happy.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to tell you about some of my favourite places and things to do in this area, such as great beaches, fab food and where to get your nature fix or adrenalin-pumping action. To get the ball rolling and help you with planning your own getaway, let’s start with some places to spend the night. You’ll notice that I have a penchant for self-catering accommodation in natural surroundings, so if you want über-luxury pampering where someone else does everything for you except breathe, you’re in the wrong place.
1. Ebb & Flow at Wilderness offers everything from camping at the river’s edge to rustic rondavels and log cabins on stilts. This is one of my favourite campsites in the country, but my top pick is the two-man A-frame cabins under shady Cape ash trees right at the water’s edge. Tel 012 428-9111, www.sanparks.org
2. Forest Timber Camping Decks in Diepwalle Forest – pitch your 3-man tent (or hire one of theirs) on a wooden deck in indigenous forest near Knysna and wake to the sound of bird song. Braai and power point provided, mountain bike trails and lots of forest walks nearby. Tel 044 382-9762.
3. Buffalo Valley Bush Lodges in a private reserve bordering the Goukamma River between Knysna and Sedgefield. Not far from Buffalo Bay beach but in a totally natural setting, with views of vlei, forest or river, these three self-catering lodges (each sleeping 2–6 people) are very secluded and out of sight of each other. Just the ticket for those who really want to get away from the rat race. Book through CapeNature.
4. Fancy exploring the Knysna Lagoon in a boat? Lightley’s 4-6-berth houseboats will let you do that at the same time as providing a place to sleep. No fancy licence needed; you’ll get a crash course on navigating the lagoon when you book in. Tel 044 386-0007.
If you have any favourite spots to stay in this area, please share your enthusiasm by leaving a comment.
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