Garden Route Trail
- Coastal Walk
- Trail preparation
The scope of environmental variation in the Garden Route offers visitors to the region the option of forest, wetland, dune, Fynbos, estuary, riverine, montane and coastal experiences without having to travel vast distances. It is on this foundation of diversity that we have developed our range of guided nature experiences and birding in the Garden Route. The combination of natural diversity fused with our passion for nature and our scientific background, has allowed Garden Route Trail to become unsurpassed leaders of informative nature guiding in the Garden Route.
Rated by our guests as the most diverse and spectacular coastal walk in South Africa, Garden Route Trail passes through South Africa's southern coastal region of the Western Cape. Known as the Garden Route for it's floral diversity of the Fynbos, the region is a popular destination for hikers looking for back country trekking.
Compiled to expose guests to the diverse ecological and natural beauty of the Southern Cape, the itinerary of Garden Route Trail provides in-depth environmental experience complemented with stimulating scenic vistas and rewarding Birding.
A collection of unforgettable ecological experiences are offered to nature enthusiasts to show case the splendor of this region. Between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean in the heart of the Garden Route, we are blessed with landscapes of Afromontane Forest, river, wetland, dune and beach. Walking and paddling through this paradise, you will be revitalized by the natural beauty. Here you can savor remote solitude as you are informally accompanied along unfrequented routes between Wilderness and Knysna. Unencumbered as they walk, guests luggage is transported to the evening accommodation.
The route traverses two nature reserves, the Wilderness National Park and Goukamma Nature Reserve , wonderful protected areas of the diverse indigenous flora in the region. Come share our passion for this ecological marvel where the mountains kneel to the sea, where lakes are fringed by forests and where the surf caresses golden sands.
For those with less time available Garden Route Trail also offers some wonderful accompanied Day walks and guided Birding outings in a variety of environments. Come for the experience and depart enriched with an appreciation of Nature.
Garden Route Trail is a relaxed coastal walk through diverse habitats and vegetation. Beginning in Wilderness, this five day coastal trail traverses two nature reserves (Wilderness National Park and Goukamma Nature Reserve) to finish on the western head of the Knysna Lagoon. The hike passes through some of South Africa's largest tract of remaining Afromontane rain, Milkwood dune forests, wetland, beach, rock pools, and lagoon habitats. With more than 185 African Oystercatchers en route, the coastline offers a perfect sanctuary for these fascinating and threatened species.
Recommended dates for trails are listed on the reservations page. Actual trail dates depend on availability of accommodation and tide conditions. Consideration is given to the tide tables to make the beach sections as easy as possible. To book, view the available dates on the reservation page, confirm availability and submit a completed reservation form with proof of deposit.
Day 1. 7Km forest walk, 7km wetland canoe, 3km walk with views of the lakes and Outeniqua Mountains. Guests meet at the Wilderness Ebb & Flow rest camp for registration. Activities start with a canoe trip and walk following the Touw River through indigenous forest for lunch alongside the river. Returning to the canoes, guests take a meandering canoe trip birding before returning to the rest camp for the evening. Dinner is prepared by your guide.
Day 2. 16Km beach walk. On the second day, after breakfast, guests are collected by a local taxi and driven to Kleinkrans from where the days walks starts. The trail passes rock pools which can be explored at low tide and tracts of washed up sea shells along some of South Africa's most pristine and secluded golden beaches. 800m before reaching your accommodation you are ferried across the Kingfisher Creek in a row boat when the mouth is open. Dinner is prepared by your guide.
Day 3. 10km beach walk, 5km dune fynbos and forest walk. After breakfast you start off on a 10km beach walk with plenty opportunities to swim in the surf before leaving the beach at Skimmelkrans in Goukamma Nature Reserve and traversing vegetated dunes to Goukamma River. Crossing the river on a pont you reach your accommodation in thatched rondavels where you over night for two nights. Dinner is a Potjie.
Day 4. 3 hour Birding canoe, 8km dune and beach circuit. After breakfast the group canoes up the Goukamma River looking for African Fish Eagles and Spotted Eagle Owls for the morning. For the afternoon you walk to the top of a vegetated dune en route to the beach and the mouth of the river to terns and seabirds. Dinner is a meal of seafood to round off the day.
Day 5. Relaxed start, 8km walk, reflective drink, shuttle back to Wilderness. Guests enjoy relaxed breakfast followed by a 8km walk to Brenton on Sea where you can enjoy an optional lunch or beverage before being transported back to Wilderness.
The base price for the essential itnerary of Garden Route Trail is inclusive of the following:
- 4 nights Accommodation,
- Four breakfasts,
- Four packed lunches
- Four dinners with wine,
- Filtered rain water provided daily
- Two canoeing trips,
- Return journey to Wilderness
- Daily transport of luggage to evening venue
- Full time scientific guide
At Clients own expense:
- All beverages, own supply to be portaged to accommodation. Be aware that all of the accommodation is not close to an establishment from which you can purchase any beverages. If, due to travel arrangements, you are unable to purchase beverages before the trail, please e-mail an order to be purchased on your behalf.
While Garden Route Trail offers our 5 day Coastal Trek throughout the year, it is encumbent of guests to be prepared for five days of walking through nature. This preparation includes ensuring that you have a rudimentry level of fitness to be able to be outdoors for at least five hours per day.
Most important is to ensure that you have the correct equipment for 5 days of walking. Below is a list of clothing and equipement that we suggest you should include when packing for the trail :
- Sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses,
- Waterproof bag for phones, camera's and binoculars,
- Chargers, plug adapters and spare batteries,
- Hand torch or headlamp,
- Fleece jacket, thermal base layer and water proof shell,
- One pair of quick drying pants for the canoe stages,
- Comfortable pair of walking shoes - we suggest lace up trainers for the beach stages,
- Light weight towel for the if you plan to swim,
- Personal toiletries.
- All prescribed medication.
- Comfortable day pack, preferably with waist strap,
Vehicle Parking :
Vehicles are parked the Wilderness National Park at the clients own risk in a secure area. The parking area is adjacent to the reception of the park and there is nocturnal security.
Trail Description :
- Exertion Rating : medium
- Total distance approx. 58km combined walking and canoeing, 2nd day is a 16km beach stage.
- Activities : Walking and canoeing
- Terrain : predominantly beach and sand, forest trail, few gradients.
- Maximum altitude : 116m
- Rating : easy to medium.
- Fitness requirement : average.
- Age group : 8 yrs and older. The average age of our guests for the past 6 years is 65 years old. The oldest guest has been 81 and his friend was celebrating his 80th!