A weekend trip to The Wilderness, South Africa
So I literally have this whole long list of all the things along the Garden Route I have always wanted to do. Coming here on holidays was always very family focused and we never really had time to go out and do the adventurous stuff. Two weeks ago my best friend Claire came to visit so I decided to pack her and my little 11 year old cousin in the car for a weekend of adventure in Wilderness.
Now Wilderness is a very small town about 15 Minutes from George Airport and about an hour drive from our farm in Plettenberg Bay. Any drive under 5 hours I find very reasonable and easily do-able for a day or weekend of fun.
A few notable highlights from the weekend:
Wilderness Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp:
Top of the list was arriving at our camp site, unpacking the tent only to notice the poles are all missing!! Thank goodness for cabins and anyway what’s a camping weekend without a funny story to tell to everyone back home. This campsite is perfect if you love being tucked away between mountains right on the river bed. It is also a part of the Garden Route National Park, the same reserve I wrote about in my blog about Harkerville Forest.
The actual town of Wilderness is an absolute gem. I’m completely besotted and have sworn to take my whole family back for a day trip. It is a quaint little town with one main road. Little wooden restaurants and shops line the road in between big lush trees. It has a definite ethereal feel to it.
My favourite place in town has to be the Green shed Coffee Roastery. Cake & Coffee are two of my favourite things and they know how to do it right. How does a slice of Caramel Velvet cake sound to you? Yum right! The decor is also rad, it has a vintage/Rustic feel with mismatched furniture, plants everywhere you look and bits and bobs everywhere you look. The back garden is the perfect place to sit and get lost in a book. Go check it out for yourself!
Map of Africa:
The weather was not in our favour on the Saturday so we ended up just driving around and ended up on a road heading to a view point titled “Map of Africa”, very blindly forgetting that views are kind of hard to see when there are plumes of mist. But we waited it out for a bit and the mist cleared. And Map of Africa it is! The river bend around an abundantly green piece of land, perfectly forms the shape of Africa, its pretty cool to see.
Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail:
During our bad weather we then decided to go for a hike. Cloudy drizzly weather is always awesome for a hike in a forest! There are a variety of trials to choose from in the area but we picked this one for the waterfall destination. The trail starts off fairly flat and then starts uphill on a muddy path which has luckily been reinforced with some wooden stairs. The trail is then a continuous winding journey along a river with multiple sections that actually have you padding your way through the water to cross with some friendly river crabs. ( We were so terrified of these it was hilarious). The forest is magical, it makes you feel like you’re a hundred miles from civilisation. The trail took us about 3.5 hours as we stopped a lot, but it can be done in 2-3 hours. It ends at an amazing waterfall which had just been filled buy the rainfall so it was a powerful force of water. A memorable moment from our hike is when I dropped one of my very expensive pairs of Nike trainers in the water by some rapids which had us all screaming trying to jump in after them whilst simultaneously avoiding the huge crab we just spotted. Luckily I rescued them just in time! This hike is a must do, even the road getting to it is filled with plenty of places to stop including the wooden piers on island lake!
I for one have never been anywhere with such a drastic and majestic coastline. It towers below you and seems to go on endlessly. There were so many rock pools we spent for ever searching for sea creatures. This is also when my phone decided to hop out of my pocket and take a dip in the ocean. (P.S.It is now inoperable and most of my images from the hike were lost, but we go on.) We also spotted hundreds of dolphins swimming past and had the luxury of an amazing sunset peaking through a gap in the clouds.
Sunday the weather cleared and we jumped on the chance to go kayaking! The rivers in wilderness are vast and there are plenty of options of where to kayak and how far to go. Kayaking through the reeds on the riverbed, watching the birds building their houses or kayaking up to the waterfall which we are definitely going to attempt next time we go!
If you’re booking a trip down the Garden Route I would say build two days into your trip to explore Wilderness and its surroundings!