The beautiful and scenic seaside village of Wilderness overlooks the tranquil lagoon, known as the Touw River Estuary. Situated between George and Sedgefield on South Africa’s Garden Route, this area is renowned for its vast number of lagoons, natural lakes, wetlands, forests and mountains. The Serpentine River meanders between the Touw River and Island Lake. Rondevlei and Swartvlei are natural wetlands with an abundance of birdlife.
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Wilderness boasts one of the best beaches on the Garden Route: unspoilt, safe and breathtakingly beautiful. Warm Indian Ocean waves break onto a golden sandy beach that stretches for (seemingly) endless kilometres.
It has a temperate climate which creates an outdoor style of living that draws visitors all year around. Rainfall occurs throughout, falling mostly at night.
The Wilderness area is a mecca for water sport enthusiasts, fishermen and those wanting to get their hearts racing. The Touw River offers popular canoeing routes which takes one through lush indigenous forests; Island Lake is renowned among fishermen for its black bass and blue kurper.
Kaaimans Gorge is one of the most popular abseiling sites in South Africa, the highest in the Garden Route, boasting two 45-meter drops alongside a stunning waterfall. Other activities in and around the village include birding, horse riding, mountain-biking, river safaris, dolphin and whale watching, hiking and paragliding. The quaint village is home to a variety of acclaimed restaurants including Pomodoros, The Girls, Flava, Blue Olive, Roxis on the Square and Cocomos, the latter with live music every night. Milkwood Village Market runs every Friday evening, a popular attraction with local markets, live music, roaring fire and an overall great social gathering.
The Half-Collared and Giant Kingfisher Trail
The most popular trail in the area with many picnic points, meandering not more than 15 meters from the riverbank. Accessible by canoe or foot, both promising an unique experience of this exquisite ecosystem.
Mostly shaded by ancient giant trees, hikers can relax as they walk comfortably along the trail to its heart – a magnificent waterfall where, once again, picnics can be enjoyed.
Time duration: A three to three-and-a-half-hour linear route totalling 7km to the end and back. Guarantees a benevolent experience!
Brown-Hooded Kingfisher Trail
Greeted by lush dense overhangs of thicket, this trail is a jewel for bird watchers and aspiring botanists alike. A 2.5km walk, ends at a waterfall, a trail which playfully snakes through the Duiwe River valley and crosses the Duiwe River five times along its length. Lends itself to picnickers. At various points, sheer-faced cliffs can be viewed in the beautiful surroundings.
Time duration: A three-hour linear route totals 5km (2.5km each way) is sure to leave you visually breathless!
The Bosduif Loop is a short challenging trail, elevated artery branching from the Half-Collared Kingfisher trail. This trail climbs sharply along the hillside into the forest where vegetation changes slightly into ghostly drapes of lichens and mosses. In total, the Bosduif is unique for the short hour it takes to complete and hikers will be left breathless due to its astounding beauty and steep trajectory.
Duration: One hour, challenging walk upward to the top of a forested valley with stunning, sunlit views of the Wilderness Lakes looking eastward over Rondevlei in a humid haze.
Woodville Forest Walk
The ‘Big Tree’ is a Yellowwood Tree (Podocarpus Falcatus) estimated to be +- 800 years old with a circumference of 12 m and a height of 33 m. A great attraction in Hoekwil, especially for hikers. Enjoy this 45-minute walk, a circular trail extending about 2 km through lush indigenous forest which starts and finishes at the old Yellowwood Tree. A clearly marked path leads into the forest, crossing a stream several times.
There are numerous delightful designated picnic areas, ablutions facilities and wheelchair-friendly walkways through the forest.
The Pied Kingfisher Trail
This trail starts at the Ebb & Flow rest camp in Wilderness and is mainly used for bird watching – an ideal morning hike. It is a flat circular route which takes you through the Serpentine, mainly consisting of Fynbos. Depending on the weather, the route can be done in reverse starting early in the morning along the 2km sandy beach section.
Touw River Lagoon Boardwalk
The river’s edge boardwalk is an easy stroll which is popular for birding, fishing or merely indulging in some quiet contemplation to round the day off. Situated along Waterside road in Wilderness, this walk meanders along the lagoon edge, passes through reed beds and under Millwood trees. It shows how closely the community of Wilderness is integrated with the wildness and wildlife of the Garden Route National Park.
Map of Africa
Situated in Wilderness Heights, the way the Kaaimans River flows around the hill creates an impression or shape of the Map of Africa. Opposite the Map of Africa is the popular jump site for Cloudbase paragliding.
The Boardwalk on 6th Avenue
Situated in Wilderness East, this viewpoint offers a spectacular coastal view of Wilderness Beach.
Touw River Estuary
The lagoon is not only breath-takingly picturesque, it is also great for swimming, canoeing, fishing, picnics and bird-watching. For a family day out, or a romantic getaway for two, the Touw River Estuary is a beautiful retreat.
The Touw River System is significant in that it forms a string of lakes which includes Eilandvlei, Langvlei and Rondevlei. Both Langvlei and Rondevlei offer bird hides which are popular with hobby naturalists and professional birders.
The Touw River Mouth closes and opens sporadically, depending on seasonal rainfall.