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Mushrooms in the Garden Route

Justin Williams was ten years old when his family almost all died from mushrooms poisoning. After a passing remark about the edibility of the mushrooms, Justin and his father set off to do some mushroom foraging. It was the timeous intervention of his mom and a library book that saved the day!

Back in 2012, whilst walking through Newlands forest in Cape Town, Justin came across some beautiful porcini mushrooms and his love for these fungi was reignited. It was then that The Mushroom Forager’s (which as he describes it) “the insatiable quest for tracking down the finest wild edible mushrooms around Southern Africa” began.

He now travels around the country, spreading his love for mushrooms through courses and workshops. For Justin, the culinary and medicinal aspects of wild mushrooms are extremely important and occasionally he trains chefs on how to forage for wild mushrooms. His ventures into the woods led to him starting First Light Food, supplying wild mushroom products.

On Friday the 17th of November, Justin will have a talk about wild mushroom foraging at Studio 42 Theatre in Sedgefield. The talk is from 14:00 to 16:00 and costs R 100.

On Saturday the 18th of November, Wild Spirit Backpackers in The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, will host a guided walk and talk. The event will take place from 10:00 to 13:00 and costs R 350.

You can contact The Mushroom Forager on 082 825 9411 (Justin)

Find them on Facebook at

Visit his website at


Naturalist and environmentalist, Mark Dixon of Sedgefield based Garden Route Trail, focusses on the ecological importance of fungi and how they fit into the world. Mushrooms and fungi play a very important role, namely, that they break down plant and animal material to be reused by other animals and plants. Mushrooms are therefore the sign of a thriving ecosystem.

Most of us don’t think about the hidden world beneath the surface, yet Mark exposes a world of wonders. He says: “There are two macro systems of fungal mycelium integrated with the roots, namely an interspecific network that connects trees of the same species and secondly an intraspecific network connecting different species to each other throughout the forest.” Plants communicate through this mat of elongated cells, a veritable fibre optic network between plants connecting the ‘wood wide web’.

You can contact Garden Route Trail on 082 213 5931 (Mark)

Find them on Facebook at

Visit their website at


It is no longer necessary to brace the great outdoors to obtain mushrooms. Rheenendal based Funguys have become a household name among Fungiculture practitionists. Bert Reynders started growing mushroom for culinary and medicinal purposes over a decade ago.

In previous years, Bert and his team used to supply mushrooms and mushroom products to the local market, yet with the success of distributing their mushroom cultures and mushroom seed spawn across South Africa and the SADC countries, they nowadays have time for anything else.

They stock almost anything a mushroom enthusiast may need from ‘Mushroom Grow Kits’ to dried medicinal mushrooms.

You can contact Funguys on 083 997 7380 (Bert)

Find them on Facebook at

Visit their website at


Pictures: Supplied

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