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Thursday, March 31, 2016

SANPARKS Diepwalle Forest Knysna

We decided to explore and experience the Diepwalle Forest section of SANPARKS in the Knysna area on a rainy day.  Driving from Knysna, we took the first turn left as we exit the town towards Plettenberg Bay, right into their local township.  The second turn left proved to be the correct road, and shortly we were immersed into the most beautiful forest, and this scenery did not change for the rest of our 50 km circular drive back into Knysna.

Part of this stunning route, was a stop at the majestic King Edward Tree.  It was raining for most of the day, so we did not expect to see much.  As luck would have it, we had a break in the rainy weather and managed to see this 800 year old beauty in all its splendor.

The King Edward Tree is about 800 years old.

It's one of only a few giant trees left in the Knysna Forest, and it's one of the biggest: it's more than 40 m tall.
the circumference of its trunk is more than 7 meters.
Its precious bark protects the delicate highway of vessels that take water to the leaves, and bring nutrients to the roots.

Which brings us to the next important topic:  A tribute to the original Woodcutters of Knysna.  These 300 poor families lived in harsh conditions, with little to no education, and all they knew were how to harvest giant trees for very little income.

The Carnegie Commission did a study in 1932 to find that if they did not put a stop to these woodcutters activities, they would have completely destroyed every giant tree.  Seven years later they pensioned 258 families off to stop them from further cutting and destroying majestic giants, and started a forestation project to control the timber industry in the area.  SANPARKS have taken on the ownership to assist in the preservation of these memories and a full history of the Woodcutters can be found in the Woodcutters Museum at the Diepwalle Forest Section near Knysna.

How to get there

Directions to the Knysna indigenous forest complex:

Includes the Diepwalle Forest area, camping decks, Tea Garden and Forest Legends Museum.
  • Follow the N2 for 6km east of Knysna.
  • Take the Uniondale (R339) turn-off to the left and drive another 16km to Diepwalle.
  • The R339 is a provincial gravel road to Diepwalle.
Activities for the area:
Hiking, Mountain biking, Camping, Self Catering

Monday, March 28, 2016

Brown Hooded King Fisher Trail Wilderness National Park

Brown Hooded King Fisher Trail is about 4km return hike.  There is a sign in the beginning to say it is very slippery.  We chose to ignore this, but trust me, it is very slippery.  This flat route meanders through thick forest and crosses over the same river many times over, hence the slippery notice.  The route ends at a beautiful waterfall, and we recommend that you rather view this and choose to make your picnic stop a few paces back, where it is more open and accessible. 

You need a permit (like all other local hiking routes) to do this route, and can be obtained from The Ebb and Flow Rest camp with forms part of the the SANPARKS Garden Route.  If you have a Wild Card, all the routes are free.

It is an easy walk for most people, but not for you fat lazy dog to join you.  Actually I don't think dogs are allowed here, but just to explain that it is a family route, but you need to be sure footed to attempt it.

As all other hikes we have done in the Garden Route, this one too, blew us away with its pristine beauty.  We did not see or hear one Brown Hooded King Fisher, other than a Knysna Loerie. Interestingly the Brown Hooded King Fisher has no ability to fish, but prefers its diet to be filled with bugs, worms and spiders.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rondevlei and Swartvlei near Wilderness in the Garden Route

The Rondevlei Bird Hide is situated on the northern side of the Rondevlei dam near Wilderness.  Access is fairly easy and makes for great bird viewing.  I did not have an opportunity to spend much time here, but it was good to see both juvenile and adult resident Fish Eagles and another birder had seen an Osprey moment earlier. 

The Benguela Bistro and Restaurant on the banks of the Swartvlei offers a five star experience for both accommodation and spa.  The views were magnificent.

The redundant Railway Tracks running past these magnificent lakes is always a favourite for great photographs and this was no exception.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Addo New Hop-on Self Drive Guides

Addo National Park offer self-drive or game-drive options, with the new edition of 'Hop-on' self-drive game guides.  The guide then drives with you in your vehicle.

Rolling hills and white fluffy clouds makes for another picture perfect moment in Addo.