Wilderness National Park – Wild Serenity

brown hooded king fisher hike

Wilderness National Park – Wild Serenity

Roughly 1km from Cinnamon House lies Wilderness National Park where visitors can engage in a variety of activities including: Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, biking, abseiling, fishing, birding, paragliding and so much more.

This video taken in the park by a visitor to the area, covers just part of what you can expect.

People from all over the world have given reviews to the park all at 3.9 stars to 5 stars. Here’s what just a few had to say:

“It is a superb spot. We have visited many of the National Parks in South Africa and a lot of similar places elsewhere. Just for a short relaxed stopover this spot ranks highly.”

Rating: 5 Star

“Ideally situated for nature & bird lovers with excellent restaurants and beach facilities in close proximity.”

Rating: 4 Star

“It was most unfortunate that our stay was only a brief one. We will definitely try to return for longer to repeat a most relaxing and enjoyable stay.”

Rating: 4 Star

This park is situated in a fortuitous area for anyone looking to see the most of anything be it animals, fynbos regions, birds, or marine life. Nestled between the towns of George and Knysna, this park protects three major zones of indigenous forest, four types of Fynbos, and a number of historic archaeological significant sites.

The 3 vlei lakes, Eilandvlei, Langvlei, and Rondevlei are connected by the Touw river, hosting a variety of aquatic species that have led to its proclamation as a Ramsar site. Ramsar sites are any wetlands that hold international importance. Easily spotted in the area are the 5 types of kingfisher, the Grey Heron, Little Egret, and the brightly festive Knysna Loerie within the forests. Also here are a unique species of seahorse, and Pansy Shell.Beyond the smaller members of the animal kingdom, it is also possible to spot dolphins, and whales from Dolphin Point.

The area sees many hiking and birding fans due to the stunning offerings in this one area alone. The Rondevlei bird hide and Malachite Kingfisher bird hide (at Langvlei) offer unique opportunities to get a glimpse of gorgeous birds in their natural habitat. There is also a 3rd bird hide along the Touw river; the Gallinule bird hide. While on Rondevlei and Langvlei, there are major concentrations of Great Crested Grebes, and commonly seen are birds like the Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, Cape Shoveler, Yellow-billed Duck, and Reed Cormorant.

The entire surrounding forest area is also a great place to sight some raptor species that include the Cuckoo Hawk, Crowned Eagle, Forest Buzzard, Black and Red Breasted Sparrowhawk, and African Goshawks. Bring your binoculars to spot these majestic birds as they soar overhead going about their daily business hunting, and be prepared to capture the camera shot of a lifetime as some of these daring flyers dive straight down to snatch a meal.

Not to leave out the hiking fans, there are also a ton of offerings for those who are inclined to being part of the outdoors by walking and picking their way through it. A hiker was once quoted saying “It feels good to get lost in the right direction” which means so much more than what it simply says. Perhaps making yourself part of the entire scenery allows you to feel more found than lost, perhaps you discover that being “lost” out there with naught but the wilderness surrounding you, you’ve never been more alive.

There are 7 well known trails in the Wilderness section of the park: Outeniqua Trail, Brown-hooded Kingfisher Trail, Half-collared & Giant Kingfisher Trail, Bosduif Loop, Cape Dune Mole-rat Trail, Millwood Overnight Trail, and Woodville Big Tree Circular Walk. There is also an otter trail which takes about 5 days to complete, and is an adventure all on it’s own. Age restricted to a minimum of 12 years of age to a maximum of 65, the trail is physically demanding enough to warrant the restrictions. Anyone over 65 need only provide a recent certificate from their Doctor that confirms they’re fit enough to undertake the challenges of this trail. Young hikers under age 12 may accompany their parents provided they sign SANParks Indemnity Form along with identity documents or passport copies. Map of the trail – Making reservations is also recommended, due to the length of the trip.

All the other trails can be taken as day walks, or all done over a series of days and camping out between. There are overnight cabins positioned along the trails for shelter that are well stocked with firewood, water and rudimentary bedding. Nothing like really roughing it as you make your way to your goal at the end of the trail! The Outeniqua trail heads to the coast through pockets of fynbos, blanketed nightly by a perfect star studded sky. Near the end, sea caves are visible and gorgeous rock formations can be explored. One of the most popular trails, it leaves those who hike it with a feeling akin to euphoria.

For more information about the other trails, see here. Most can be done as day trips, and each offers something completely unique that cannot be seen on any of the others, providing a custom experience by mapping out your own adventure trails before you head out. Extreme to novice hikers will find plenty to do in Wilderness National Park.

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