Tsitsikamma Forest's Big Tree
Did you know?
The yellowwood tree is South Africa's national tree.
The origins of the town name Knysna are probably from the Hottentot words 'Xthuys Xna', which mean 'place where the wood is'. An entire industry sprang up around the beautiful yellowwood trees in the surrounding Tsitsikamma Forest, until South Africa's national tree became an endangered species.
Some of the trees felled for their pale, unblemished wood were over a thousand years old, and now, the largest remaining yellowwood is doesn't even approach this venerable age. The Big Tree in Tsitsikamma forest, near Plettenberg Bay, can be visited to catch a glimpse of the majesty that once ruled the forests.
Although visitors to Plettenberg Bay are drawn to the scorching white beaches crammed full of sun worshippers in the summer months, they can find respite from the heat and crowds on the forest path to the Tsitsikamma Big Tree.
This tree is between 600 and 800 years old, 36,6 m tall and has a trunk circumference of 9 m. From a parking lot on the side of the N2 - the area's famed Garden Route that stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth - a boardwalk path carries visitors through the dappled light of the lush, cool forest.
The forest boardwalk is well maintained and visitors can walk the 1km round trip to the Tsitsikamma Big Tree without fear of fatigue. Two additional trails start from the same spot for the slightly more intrepid hiker - one of 2,6 km and another of 4,2 km.
For anyone who loves trees, there are any number of other activities in the area to appeal to the naturalist in you - from zipline canopy tours to tubing down black water gorges that meander through the forest, or even the world's highest bungee jump off the Bloukrans River Bridge for the truly adventurous.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 42 281 1450