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EEvening walks along the Garden Route are a wonderful way to experience the seashore at night. Judy Dixon – marine biologist, botanist, biochemist and accredited field guide – will introduce you to the wonders of the intertidal zone along one of South Africa’s most popular destinations, the Garden Route.
Before you hit the shore on one of the Garden Route evening walks, Judy will talk you through some of the familiar things you yourself might have seen or found on a beach – shells, seaweed, crabs, starfish – and explain how each facet of seashore life adapts to its own environment.
Then it's off to Swartvlei beach, west of Sedgefield, the perfect coastal walking destination thanks to its plethora of rock pools, all of which are host to a treasure trove of marine life.
You can take the moonlight meander, which takes place only at full moon, or the starlight stroll, at new moon, throughout the year. But in winter, expect a special delight – bioluminescence. This production of light by living organisms causes the sea to sparkle and glow, a sight to behold. You won’t know whether to focus your attention on the sea, the moon or the stars because they are all so brilliant and lovely.
Even though it's night, prepared to be dazzled. As Judy says: 'the pools are a kaleidoscope of colour – vivid red anemones, purple urchins, orange nudibranch and a Persian carpet of cushion stars.'
Octopuses streak through the water after hapless prey, rocks suddenly spring to life and the sand erupts with all kinds of small critters, from ghost crabs and plough snails to pill bugs. All you need is a good torch, a capacity to listen and a sense of wonder.
Join a group, take your family (children love these walks), go solo – just don't miss this experience.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Phone: +27 (0) 72 390 6667
Garden Route Trail
How to get here
Take the N2 west from Cape Town, or east from Port Elizabeth, to Wilderness. Garden Route Trails or Judy Dixon will provide detailed directions when you book an evening walk.
Best time to visit
There are 2 spring tides a month – the walks are best at this time and start at 7pm. Contact the Garden Route Trail to find out when spring tides occur.
Around the area
The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most popular destinations with the Tsitsikamma Forest, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Sedgefield, Wilderness and George as highlights.
What to pack
Your choice of sundowners and snacks, a good torch, comfortable walking shoes and, in winter, warm clothing.
Where to stay
See the Garden Route Tourism website for a variety of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets.
What to eat
Pizza (at your own cost) can be delivered to the beach.