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DDrive your own 4-wheel drive vehicle – or take the Hop On option with a guide – and follow the gorgeous Knysna Forest 4x4 Trail, which takes you deep into the ancient indigenous forest named after the Western Cape seaside haven.
The trail is in the Garden Route National Park. Proclaimed in 2009, it’s one of South Africa’s newest national parks, and straddles Eastern and Western Cape provinces. It’s home to an amazing variety of habitat – coasts, lakes, wetlands, mountain fynbos and forest.
Usually, only hikers or mountain bikers get to see this part of the Garden Route’s forest, but when you drive the Knysna Forest 4x4 Trail, you’ll get to share in its wonders.
Ancient yellowwood and stinkwood trees rear up out of the undergrowth, ferns cluster on the forest floor and bird calls echo through the thick foliage. Look out for the bright, colourful plumage of the Knysna turaco (AKA loerie) and the Narina trogon.
The trail takes you close to an area where a crashed helicopter lay undetected for 7 years, and then along an old narrow-gauge railway that was used to transporting the timber felled here during previous centuries.
If you take the Hop On option, your guide will tell you about the history of the woodcutters of the area, and how development – and exploitation of the timber – once threatened the ancient forest. If you’re really lucky, you may even spot the elusive, rare Knysna forest elephant.
If you’re driving yourself, don’t worry that the trail will be too hard. It’s challenging, certainly, but not technically difficult.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)44 535 9257
How to get here
The Knysna 4x4 Trail starts at the Garden of Eden on the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
Around the area
Knysna – apart from being famous for delicious oysters – is a great base for exploring the many attractions of the Garden Route region, including bungee jumping and other adrenaline rushes, forest canopy tours, river rafting or canoeing, and whale- or dolphin-watching, both land-based and by boat.
You can hire your own 4-wheel drive vehicle or take a guided tour.
Length of stay
The trail takes 4 to 5 hours for the guided option. If you drive the trail yourself, take as long as you like.
What to eat
A traditional forest meal, similar to a ploughman’s lunch, is served by the local community at their Deep Walls Forest Community Restaurant.
The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place annually in July.