Join one of the walking trails or paddle along a meandering river in Wilderness National Park, a compact, stunning section of the wider Garden Route region. Located just outside the town of the same name, this park is famed for its waterways and as an internationally significant haven for wildlife. Visit here for birdwatching opportunities, stunning lake scenery and adventure sports thrills.
Rent a canoe or kayak from one of the adventure sports operators in the park and paddle along its many rivers and lakes. Follow the narrow meanders of the Serpentine River toward a series of four lakes or head northward up the wider Touws River through the hills. Island Lake is popular for waterskiing.
Put on a pair of walking boots and head out onto one of the many hiking trails through the region. The Half-collared Kingfisher Trail takes about 3 or 4 hours and follows the banks of the Touw River. Trek along the trail until you reach a waterfall, then cross over to return on the other side of river. The Pied Kingfisher Trail is a little longer and traces a circular route around the Serpentine.
Bring binoculars and look for rare birdlife that lives in the park. The Knysna loerie is an endemic species that thrives in these protected wetlands. Try to spot fish eagles, blacksmith plovers and cormorants.
Appreciate, also, the brightly colored shrubland known as fynbos, which is remarkable for its biodiversity. The endangered Knysna seahorse also lives in the lakes here.
Brave some extreme sports in the peaks of the park. Adventure sports operators run abseiling and canyoning trips into Wilderness National Park, for a thrilling way of experiencing the scenery. Take windsurfing lessons on one of the lakes or ride an off-road Segway through the woodland.
Wilderness National Park begins on the edge of the resort town of Wilderness. Drive to one of the campsites or adventure centers and use their metered parking. Pack sturdy footwear and plenty of water for your trip to the park.