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Article: The 11 best Activities In Wilderness

The 11 best Activities In Wilderness

The 11 best Activities In Wilderness

Wilderness lies just east of the town of George, on the Garden Route. It is home to some of the most diverse and delicate ecosystems in the country and you can move from ocean to lake to mountain in a matter of minutes. The Wilderness area is an incredible display of how abundant nature can be when left to thrive.

 In this blog, we share our insights into the places and activities which make us proud to call Wilderness home. We hope that this list inspires you to visit and explore this magical part of the world, which stole our hearts.



For those who prefer life on the edge, there are several adventure companies in the area offering a wide range of adrenaline-inducing action. Each activity has been curated and is guided by experienced and well-informed Wilderness locals.\


Join Johan Anderson, six-times national hang-gliding champion and national senior instructor, as he and his team of experienced instructors guide you on a wonderful journey of flight in the Wilderness and Sedgefield areas. It is a breath-taking experience to glide above the town of Wilderness and then dip down into the ocean breeze – although not for the faint of heart.


Canyon Adventures provide canyoning experiences in the Kaaimans River gorge. South Africans often call this activity "kloofing". Trips are run in small groups of up to 8 people, but bigger groups can be accommodated on request.

Canyon Adventures offer:

* The Full Canyon Trip with abseiling 

* The River Adventure without the abseil

* The Dry Canyon Trip with the abseil but no swimming or cliff jumping.

 Throughout the day participants will jump off cliffs, glide down gorges, swim through pools and hop over rocks in an immersive natural adventure like no other.

 Your guide will also inform you about the abundant ecosystem that encapsulates the adventure experience. The minimum age is normally 6, but younger adventurers may be permitted. No swimming ability is required. Trips are safe and go ahead in all weather conditions.


Black Horse Trails can be found at the base of the Outeniqua mountain range near Wilderness. Named after the pitch-black Friesian horses, Black Horse Trails have chosen their steeds wisely as these gentle giants are soft-natured and offer beautiful rides.

 The easygoing, majestic horses and the abundant bird and animal life add magic to your memories of riding in the beautiful forests. There is hardly a more beautiful way to explore the world-famous forests of the Garden Route. Amateur riders are welcome and will be provided for according to their ability level.

 Choose from one of the following options:

* 1,5-hour ride into the eucalyptus forest, with a circuit in the plantation before returning home.

* 3-hour ride through the pine plantations into the indigenous forest and on to the waterfall, which is perfect for a swim. This is the most popular ride;

* Special occasion rides - a 3-hour ride to the waterfall, but on this ride only the trail guide and yourselves venture out, as to create an intimate experience. Then enjoy a relaxing time at the waterfall with your party accompanied by crackers and spreads, chocolates & bubbly. Book in advance for this option.

4. Canoeing ( )

Hiring a canoe and cruising the waterways of the area is a very popular all year round activity.  You can hire an affordable canoe from Eden Adventures at their base of operations - Fairy Knowe Hotel on the Touw River.

Eden Adventures specialises in outdoor adventure tours, as well as teambuilding activities and tailor made trips around the Garden Route. They have been running a professional tour operation for over 20 years, so they have the best insider information on what the area has to offer. Their main tours include canoeing, kloofing and abseiling, but for those who would like to explore the area in their own time, Eden Adventures has a range of canoes for hire.

Canoes come equipped with large splash-proof buckets to keep your belongings dry. You can use them to pack cameras, picnics etc. Most daypacks fit inside one of the buckets.

 Canoe routes on the Touw River include:

* The Touw River Waterfall – this is by far the most popular route, involving about 40 minutes (3 km) of paddling through indigenous forest and 40 minutes (2.5 km) of walking on a boardwalk to a waterfall. After spending time at the waterfall, picnicking and swimming, you return in the same way.

* Island Lake – this involves a paddle down the Serpentine River of about 2 hours (3.5 km). This takes you through meandering reedbeds where birdlife is abundant. At Island Lake, there is a picnic site on the left. You return the same way with a round trip of about 5 hours. Although the scenery on this route is less spectacular, it is often good for birdwatching.

* The River Mouth – this is a 30 to 40 minute paddle. The river gets wider towards the mouth and river banks become more developed and populated by plant and animal life.


Expansive and gorgeous, this beach runs along the seemingly endless jagged coast. You won't have to fight for space here – there are little pockets of people with plenty of space in between. Wilderness beach offers kilometres of white sand ideal for long walks, runs, kite flying, picnicking, sunset watching, shell collecting and exercising with your dogs.  

Unspoiled, safe and clean, kids love the open space, looking for sea creatures such as crabs and paddling along the shoreline. The water is cool but not cold. However, it is not safe for swimming because of strong riptides.

The ridges above Wilderness Beach are excellent places for dolphin and whale spotting. Watching the dolphins play in the waves is breathtaking!

The beach runs from north to south. On the rocks to the north, there is abundant birdlife and the rock pools below contain numerous interesting and colourful sea creatures.

There are parking areas on either end that give easy access to the beach. There are lifeguards during the summer season as well as toilets and showers.


Pomodoro is a charming Italian trattoria in the heart of Wilderness Village. It is a place where locals and tourists meet and become friends, a place where true Italian hospitality and a lively atmosphere make you feel right at home.

During the day, the outside terraces offer a front-row seat of the village activities, while at night the interior tables offer the perfect place for romantic candle-lit dinners.

Pomodoro is very serious about the quality of the food served. The pizzas, salads, antipasto, pastas, grills and seafood never fail to satisfy.



Timberlake Village started in 2006. The idea has been to showcase small independent local businesses in a natural outdoor setting. The shops, studios and eateries are all nestled in amongst trees.

 Timberlake supports the Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair - simple, honest food made from quality ingredients. Stop at Pause Coffee Roastery for exceptional coffee, light meals and cake, Zucchini Restaurant for hearty country-style meals, the German Deli for traditional meats and cheeses, and the Oyster Shack for fresh wild coastal oysters and other seafood.

 The Timberlake shops include Wildflower Leather, NAVA Apparel, Oak Barrel Wine Shop, Faerie Gem, Mohair Mill Shop and Sweet Tooth. There are also galleries to stroll through, an exhibit garden art to view and a nursery.

 There are outdoor activities too, including kids jungle gyms, a faerie garden walk and, with Acrobranch, an opportunity for serious fun and adventure in the trees.


The Wilderness National Park is a series of lakes, rivers, estuaries and beaches set against a backdrop of mountains and forest that is hard to beat for sheer breathtaking beauty.

The park is controlled by South African National Parks (SANParks), which is the body responsible for managing South Africa's national parks. The Wilderness National Park includes five rivers, five lakes and 18 km of coastline. The lakes are all connected by the Touw River, a renowned birding area that is home to thousands of water birds.

The park has been awarded Ramsar site status for its wetlands. A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, whose broad aims are to halt the worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve, through wise use and management, those that remain.

Between the lakes are a series of canoeing and hiking trails that wind through the forest and along the rivers' edges, called Kingfisher trails. Many tourists and locals explore these trails in the hopes of spotting one of the five kingfisher species that occur in this unique ecosystem.

The Kingfisher Trails start at the Wilderness National Park near the Touw River bridge. They vary in length from 3.8 km to 10 km.

There are 4 different trails, known as the Half Collared, Giant, Brownhooded and Pied Kingfisher Trails. Each trail allows a different perspective of the beauty of the ecosystems that make up the national park.

* Pied Kingfisher Trail: 10 km, takes about four hours to complete and is a circular and easy walk across the floodplains of the Serpentine River and along the boardwalk to the beach.

* Giant Kingfisher Trail: 7 km, is a more taxing trail than the Pied trail. It follows the east bank of the Touw River through the forest to a waterfall where there is a natural swimming pool.

* Brownhooded Kingfisher Trail: 5 km, follows the Duiwe River to another waterfall.

* Halfcollared Kingfisher Trail:  3,8 km, takes one through indigenous forest on the west bank of the Touw River.

Our tip: don't walk during wet weather as the river tends to flood suddenly


Situated opposite the green lawns of Wilderness common, The Commonage is the best place in Wilderness for a cup of coffee and a catch up with friends. It is also a good place to work with multiple power outlets and good wifi. Being pooch-friendly, it is the ideal place to refresh after dog walking on the common.

 They have the usual range of coffees and many not-coffee caffeine-free drinks such as hot chocolate, red cappuccino, chai latte, pots of tea as well beetroot, turmeric and matcha lattes. 

 They offer many delicious plant-based milk alternatives like almond and oat milk, and sell delectable @princeoftartsofficial treats.

 They have a loyalty programe and sell reusable cork cups and many other locally crafted items.  

 See you at The Commonage!


Serendipity is a fine dining restaurant beautifully situated on the banks of the Wilderness Lagoon. Eating there provides a truly South African interactive gourmet experience.

Rudolf and Lizelle are your hosts. Serendipity provides a five-course dinner from 6.30 pm Mondays to Saturdays. They do not turn tables so you can dine at leisure.

Lizelle, the executive chef, has numerous qualifications and awards including two of the 2019 World Luxury Restaurant Awards, the “Global Winner, South African Cuisine” and the “Country Winner (South Africa)  Fine Dining Cuisine”. 

Lizelle makes use of fresh local ingredients, including wild game such as eland, kudu, springbok and warthog; game birds such as guinea fowl and quail; South African fish such as cob, snoek and red roman; wild-harvested mushrooms and home-grown vegetables and herbs.

Rudolf offers an excellent broad selection of drinks including local cocktails and expertly chosen wines which you can opt to have paired to the menu. The wines are selected from the best vineyards in South Africa with a focused attention on wines that will complement the menu.

The wine list contains a spread of South African grape varieties and a description of each wine. Rudolf and Lizelle have also given each wine a 5-star rating according to their personal opinion of the wine. In addition they give good personal advice, not only on wines that complement the food but also on wines that match your personal preference.

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