Drive through the Knysna Forest
If you’re going to relax somewhere along the Cape South Coast, explore the Knysna Forest for a day with go! Drive & Camp and Bhejane 4x4 Adventures.
HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT
If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be inside the world of Dalene Matthee’s stories, populated with phantom elephants, giant yellowwoods and lush ferns, here’s your chance. SANParks has awarded Bhejane 4x4 Adventures the exclusive rights to do day trips into the inner sanctum of the Knysna Forest.
On this trip you’ll experience the indigenous yellowwoods, stinkwoods, ferns, bushbuck, blue duikers and Knysna turacos. You might even see an elephant.
This isn’t merely a drive-and-sightseeing trip. You will also learn more about the forest’s fauna and flora, Italian settlers who hoped to make their fortune in the silk trade, woodcutters and lost travellers.
We meet at Harkerville, about halfway between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna, just off the N2. Here, the Bhejane crew members explain the day’s events and hand out two-way radios before we take to the tracks through the Diepwalle Forestry Station area.
The first stretch is a gravel road through the forest and our first encounter with real yellowwood, Outeniqua yellowwood, stinkwood, wild elder, ironwood, Cape beech, Cape ash, candlewood...
Then the forest becomes denser and the track narrower. It takes us through tree tunnels so dense they even shut out daylight. The lushest ferns grow among Cape blackwood, rock elder, wild peach and white stinkwood.
When we stop to stretch our legs, we’ll hear the sounds of the 40 resident bird species, including the red-chested cuckoo’s distinctive “Piet-my-vrou” call as well as the Knysna turaco’s “kok-kok-kok-kok”.
We stop in a clearing in the fynbos. It’s on islands such as this that the woodcutters lived in the 1700s and 1800s, from where they penetrated the forest to fell one giant tree after the other. From here, the track becomes even narrower, more winding, and overgrown with ferns.
We end with a lunch prepared by women of the local community at the Diepwalle Forestry Station before everyone drives back to the N2 in their own time. You will leave the forest but you will carry the experience with you forever.