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.

Go! Camp & Drive - - MY WHEELS -

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.

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