THIS WEEK­END

Stay in a for­est, hike at Hennops Trails, find a quiet beach and play in Port Ed­ward.

go! - - Vlaggie - – Pierre Steyn

WOOD­LANDS, RHEE­NEN­DAL

Knysna, with its iconic la­goon and the Heads that guard the la­goon mouth, is prob­a­bly the Gar­den Route’s big­gest tourist mag­net. But there’s a strong case to be made for sidestep­ping the busy town cen­tre and book­ing your next stay in a nearby patch of indige­nous for­est. Turn off the N2 onto the Rhee­nen­dal Road (about 8 km west of Knysna) and you’ll find lots of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions that are no more than 15 min­utes from town. One of the best is Wood­lands: four taste­fully dec­o­rated self-ca­ter­ing units on the edge of a val­ley full of trees. Stinkwood, red alder, white alder, iron­wood, Cape beech and ten­fold other indige­nous species. Each unit has a pri­vate deck where you can watch the sun set over the for­est. Look out for Knysna tu­ra­cos flash­ing in the canopy be­low you. Wood­lands is an ex­cel­lent home base if you want to ex­plore the Gar­den Route Na­tional Park or Knysna and all its at­trac­tions. Ev­ery unit has a fully fit­ted kitchen with a gas stove, an elec­tric oven, a mi­crowave and a fridge, as well as a TV with DStv. There’s a braai at­tached to the deck. ( You have to use char­coal be­cause of the fire risk.) There are two dou­ble units and two big­ger fam­ily units – each of the fam­ily units has two bed­rooms and an open-plan lounge. Where can I walk? Wood­lands has its own hik­ing trail that winds through the for­est down into the val­ley, where you walk over a small sus­pen­sion bridge across a stream. You might see a bush­buck or a por­cu­pine on this 40-minute walk, and you’ll def­i­nitely see (and hear) the vervet mon­keys eye-balling you through the leaves. What else? There’s a cute play­ground in the gar­den for the young­sters. If you’ve booked more than one unit, or all of them, you might want to en­ter­tain around the fire pit in the gar­den where there’s also a big com­mu­nal ta­ble. Rates: R980 – R1 350 for two peo­ple shar­ing in a dou­ble unit (depend­ing on the sea­son); R1 650 – R2 150 for four peo­ple shar­ing a fam­ily unit. Chil­dren younger than three stay for free. Where? Once you’ve turned off the N2 and onto the Rhee­nen­dal Road, drive for 7,5 km and you’ll find Wood­lands on your left. Con­tact: 0762875201; wood­land­sknysna.co.za

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