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Essential data

Group size:

Minimum 4 Maximum 12 people. Minimum age 8years.


[3] - Moderate, with few gradients.
Average fitness level required.


5 days 4 nights 60Km

Typical day:

4-6 hours average day covers between 7 and 19 kilometres on beach, rivers and forest paths


Bed & Breakfast and national park cottages.


All meals prepared for you except 1 lunch and 1 dinner at restaurants.

Departure point

Wilderness National Park, main parking site.

Finish point:

Wilderness National Park, main parking site.

Getting there:

Take the N2 to Wilderness

Best time of year

November, December, March, April


In addition to the basic equipment list please view the hiking list and the kayaking list
Trails for Africa Garden route hike and kayak trail
  Take me now!

Beginning in South Africa's Wilderness National Park, this five day coastal trail ends at the Featherbed Nature Reserve after passing through the Goukamma Nature Reserve and is completed with a return steam train journey to Wilderness.

South Africa's Garden Route offers an ideal opportunity for hikers to experience coastal, forest and mountain hiking. The Garden Route Trail is a five day coastal trail meandering from the forests of South Africa's Wilderness National Park to the western head of the Knysna Lagoon. A combination of hiking and canoeing, this partially guided trail will allow you to encounter varied ecotypes of temperate rain forest, wetland, established dunes, pristine beaches, tidal rock pools, and dune forest in three nature conservation areas.

This is a comfortable hike, with your luggage portaged to the evening accommodation. After your days activities you will be able to relax in a combination of guesthouse, cabanas, bush camp and chalet accommodation to enjoy a selection of local seafood, a la carte and traditional cuisine.

Passing through a bird watchers paradise, you have the opportunity of sighting Knysna Loeries, Narina Trogons, Black African Oystercatchers and a variety of kingfishers amongst the 264 species recorded in the area.

Walking through the Temperate Rain and Dune forests you will have the opportunity to see trees such as the magnificent Outeniqua and Real Yellow Woods, Cape Chestnut and Milkwoods.

Two canoe trips will allow you to glide through the tranquility of wetland and forest bird viewing, while walking through the dune forest you will be able to track water mongoose, genet, bushbuck, and Cape Clawless Otter. Along the beaches, dolphins frolicking in the waves will entice you to join them and may even 'follow' you down the beach as the waves lap at your feet. Alternately snorkel in rock pools or search for a memento amongst the stretches of diverse and colourful shells.

Between May and August, there is the opportunity to view whales and possibly hear them as they surface behind the breakers. For the water lovers there are some excellent swimming areas along the stretches of golden secluded beaches with great body surfing at Buffalo Bay.

Price includes:

  • 4 nights Accommodation
  • Wine & SnacksFour breakfasts
  • Three packed lunches
  • Three dinners
  • Bottled water during walk
  • Wine and snacks after walking on days 1 through 4
  • Two canoeing trips
  • Featherbed Nature Reserve tour and lunch
  • Ferry crossing of Knysna Lagoon
  • Steam train ride to Wilderness
  • Daily transport of luggage to evening venue

Price excludes: Full time guide; Dinner on Day 2; Lunch on day 4; All beverages, own supply to be portaged to accommodation.

Optional arrangements

  • Accommodation in Wilderness can be arranged for either the night before the start of the hike or the fifth evening, or both.
  • A sunset beach horse ride in the Goukamma Nature Reserve on third day can be booked. Limited to four persons.
  • Collection and drop off from George Airport
  • Full time guide
  • A three day option of the trail starting in Sedgefield; the itinerary is the same as day 3, 4 and 5 of the five day trail.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: (14.5km) 7km forest walk, 4.5km wetland canoe, 3km walk with views of the lakes and Outeniqua Mountains . The trail starts at the Wilderness Ebb & Flow rest camp and follows the return route of the Kingfisher trail through indigenous forest to the Touw River cascades. After completing the circuit there is a meandering canoe trip along the Serpentine River to the southern shore of Island Lake. Exiting the lake there is a leisurely walk to the evening's accommodation overlooking the sea.

Day 2: (19km) 19km beach walk. On the second day, after breakfast, the walk then descends to the beach via a trail hugging the fossilized sand dune cliffs for a 19km walk along the beach to Myoli. The trail passes rock pools and tracts of washed up sea shells (exploration of rock pools dependent on tide) along remote and secluded golden beaches. 1.5km before reaching your accommodation you cross through the Sedgefield Lagoon (if the mouth is open).

Day 3: (14km) 9km beach walk, 5km Dune forest walk and a Pont crossing. After breakfast you head off for a beach walk before entering the dune forest of the Goukamma Nature Reserve for a guided walk to the Goukamma River. You cross the river by Pont and over night in the Reserves rondavels overlooking the river. Dinner is a traditional Braai and Potjie meal.

Day 4: (9km) 3 hour bird watching canoe trip, 4km river bank and beach walk, 5km beach walk. The day starts with a guided bird watching canoe trip, followed by a riverine and beach stroll to Buffalo Bay for lunch (at clients' expense). To finish off the day there is a 5km beach walk to Brenton on Sea for the opportunity to stroll around the Brenton Butterfly Reserve and watch a spectacular sunset. A sea food meal will round off the day.

Day 5: (6km) Early start, 3km walk, trailer tour, 3km walk, ferry crossing, Steam Train trip. You start the day with a quick walk through Brenton on Sea into the Featherbed Reserve for the guided tour and lunch followed by a ferry crossing of the Knysna lagoon. The trip is completed with a return ride on the Outeniqua Choo-tjoe steam train to Wilderness.

We are not liable for any loss, damage or injury on your side; your travel insurance should include accident, health cover and emergency rescue.

Please Note:Terms and conditions apply. We reserve the right to change prices if necessary.

File images
Typical B&B accommodation
Typical B&B accommodation

Wilderness beach
Wilderness beach

Fresh oysters for lunch
Fresh oysters for lunch

Enjoying a lunch time snack
Enjoying a lunch time snack

Outeniqua Choo Tjoe train
Outeniqua Choo Tjoe train

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