Hiking in Knysna
The two-day Harkerville Trail passes through the indigenous forests, pine plantations, and "islands" of fynbos, as well as fairly taxing sections on the coast. (This is not a beginner's trail.) Homesick Californians can hug a familiar tree in a small stand of huge redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), planted as part of a forestry experiment years ago. Overnight accommodation is in a hut with beds and mattresses, water, and firewood, but you'll need to bring your own bedding and food provisions. The trail costs R100 per person. N2, 15 km [9 mi] east of Knysna, Knysna, 6570. For more information, contact SANParks. 044/302–5600.
If you'd like to sample the Harkerville Forest but don't want to commit to a strenuous, two-day hike, try the easy stroll in the Garden of Eden. The short trail goes into the forest on a wheelchair-friendly wooden boardwalk. You'll see some big old trees, plus tables where you can picnic. The kiosk at the Garden of Eden is open daily 7:30–4, and entry is R6 per person. Contact SANParks for more information. 044/302–5600.
Diepwalle Elephant Walk is a lovely forest walk that's about 20 km (12 mi) long. It takes six to seven hours to walk but has been split up into three shorter routes of about two to three hours each. Entrance is free, except on school holidays when it is R14. Off N2, Uniondale Road, Diepwalle Forest Estate, 24 km [15 mi] east of Knysna, Knysna, 6570. For more information, contact SANParks. 044/302–5600.
If you don't fancy heading off on your own, take a guided walk through the area with Knysna Forest Tours. Prices are about R350 for a half day and R450 for a full day including lunch. 044/382–6130. www.knysnaforesttours.co.za.