Knysna Travel Guide
Harkerville Trail. The two-day, 26-km (16-mile) 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. There's also no electricity. The trail costs R195 per person. Off N2, 15 km (9 miles) east of Knysna, Knysna, 6570. 044/532–5606. www.sanparks.org.SANParks (044/302–5600.).
Garden of Eden. 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 8–5 and on weekends 8–6, and entry is R12 per person. Off N2 between Plett and Knysna, Knysna. 044/532–7770. www.sanparks.org.SANParks (044/302–5600.).
Diepwalle Elephant Walk. This lovely trail takes you deep into the indigenous forest. The full trail is about 20 km (12 miles) long and should take around six to seven hours. For those who don't have a whole day to spare, there are three color-coded shorter routes of 9 km (5½ miles), 7 km (4½ miles), and 6½ km (4 miles). These should take between two and four hours. Day hikes cost R20. Off N2, Uniondale Rd., Diepwalle Forest Estate, 24 km (15 miles) east of Knysna, Knysna, 6570. 044/382–9762/3.SANParks (044/302–5600.).
Knysna Forest Tours. If you don't fancy heading off into the forest on your own, take a guided walk or even a trail run through the area with Knysna Forest Tours. Prices start at R350 for a trail run while a full day outing, including lunch, will cost R950. The parent company, Tony Cook Adventures, also offers surfing, kiteboarding, standup paddle boarding, and sea and river kayaking trips. Thesen Island, Knysna. 082/783–8392. www.knysnaforesttours.co.za.