I often speak about hiking in the Garden Route, mostly because it is one of the most picturesque places to hike in. Day rambles, or even a couple of hours are quite doable in the area, just pop into a SANParks Office and collect a brochure of the region, it’s that simple.
The walk I do most is Jubilee Creek, as it is my absolute favourite and more often than not I find myself wandering with a camera in hand and inspecting the trees, ferns and other little features the forest has to offer. The calming effect of this wandering about seems to clear your head and your mind seems less busy in these dense green spaces.
Besides that, I indulge in the fresh air and drink water from the coca cola coloured streams along the way. The treat under foot on the soft rich earth always seem to smell the best in the early mornings and the leaves glisten with pearl drops of moister captured in the breaking dawn. The Black Witch Hazel gathers and stores most of this moisture and they seem to burst of liveliness as they slowly disperse their fluid onto the forest floor that feed the roots of the trees and other plants in need of water.
Not only is Jubilee Creek a beautiful forest hike but it is filled with history of a bit more than a century and a half ago. Reminiscence of the gold mining era can be witnessed along the way and you can’t help wondering what happened here in the forest all those year ago, but in time the forest has reclaimed its earth and filled it with a wealth of its own.
The path cuts into the forest along a creek and the constant bubbling of water and birds are the only sounds that can be heard in and among the shrubs and branches.
The 2.4 km section of the Outeniqua Hiking Trail ends up near a forest waterfall where you can cool down and relax for a while. Often, we remove our shoes and plonk our feet in the crisp cool water of this pool while admiring the surroundings of indigenous trees and lush ferns. The route doubles up on itself and you usually see things in a slightly different way when heading back. The sun breaking through the trees scattering its rays about the timber and florae is a feature that only the forest knows how to do well. The hike ends at a picnic spot next to the creek and is perfect if you wish to stay and indulge a bit longer in the forest environment.
So next time you are out and about in Knysna, head to Bibby’s Hoek on the foot hold of the Outeniqua Mountains for an exploration into the Goudveld Forest and discover why this area is loved so much and why many of the mysteries of the region are located here among the trees.
To read more of Rose’s adventures and explorations, check out her blog Gotravelbug.