The small seaside town of Wilderness stands at the base of the Kaaimans Pass, a few minutes’ drive from George. The town and surrounding area are relatively unspoilt.
Although neighbourhoods stretch along both sides of the N2 for a good few kilometres, development has been kept to a minimum and there is more natural environment visible than brick and mortar.
There are two main reasons people visit here: the superb beaches and the Wilderness National Park (now part of the Garden Route National Park).
Its main features are its Serpentine Channel and forest-shrouded mountain slopes. Together they give the outdoor enthusiast a varied choice of activities, all in close proximity to each other.
Wilderness has the varied bodies of water in its vicinity, not least of which is the Touw River Estuary. This narrow stretch of tranquil water is central to the town’s leafy neighbourhoods. Wilderness is also the western gateway to the ‘lakes district’, which stretches eastwards to beyond Sedgefield.
Because of the combination of sea, lagoon, river and lake, the variety of water sports and leisure activities is extensive. The abundance of water and the wetlands that flank it supports a large percentage of water bird species. So, if you’re crazy about the great outdoors, Wilderness is definitely a destination to consider.
Look out for
Hiking - this is probably the most popular activity in the Wilderness National Park. There is a network of 5 superb trails ranging from 4km to 10km in length. They take in river, lake and forest scenery. Pick up a pocket guide from the parks offices at the Ebb and Flow rest camp.
Birding - with 230 species, birdwatching is excellent, especially along the Touw River, Serpentine Channel and the shores of the lakes with their reed beds. Part of the park is a designated RAMSAR site and there are 3 bird hides - at Rondevlei, Langvlei and on the Touw River.
Canoeing - some popular routes include a slow paddle along the Serpentine Channel to Island Lake and back. You can also go down to the mouth of the Touw River. To hire canoes and find out more information about guided canoe tours contact Eden Adventures.
Eden Adventures - Is situated in the day visitor area next to the Ebb and Flow campsite in Wilderness National Park. It offers a range of activities, including an abseil alongside a waterfall, kloofing, and half- and whole-day tours. Canoes can also be hired.
Map of Africa viewpoint – above Wilderness, this looks down onto the Kaaimans River as it winds amongst the hills in a pattern the resembles the shape of the southern half of the African continent.
Cloudbase Paragliding – if it’s an adrenalin rush you’re after, this operator offers tandem flights from one of the country’s best launch sites. This high above Wilderness near the Map of Africa viewpoint.