The Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) has just scooped the Park of the Year Award - and after a short stay at Ebb and Flow rest camp, I can fully understand why.
The Garden Route is road-trip central at this time of year.
If you're hitting the N2 stretching along what can easily be described as one of SA's most picturesque spots - you're in for a chilled ride. Sure, there are ongoing roadworks with the odd stop-go in place, but there is solid traffic control presence on the roads, which is good to note. Turning the bend after the stretch between Mossel Bay and George, you're treated to the tiny tract known as the Wilderness.
All along these spots serve up heavenly scents of Fynbos and Buchu - together with remarkable Indian Ocean views and dramatically, verdant Afromontane, lined with delicate Yellowwood branch lacing and Cape Chestnut blossoms.
The Garden Route gem of Wilderness Ebb and Flow is packed with day-trip activities offering natural highs, along with the comfiest rest camp to retreat to when you're needing to recharge. If you're planning to road-trip this part of the Garden Route - this is my suggested itinerary for you to try:
Pit stops to make before checking into the Wilderness Ebb and Flow Rest Camp:
- Take a quick tour of the Dias Museum and the Post Office Tree in Mossel Bay
Entry is R40 for adults and R20 for children. There is an extra fee if you want to take a peak on board the replica boat build in Lisbon to commemorate the explorer discovery route.
- Stock up on fresh snacks at the Redberry Farm just outside George
There are plenty of activities too, like strawberry picking, maize running and paddle boating to choose from. Strawberry picking is R25 - R40.
Take the short gravel road leading up to this super popular viewpoint, just before you reach Wilderness central. Keep an eye out for the unique fauna in the area too.
READ: 21+ Family-fun things to do on a budget in the Garden Route
Staying at Wilderness Rest Camp:
This accommodation offering is varied with budget stays in rondavels (some are equipped with their own shower and toilet, others have a communal ablution block).
They also have camping and caravan sites with power points for all your outdoor gadgets and gear. Glampers can opt for a stay in one of the forest cabins or the wheelchair friendly cottages. Click here for pricing.
The self-catering cabins and cottages are serviced daily. There are also coin-operated washing machines and tumble dryers are available at the Ebb & Flow Rest Camp.
This rest camp is geared towards those who love the outdoor life - so come prepared to explore and spend ample time out in the beautiful trails and rivers surrounding Ebb and Flow. But there is also plenty of opportunity to just chill out too.
- Bathing, rowing, fishing, at Wilderness beach, the Touw River and some of the lakes
- Water-skiing is restricted to Island Lake and Swartvlei
- Volleyball and basket ball
- Bird hides at Langvlei and Rondevlei
There are five trails all located in the National Park, all with varying distances and degrees of difficulty. My family and I tried the Giant Kingfisher Trail - the only one ending at a waterfall spot ideal for a picnic.
It is a three to four hour round-trip walk of about 7kms. Its paths are well-maintained with boardwalks and signage. There is also a self-pull pontoon crossing, which makes it extra exciting. Kids of moderate fitness shouldn't have a problem with this - but pack enough water and snacks though.
Start at the Ebb & Flow Rest Camp (Wilderness Section) and canoe the winding Touw River, which leads to Wilderness beach or gently canoe on the Wilderness Lagoon.
Fishing is allowed in the following sections of Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park - Leentjiesklip, Kleinkrans, Sandhoogte, Swartvlei, Eilandvlei, and Gericke’s Point.
Due to the many different ecosystems within the park ranging from the indigenous forest to the rocky shore, Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park has become a bird paradise.
If you want to get a good sense of the full Touws River all the way up to the estuary, take an hour-long eco-boat trip with Wilderness River Safaris. They switch to an electric engine to decrease noise pollution in restricted parts of the National Park. Tel:082 4409807 or email: email@example.com
Important things to note:
There is no shop or ATM available at the rest camp, so stock up on suppliers before you check-in. The closest restaurants are also located in Wilderness - these include The Girls on the Square or Pomodoro for really good Italian fare.
You will need to carry your permit with you at all times - those with Wild Cards qualify for reduced rates - click here for more info.
READ: New tariffs announced for picture-perfect Garden Route National Park
*Disclaimer: Traveller24 Editor Selene Brophy was hosted by SANParks for her stay at Wilderness Ebb and Flow rest camp.
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