Earth : Africa : Southern Africa : South Africa : Western Cape : Garden Route : Wilderness
Wilderness is a coastal village situated in the Western Cape province in South Africa. It is set between the Kaaimans River and the Goukama Nature Reserve in the heart of the Garden Route, bordered by the Outeniqua Mountains and swept by the Indian Ocean. Renowned for its tranquil sea, seemingly endless beaches and natural lakes and lagoons, Wilderness has become a sought after international holiday resort. This charming paradise is a great spot for water-sport enthusiasts, but also offers a fantastic wildlife variety, particularly birds, and is the ideal location from which to enjoy rejuvenating hikes, hang-gliding, paragliding, horse-riding, or leisurely scenic drives. Wilderness is also home of many craftsmen and women in the area, whose work is for sale on monthly craft markets. Just outside Wilderness, two breathtaking viewing points offer magnificent views of the ocean for miles – namely the ‘Map of Africa Viewpoint’ and ‘Dolphin Point’. A photographic hotspot is the Kaaimans River Bridge, over which the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train passes on its journey between George and Knysna.
The train that runs between George and Knysna via Wilderness is known as the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, and is the last-remaining scheduled steam-hauled train service in South Africa. It is a not-to-be-missed experience ; the scenery along the route is stupendous, and includes the Kaaimans River bridge (the most-photographed railway bridge in the world) and the bridge over the Knysna lagoon.
Unfortunately, due to heavy rainfall and flooding in 2006, this train service has been suspended until further notice.
If you are staying in the village, it is an easy walk to the beach going underneath the train tracks. It's definitely easier to get around either by bike or by car. The nearest car rental is in George.
Dolphins Point - halfway up the Kaaimans there is a lookout point that offers great views of the coastline.
The Ocean - there are many public access points to the beach.
The Serpentine River viewpoint - on your way up to Hoekwil, stop and admire the view.
Map of Africa - driving through the village up to the old George Road, follow the sinage to the Map of Africa. It's a viewpoint close to where the paragliders launch and shows a beautiful view of the river valley that looks like the coastline of Africa.
Paraglide - there are many local companies that offer tandem jumps.
Surf - local surf stop Steps is always a hit, and world renowned Vic Bay is a short hike over the train tracks.
Canoe - rent a canoo and paddle up the Kaaimans or the Touw river.
Swim - the beaches are beautiful, but be careful of the currents.
Ample accommodation exists in Wilderness, but it can get full during season.