South Africa

Exploring the indigenous woodlands in Goudveld Forest, South Africa

Towering trees, dense green foliage, moss covered forest floors and the famous giant Outeniqua yellowwoods draped in Old Man’s Beard are just some of the majestic sights found in South Africa’s indigenous forests.  Sadly there are only a few pockets of these indigenous forests left and Goudveld Forest, near Knysna, is one of them.  The Goudveld Forest is part of the mosaic of protected areas that make up the Garden Route National Park.  It offers the visitor the chance to explore these ancient environments and is a haven for walkers, birdwatchers and cyclists.  It is a unique place and there is a magical feeling to be surrounded by the three metre high ferns, giant yellowwood and ancient ironwoods that are home to the red-billed wood hoopoe, baboons, bush pigs, porcupines, bushbuck and the famous emerald green Knysna Loerie.

There are some excellent walks here, some of which are self-South Africa walksguided.  The 9 km Circles in the Forest walk is entirely in indigenous forest.  Starting and ending at Krisjan-se-Kek picnic site, which is known for its spectacular 800 year-old Outeniqua yellowwood tree.  This circular trail is a well marked and follows small tracks that wind their way through the old growth forest eventually leading to an old mining path that goes along the bank of Forest Creek and back to Krisjan-se-Kek.  There picnic sites, mountain biking trails and several others walks in the area: including the Jubilee Creek walk and Milkwood Mining Walk.  The Milkwood Walk has beautiful views over the Milkwood Nature Reserve and across to the Outeniqua Mountains, which can be seen in the distance.

For those looking for a challenge there is the outstanding Outeniqua hiking trail.  This trail can be done as a series of day walks or as a full seven day hike staying in rustic huts along the way.  The trail starts in Beervlei near George, passes through Goudveld and ends at Harkerville in the East between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

We loved Goudveld Forest and if you have discovered any other special places or things to do in Goudveld Forest and would like to share them please do so using the comments section below.

Getting there:

Goudveld State Forest is only around 30km (19 miles) from Knysna.  From Knysna take the N2 towards George, about 8km out take the Rheenendal turnoff to the right. Follow this road for 12.6km and take the Bibby’s Hoek / Millwood Gold Fields turnoff to the right (becomes gravel just after the turn).

Useful links:

To have a glimpse at some of the other fantastic things we saw in South Africa click here for spectacular views along the Garden Route coast and here for views and the big 5 in Kruger National Park and here for wildlife in Sabi Sands.

If you are thinking of going to safari in South Africa click here to read about staying in Lebombo in Kruger National Park and here for our blog about Sabi Sands.

Goudveld State Forest Indigenous forest walk