Wilderness wandering

2013-06-04 10:57

Sitting on Wilderness' wide and wonderful beach it's easy to imagine yourself as a wayward Max - complete with wolf suit and paper crown - on the brink of exploring the undiscovered world of the Wild Things. To your left and to your right, the beach reaches out into misty oblivion, while behind you steep cliffs keep mundane holiday houses from encroaching on your fantasy world, and straight ahead the Indian Ocean sighs, then thunders, teeming with undercurrents, rip tides and all sorts of incredible life.

A setting, I'm sure you would agree, unmatchable in its explosive potential for adventure... and as if it knows what is expected, Wilderness does well to deliver on some of the most ‘wanderous' goods.

We take a look at five excellent excursions to experience while visiting the area.

1. Paragliding

Whether you would like to see the world from above with the wind rushing through your hair and your limbs weightlessly free just once or want to make it a spanking new hobby, Wilderness and neighbouring town, Sedgefield, are definitely South Africa's prime destinations for unforgettable paragliding experiences.

And the best way to do it? With Joerg Bueble and Lucille Weyers from FlyTime Paragliding as your devoted guides. Joerg is a highly experienced paraglider who patiently, yet firmly, offers his expertise in both once-off tandem flights and extensive paragliding courses.
Opting for a tandem flight will cost you about R 450.00, a 1 day intro course R900, a basic license course R7000.00 and a full sports license depends on the applicant's skills.

2. Map of Africa

Incidentally, quite the paragliding hot spot, but also a view to admire from solid ground, Map of Africa is one of those otherworldly places that will take your breath away at first glance.

Driving through the picturesque village of Wilderness, up a steep and curvaceous mountain pass, through stunning scenes of nature meeting agriculture, you will finally come upon a little bench, a sign and bathed in a golden glow - a cliff face in the shape of our gorgeous continent.

If you're taking it in from terra firma, why not take a walk along the gravel road and discover what else this hidden part of Wilderness has on offer?

3. Camping & Rowing

Spend your holiday as close to nature as possible by pitching a tent in SANParks' shady and sheltered Ebb and Flow rest camp. Located right by the rushing Touw river, it's the perfect place from which to launch a canoe and let the stream take you where it will. While floating along the river, keep your eyes peeled for the array of spectacular bird species or the splash of a shy otter.

If you don't have a canoe of your own, the good news is that Eden Adventures is located just downstream from the Ebb and Flow rest camp and offers canoe rentals.

4. Hiking

Whether you want to get the blood really pumping or just go for a light stroll, this part of the Garden Route is rife with all sorts of intriguing hiking trails.

In the vicinity of Ebb and Flow there are three particularly relaxing routes to try out: The Half Collared Kingfisher, the Brownhooded Kingfisher and the Pied Kingfisher.

The Half Collared route starts next to the railway bridge and takes you on a 7,2 km (3 - 4 hour) meander through the stunning Wilderness woodlands. The Brownhooded route is slightly shorter at 5 km and follows the course of the nearby Duiwe river. If a longer walk is what you're after, opt for the 11.5 km circular Pied Kingfisher route. It will take you through the forest, along the river and right onto the beach.

5. Kloofing

Nestled between two strong and steady rivers - the Kaaiman and the Touw - it's no wonder that Wilderness is famous for its kloofs and gorges.

Eden Adventures offers a choice of two guided trips: the half day Cappuccino Canyon (Kaaimanskloof) or the more extreme Eden Alley. Cappuccino Canyon is a fun excursion that includes boulder climbing, pool swimming and a few optional jumped for the really brave. It's the perfect option for beginners or families with kids.

Eden Alley is a whole different kettle of fish, as it takes one through a few claustrophobically narrow gorges (some of them are 1 meter wide and 80 meters deep!), and down four fantastic, but fearsome waterfalls - once you've made it down the first one, there's no turning back! Obviously this is the perfect option for experienced thrill seekers, and no under 12s are allowed.

Read more on:    weekend escapes  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle

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