Every week Knysna & Partners highlights activities which can be enjoyed in the Greater Knysna area, from wild (sometimes adrenaline-fuelling) pursuits to milder, more relaxing options.
Mild Adventure - Historical Millwood Goldmine Tour
This is a popular tour on the renowned Rheenendal Ramble tourist route led by accredited and extremely knowledgeable tour guide, Andrew Aikman. His captivating tales of the past will take you back in time to a short- lived period in Knysna’s history, when the area was in the grips of man’s relentless thirst for gold. The gold rush lasted a little more than a decade due to the fact that gold was not found in large enough quantities to sustain the large number of miners.
The first stop on the tour is a visit to Mother Holly’s, one of the last remaining buildings of this gold mining boom. It houses a tea garden and a museum which contains fascinating relics of the past, not only of the mining era but also of the timber industry that is so deeply ingrained in our history. The tour includes visits to two abandoned mines shafts, including the well-known Bendigo Mine, one of the mines in the area bearing reef gold. Walking through these dark, damp chambers blasted out of hard bedrock, one can only imagine the gruelling life of these hopeful miners.
End off with a lunch at Totties Farm Kitchen, where you will find the most sublime salads and one of the best burgers in all of the Garden Route.
• Gold Mine Day Trip (Thursdays from 09h00) - Jubliee Creek Gold Mine Walk, Lunch @ Mother Holly’s, Gold Mine Tour, High Tea at Totties Farm Kitchen @ R950 per adult
• Mine and Bike Day Trip (Friday’s from 10h00) – Mine Tour, Refreshments at Mother Holly’s, 1hr20min cycle through indigenous forest and fynbos, lunch at Totties Farm Kitchen @ R950 per adult.
• Standard Goldmine Tour (Wed – Sunday: 10h00, 12h00,14h00) @ R200 per adult
• Combo Deal (Sunday’s from 10h00) – Gold Mine Tour, Buffet Luncheon @ Totties Farm Kitchen @R325 per person.
Bookings essential via Totties Farm Kitchen 074 228 4103/ 044 389 0092
Wild Adventure - Bush Pig Trail
This 6,5km circular route weaves through several diverse habitats and incorporates many of the Goukamma Nature Reserve's best natural attributes. You will have to first pull your way across the width of the Goukamma River on a little winch boat to get to the start of the trail on the other side. Immediately the pathway ascends, and eventually affords hikers with all-encompassing views of the Goukamma River Valley, the estuary and Indian Ocean to the south and the distant Outeniqua Mountains to the north. The route takes two to three hours, depending on your pace and how often you stop to drink in the sublime scenery.
The trail traverses one of South Africa’s highest and most extensive dune fields, where a large variety of both fynbos and forest species prosper. Initially, the landscape is dominated by particularly large white bristle bushes (Metalasia muricata), also known as Blombos, which are crowned with sprays of white flowers that infuse the air with their honey-like scent. The trail ascends further upward and extends westward along a fynbos covered ridge for some time. Suddenly the vegetation shifts, veering into the cooler, lush tracts where coastal dune forest is rooted in abundance.
Nearing the end of the trail, there is an option to take a right turn towards the beach, were you can sit and enjoy the untainted shoreline of the reserve, which extends for 14km in length. Then it is just a short walk back to the river, where you need to pull yourself across once again to the other side where you can enjoy a picnic on the edge of the river bank. A swim in the pure, tanin-tinted river is an absolute must and the best way to end off this amazing hike!