The long, languid days of a Garden Route summer are truly sublime and when it comes to finding places to bask in the rays of a perfect summer’s day, we are definitely spoilt for choice.
This summer, make a plan to get to Drupkelders (literally meaning Dripping Cellars), a real gem in the Goudveld Forest near Rheenendal. To reach it, take a winding forest trail, where thousands of indigenous forest species rise up from a fertile landscape, forever reaching for the light. All sorts of forest fungi, brackets fungi, ferns and moss in countless forms and colours can be seen in the moist undergrowth of this forest.
Bird lovers will be in heaven here. Listen out for the call of the Knysna Touraco (Loerie), the rare Knysna Woodpecker or the gurgle of the Black-headed Oriole. It seems the mornings are best for forest bird chatter, so be sure to get there early.
The forest path eventually starts its rather steep descent toward the Homtini River Valley. Here you will be greeted by the murmur of rushing water. Finally, after about a 40 minute walk, the forest opens up to reveal a beautiful riverscape; a tannin coloured river that has carved its way over millennia through a valley of forest and sandstone, with a series of magnificent rock pools, boulders and waterfalls. It is the ideal place to picnic, swim and linger on a summer’s day.
This spot is actually named after the various stalagmites that can be seen in the ‘cellar’ on the banks of the river, a rock overhang where the water has percolated through the sandstone over thousands of years. A stalagmite is a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave due to the accumulation of material deposited on the floor from ceiling drippings.
One of the alluring aspects of Drupkelders, is that due to the ecological sensitivity of this area it is open to only 12 people at a time, providing a genuine respite from the maddening summer crowds. This is a must-do local summer activity.
Distance: 3.6km in total
Difficulty: Moderate, quite a steep walk back.
Permits/Costs: R22pp for adults and R12pp for children under the age of 13. A permit must be obtained from the access gate at the Goudveld Entrance boom. You will turn left at this boom on your way to Drupkelders. You can also obtain a permit from the SANParks office on Thesen Island, Knysna.
Thesen Island Office - 044 302 5600
Goudveld Entrance - 044 356 9021