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There are few things in life as rewarding as setting off on a walk into the wilderness. The Greater Knysna areas are blessed with vast tracts of untamed forest through which a variety of incredible trails have been blazed. These are diverse in nature; some are tame, easy ambles, whilst others are wilder and more physically and mentally challenging. There are certainly trails in and around Knysna to suit everybody’s taste and fitness levels.


One of the concerns hikers sometimes face is the lack of detailed information about certain of these trails, which results in some people somewhat reluctant to tackle them. This is where accredited Green Flag Trails are so useful. These trails give potential hikers all the information essential to making an informed decision before setting out. Green Flag Trails essentially strive to offer the hiker the best possible hiking experiences possible.


Green Flag Trails is a system that recognizes hikes in South Africa that meet minimum standards in terms of trail outlay, accommodation, facilities and service and safety. Perhaps the most important prerequisite for being accredited as a Green Flag Trail is that the trails and their associated facilities have to be managed in an environmentally responsible way, thus ensuring the conservation of our natural resources in the future.


Two of Knysna’s most celebrated trails, the Perdekop and the Olifant Trails received this Green Flag Status and for good reason. They fall within an area of astounding beauty, have high conservation value and promise hikers the best facets the forest has to offer with both safety and good facilities.


The beautiful Perdekop Hiking Trail is situated in Harkerville, between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna and well-known for its dense, cool, mystical Southern Afro-temperate montane forests. Here hikers can enjoy cola-coloured streams and all the vast array of species typical of these forest eco-systems. Included are some age old forest goliaths such as Cape Ash and yellowwood. This relatively easy, circular trail starts and ends at the SANParks Harkerville office and can be completed in between 3 and four hours at an unhurried pace. The direction of the horse’s muzzle shows you the way to go.

Classification: 1 day circular trail
Environmental character: Pristine
Accommodation: No accommodation
Facilities and safety: Good (heed flood warnings)
Environmental Education: Standard information along the trail.
Difficulty Rating: Easy

 

The Elephant/Olifant Day Walk is situated in the Garden Route National Park’s (GRNP) Diepwalle Forest of the Knysna Section. Named after the Knysna Elephant which once roamed these forests, the trail comprises three routes: the Black route (9km), White Route (7km) and Red Route (6.5 km). Only the Red trail has been Green Flag accreditation, but the other trails are similar in stature. This hike takes you through a classic example of Afro-montane forest; very dense and pristine with a very high moisture content. In some parts the canopy is so dense that the sun is unable to penetrate, making it wet and cool.


The trail starts at the SANParks Diepwalle forestry offices where hikers are given information pertaining to the trail, such as distance, layout and interesting aspects surrounding the fauna and flora found in and around the trail.

Classification: 1 day circular trail
Environmental character: Pristine
Accommodation: No accommodation
Facilities and safety: Good (heed flood warnings)
Difficulty Rating: Easy

For more information about the Green Flag Trails visit: www.greenflagtrails.co.za

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