Diepwalle Forest is approximately 24 km’s north of Knysna via the R339 to Uniondale. There are 3 popular hiking routes (which also combine into one longer hiking route) known as the Elephant Walks and are colour coded to distinguish them from each other. The different hiking paths are mostly on flat terrain and a moderate level of fitness is required. Upon arrival you will clearly see the Forest Station where one gets a permit. This area is known to be frequented by the elusive Knysna Elephants. The Diepwalle Forest is also home to the Forest Legends Museum. The Museum tells the story of the hardworking woodcutters which existed many years ago, the once prolific Knysna Elephant and it’s sad demise through hunting and of course the forest itself with its many secrets.
This area is also home to 8 giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees. One in particular is located at the Diepwalle picnic area and is known as the King Edward VII Tree and is a well known landmark and attraction. It is estimated to be over 800 years old.
The 3 different walks on the Elephant Walks are:
Elephant 1 (Black) 9km, easy, circular route, start at forestry station.
Elephant 2 (White) 8km from forest station or 6.5km from Diepwalle picnic site, easy, circular route. This trail offers a beautiful rock pool.
Elephant 3 (Red) 7km, moderate, circular route, start at forestry station.
Garden of Eden:
Easily accessible and located off the national highway that runs between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. The Garden of Eden is part of the Harkerville Forest and is ideal for those who are not that energetic or fit but want to experience the Knysna Forest. There are short circular walks available all on raised wooden walkways. This site first opened in 1926 and offers visitors a beautiful and well established example of a wet HighForest which is considered an unusual forest-type with many tall stinkwoods and other forest trees. Also accessible by wheelchair.
Approximately 25 km’s from Knysna via Rheenendal and easily accessible. There are two walking trails available – one is 8.2 km’s and the other 2.3 km’s and both start at the Krisjan-se-Nek picnic site. There is also an 800 year old Yellowwood Tree here called the Dalene Matthee Big Tree which is 40 meters high. Dalene Matthee is a renowned South African writer and her famous books all take place in and around the Knysna Forest.