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Our recent trip to the Western Cape Region of South Africa showed us that the “Garden Route” isn’t just one leisurely stretch of road. It is hours and kilometers of some of the most scenic and changing landscape you can dare to come across. The sheer variety of fields, forests, mountains, capes, lagoons and lakes can make for a whole book of outdoors experiences, but we just want to highlight one that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Terblans is just one route among many in the Indigenous forests that surround the scenic town of Knysna, South Africa. The trail can be reached by driving around 10km from the town center of Knysna. The roads are mostly unpaved, but in good working order and a fair number of locals and tourists will be found along the backroads and paths.
Follow the Old Cape Road out of Knysna’s main street to the area called Gouna. This untouched and thick forest will simply amaze you and the silence is mystical. Along the way, just a slight turn off the dirt road check out an old Italian immigrant Church called San Ambroso for a jaunt into local history. Follow signs for Grootdraai picnic site and Terblans. Once at the picnic site there is parking available.
Terblans is a moderate difficulty trail as it ranges between up and downhill walks. At no point is there any complicated climbing, but hikers should be in good enough shape to walk the 6.5km loop which has no shortcuts back to the start. The Outeniqua trail intersects twice but this is a much longer path to hike. At intersections look for the spray painted yellow sign with a black bush pig, the symbol of the trail.The trail starts with a downhill stretch, at which you will cross over a refreshing stream and begin an upward climb.The main stretch of the hike will be alongside forested hills. You will intersect with the dirt road towards the end of the trail, follow it back to the parking spot to finish the hike.
For safety once on the 6.5km trail:
Be sure and have a good map, they can be found at tourism centers and from hotels.
Fill out a self issued permit at the start of the trail, keep a copy and leave one, it could save your life if you got lost.
Leave details about your intent to hike with friends, family or a hotel, this trail is not insurmountable, but the forest is thick and a mistaken turn could get you spun around.