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Forest Trails

Text Laurian Brown Garden Editor René Slee Photographs David Ross If you like getting outdoors and exploring local walking trails, there's an abundance of beautiful forests to visit around South Africa. Try these suggestions if you're planning to head out and enjoy some fresh air... GARDEN ROUTE The forests of the southern Cape are now incorporated into the Garden Route National Park. Walks and trails abound, and there are canopy tours and walks with elephants. Accommodation includes camping sites, huts, log cabins, guest houses and treetop chalets. knysnaforesttours.co.za LIMPOPO The Wolkberg mist-belt forests make up the second-largest forest area in South Africa: a place of legends and spirits, with magnificent trees and waterfalls, and reputedly the best forest birding in the country, (birdlife.org). Canopy tours are also available here. mountain-getaways.co.za EASTERN CAPE Head for Hogsback, where diverse walks and trails make the beauty and history of the Amatola forests easily accessible. hogsback.co.za KWAZULU-NATAL This steamy province has the greatest variety of forest types; in addition to the moist, inland Afro-temperate forests there are riverine, coastal, dune, sand and swamp forests, each with its own unique ecosystem. kznwildlife.com WESTERN CAPE Walks and trails (some of them overnight) provide access to Cape Town’s natural forests. One of the most beautiful in Table Mountain National Park is in Orange Kloof in Hout Bay (entry by permit only). Echo Valley and Spes Bona on the mountains above Kalk Bay also contain pockets of Afro-temperate forest. There are boardwalks here to protect root systems and promote sapling growth. sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain

USEFUL INFORMATION

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES For detailed information on South African forests, including management, regulations, biodiversity and recreation facilities, daff.gov.za. SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS For information on SA National Parks (SAN Parks) and accommodation, guided walks, hiking, bird-watching, etc, sanparks.org. This article was originally featured in the June 2010 issue of House and Leisure. You can read more about South Africa's beautiful forests here.