Loves and life on the Garden Route in South Africa

Through the eyes of volunteer coordinator and crazy cat lady, Sharon

The Big Tree and walks in Wilderness on the Garden Route in South Africa September 22, 2014

The Big Tree & Forest Walk in Wilderness

by Desiree Haakonsen on 31 July, 2014 · 0 comments

Post image for The Big Tree & Forest Walk in WildernessMy kids and I are often off on mystical adventures with fairies, dragon birds, and giant grasshopper people. Fairy tales, nature, and creative play are a big part of our life, so we couldn’t pass up an outing to the Big Tree during our holiday in Wilderness.

The Woodville Big Tree is a giant old Outeniqua Yellowwood that has become an icon and popular attraction in the indigenous forests of Wilderness. Although it seems to have shrunk in the 20 years since I last visited it (oh the physics of age), its large crown is still a favourite nesting spot and its fruit is enjoyed by bats, bush pigs, and birds like the Knysna Turaco and Cape Parrot. Although Yellowwood is still used for furniture and construction, it is a protected tree under the National Forest Act.

Woodville-Big-Tree-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

Big Tree stats

Age: Over 800 years old

Height: 33m

Crown width: 34m

Circumference of stem: 12m

Stem length: 15m

pathways-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

Wandelpad Forest Walk

We expected a bit of a hike through the forest to see the Big Tree, but it’s only 80m from the parking area. Luckily, just past the Big Tree, you’ll find the very easy Wandelpad Forest Walk. This beautiful circular trail is only 2km long and follows a well-marked path through the forest, crossing the occasional moss-framed bridge and trickling stream. You’ll spot gnarled old trees, curtains of ferns, wild mushrooms growing on tree trunks, and pretty flowers showering in thin rays of sunlight. Many of the trees along the path are labelled so that you can identify them.

Distance: 2km

Difficulty: Easy

Permits: A free self-issue permit is available in the parking area, at the entrance to the forest. Permits are to be presented to officials upon request.

Fees: None

forest-plants-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

Facilities

There is a designated picnic area at the parking lot and in the forest. There are ablutions and wheelchair-friendly walkways through the forest.

Woodville-Big-Tree-picnic-area-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

Getting there

Take the Hoekwil Road from the N2 in Wilderness. Hoekwil Road becomes the old Knysna-George Road and is well-marked with signs to the Woodville Big Tree. The Big Tree is approximately 16km from Wilderness and you’ll be spoiled with the most gorgeous panoramic views over the valley. GPS coordinates: S33 56.058 E22 38.698

Wilderness-lookout

Here are some photos from the forest:

pink-shoes-tree-stump-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

forest-walk-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

ferns-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

mushrooms-tree-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

forest-trees-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

mossy-bridge-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

forest-crossings-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

stepping-trunks-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

details-forest-by-Desiree-Haakonsen

The Woodville Big Tree and Wandelpad Forest Walk is a wonderful way to spend an unhurried day in the leafy Wilderness forest. Have you visited the Big Tree?

http://www.travelground.com/blog/big-tree-forest-walk-wilderness/

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