Don’t be afraid to get lost in Wilderness. Trek in any direction and you’ll inevitably find a stream that leads back to your path. This part of the Garden Route is woven with lakes, rivers, mountains, and estuaries filled with an abundance of wildlife. Fifteen minutes away from the town of George, the coastal region beckons to eager explorers.

More than five waterways wind through the area. The most prominent is the Touws River, which rushes through Wilderness National Park toward the Outeniqua mountains. Cruise down its path with Wilderness River Safaris, or sail across the nearby Island Lake. Look out for the spectacular birdlife – five kingfisher species, olive woodpeckers, and black-bellied starlings flutter among the trees. And down by the seaside, oystercatchers soar on the wind.

At the Leentjiesklip section of Wilderness Beach, anglers cast their lines in the hopes of getting lucky. While holidaymakers come to soak up the sun on this pristine coastline, locals prefer fishing. Kabeljou, steenbras, and shad are prominent residents of these waters. For sightseers, whales and dolphins make an occasional appearance in the distance. In every corner of Wilderness, there’s striking scenery to be discovered.

From the Map of Africa viewpoint, the mountains bordered by the Kaaimans River resemble the shape of our continent. Paraglide from this spot, or explore the greenery at the Wilderness National Park where fynbos and forest complement each other. A permit from the SAN Parks Ebb and Flow Rest Camp allows you to venture into the four-hour Half Collared Kingfisher Trail, which covers kayaking opportunities, rock pools, and a waterfall. Those who prefer not to exert themselves will appreciate the easy access to another notable Wilderness stop. Twelve kilometres away and just 80 metres from the parking lot, the Woodville Big Tree towers over the other treetops. This monstrous Outeniqua Yellowwood is more than 800 years old and boasts an impressive canopy to picnic under.

Whether you’re river rafting, hiking through the reserve, or relaxing on the shore, every element of this place is laden with beauty. Where one adventure ends, another begins. Stick to your planned path or go off track. Wilderness will undoubtedly leave its mark on you.