Squiggling prettily between the Kaaimans River and the Goukama Nature Reserve and, for the most part, basking under a warm kindly sun, the play-town of Wilderness has a list of credits that are hard to beat. Natural lakes and lagoons, and a long, long scoop of beach, are some of its special gifts.

To be more exact, the 2500 hectare Wilderness National Park endows the area with no less than five rivers, five lakes, two estuaries and a coastline of about 18 km. With all this water around, it’s a paradise for birds, and also of course, for birdwatchers.

Whale and dolphin-watching come near the top of the Wilderness recreation list. Dolphin Point offers a superlative view of the ocean and the whales and dolphins that come to play there. Other attractions are ferry cruises, boating and angling, and also hiking, horse riding, hangliding, paragliding, mountain-biking and scenic drives. A favourite picnic spot in the area is The Woodville Tree – estimated to be about 800 years old.

Wilderness has an active community of crafters, whose work can be viewed and purchased at monthly craft markets.

Where to Stay

A good place to stay is Palms Wilderness Retreat, where you can get a special rate of R744 per person per night sharing on a bed & breakfast basis until 14 December 2012. See Special Offer. Here, you get four-star accommodation with the comforts of air-conditioning and / or fans, high quality linens, electric blankets, snug bathrobes, in-room bar fridges, and hot beverage-making stations. All the rooms are en suite and have private entrances into the tranquil indigenous gardens, where one can happily spend the odd hour in a lounger amid ponds and fountains.

The beach is a five-minute walk from Palms Wilderness Retreat, and all around it, the Garden Route spills out its extraordinary beauty.