This is a magical forest hike in the Millwood section of the Knysna Forest, north-west of Knysna itself.
Getting there: take the N2 out of Knysna in the George direction, cross the lagoon and continue up the hill. Take the Rheenendal turn-off to the right, continuing along this road for 12.5 km until you reach the Bibby’s Hoek / Goudveld / Millwood turn-off to the right just past Rheenendal. Follow the dirt road for 4 km until you reach the access gate and pay point. Krisjan-se-Nek is about 4 kilometres further on.
GPS Coordinates: S 33°55.012′, E 022°57.488′
Difficulty: well maintained trail on soft forest floor
Permits: R20 adults; R10 children
At a glance
Fans of the books “Kringe in ‘n Bos” will find this walk especially poignant as info boards describe the trees so often mentioned in the book as well as the fact that the trail starts and finishes at the Dalene Matthee Memorial.
The trail is well maintained, and in addition to the interesting info boards there are route markers at each kilometre and at the one main intersection (where the shorter 3km route leaves the main trail).
The last couple of kilometres are along a forest road which also happens to be the route used by the Scootours. There are signs to alert you to this fact and you should be aware that a bunch of fat-tyred scooters could come bombing down the hill at you at any stage.
There are ablutions at the trailhead, as well as a water tank for you to fill up your water bottles.
The low down
From the parking lot pass the memorial to the gate in the forestry road. Pass through the gate and walk down the road for 250 metres where you will find a sign directing you to turn left off the road onto a single-track through the dense forest.
At 1,4km there is a clearly signposted intersection directing you onto to take a trail to the right for the shorter route; the main route continues straight ahead.
After about 4km you will hear and catch a glimpse of the river down the slope to your right and at almost exactly halfway, 4.6km in fact, the trail drops down to the river just 10 metres downstream from a lovely, large forest pool with a waterfall flowing into it [S 33º54.029′, E 022º56.797′].
From the river follow the trail up the slope until you reach a forest road at the 5.4km mark; this is the same road that you started the hike on. Turn left onto the road and head up the hill. At this stage the kilometre readings on the trail signs are out by about half a kilometre, and at the 7.5km sign you are actually at 6.95km.
At this point you reach an intersection: a fairly obvious single track heads off the road into the forest to the right. The placing of the trail marker seems to suggest that this is the route however this trail actually takes you to the Outeniqua Trail, you should continue along the road which leads back to the trailhead.