Rooted in Time Self-drive Tour

The “Rooted in Time” self-drive tour of the Knysna Forest was recently created and promoted via a neat colour brochure (available at Knysna Info office) detailing the route and its attractions. We have not completed the entire route as of yet, but took in the main section one cool morning.

At a glance

For those of you who have done Karoo to Coast or the Knysna Forest Marathon, Kom-se-Pad, and the Gouna to Simola sections of this route will be all too familiar, and you will enjoy seeing the terrain from the comfort of your vehicle for a change.

The route is almost entirely on forestry roads. They tend to vary in condition depending on how much rain there has been, however you can be fairly certain that they will be fairly bumpy and sections are muddy. Not the place for your “luxury German sedan” (we did this tour in our GWM bakkie).

There is a beautifully designed info-map available (or download one here…). Great care has also been taken with the info boards and it is clear that a designer was involved in creating these attractive boards. Dalene Matthee’s novels have been used as a source of inspiration so this is a must do for her fans!

You can break this down into sections if time does not allow for the whole route to be undertaken in one go. You could even book a camping deck at Diepwalle and experience a night in the forest.

The low-down

Leave Knysna on the N2 in the direction of Plettenberg Bay. As you reach the top of the hill, take a left onto the R339 at the Uniondale sign, heading north. The tar runs out as you enter the forest.

First on the list is the Railway Walk and the Templeman Station. The start of this short walk is at the Ysterhoutrug picnic spot [-33.962397, 23.157157]. The picnic spot offer picnic benches with braai facilities as well as ablution facilities.

Next you will pass the King Edward VII Big Tree. There is a charge to enter this area.

You now reach the intersection with Kom-se-Pad [-33.955874, 23.154110]. If time does not allow you can skip the northern segment and head west to Gouna.

If you head north to Diepwalle [-33.948433, 23.157634] you will see the Forest Legends Museum which is absolutely fascinating. Take a moment to check out the Camping Decks. There are a series of forest hikes with trailheads at Diepwalle, namely the Black (9km), White (8km) and Red Elephant Walk (7km).

You will also visit Dal van Varings and the Spitskop Viewpoint. The trip up to the view sight was described as scary by a Belgian family who followed my recommendation to take the drive!

From here you will return south by the road you arrived on until you reach the turn-off for Kom-se-Pad.

Kom-se-Pad heads west through deep forest. There really is not much to see but the lush green forest surrounding you; drive slowly with the windows open and breathe in the fresh, cool forest air!

You will reach Grootdraai [-33.945326, 23.054202] which once again offers picnic facilities. This is also the trailhead of the Terblans Nature Walk.

From here you will head south to Gouna.

If you are a fan of Dalene Matthee you cannot afford to miss a visit to the San Ambroso Chapel Museum [-33.969212, 23.053601]

Take it easy through the Gouna River valley: the hill is incredibly steep and there are some hair-raising corners. At the bottom you will cross the Gouna River low-water bridge [-33.990768, 23.040388] before climbing back out the valley to Simola and down the Old Cape Road to the N2.



Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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