Wilderness to Victoria Bay

WARNING: Confirmed details of at least one attack in this area www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/156381/Update-Wilderness-panga-attack

This is an amazing walk from Wilderness to Victoria Bay on the railway tracks, and includes a breathtaking bridge crossing, dark train tunnels, and glorious coastal views.

Getting there: start from the Wilderness Beach parking lot
GPS Coordinates: -33.99576, 22.56550
Distance: 6km
Difficulty: an easy walk along a disused railway line

The railway line runs right past the parking lot. This is the easiest way to start the route; the alternative is to walk along the beach until you can find an easy way up the bank to the railway line. From here it is a simple case of following the railway line until you reach Victoria Bay. 500m from the start the tracks disappear beneath a landslide. A well worn track leads across it and you will be back on the rails in the blink of an eye. You will pass through 3 short tunnels. You will also cross the Kaaimans River Bridge. I need not warn you to take great care when doing so.

You will see the railway sign announcing Victoria Bay, shortly after which you will head down a fairly narrow little trail down to hill, which is slippery, so watch your footing. Boardwalks take you down to the parking lot from where you can stroll down to the beach. There is a shop where you can buy refreshments. It is well worth walking along the promenade passing the beachfront houses and watching the swimmers and surfers in the bay.

Of course not long ago this section of line was used by the Outeniqua Choo Choo; when I lived in Knysna I made the return trip from Knysna to George twice. It was a divine outing and it is such a shame that it no longer runs.

The Outeniqua Choo Choo was the last remaining continually-operated passenger steam train in Africa, ending operation in June 2009. The railway was completed in 1928, and linked George and Knysna, passing Wilderness, Goukamma, and Sedgefield. The scenic 67-kilometre route hugged the rugged coastline of the Garden Route before crossing the bridge spanning the Knysna lagoon. It was declared an officially preserved railway in 1992 and carried about 40,000 passengers per year in its time. A decade later, it carried 115,000 passengers per year, 70% of whom were foreign tourists.

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Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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