An additional four hiking trails in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park received Green Flag accreditation from the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA). This brings the number of accredited hiking trails to 18 in the Garden Route National Park. Twelve are in the Tsitsikamma section of the Park, two in the Knysna sections and the recent four in the Wilderness section. The four trails include the Half Collard Kingfisher trail (9,65km), Dune Mole Rat Trail (8,2km), Woodville Big Tree (2km) and the Circles in the Forest (3,4km).
According to a statement released by SANParks, more people are walking trails in Knysna, Wilderness and Tsitsikamma, a total of 667 people walked hiking trails in Knysna during the Easter Weekend only. The Garden of Eden had the most walkers (266) of the 667, the King Edward Big tree (140), Kranshoek (132), Diepwalle (70) and Perdekop (59). Two of Knysna’s hiking trails (Perdekop in Harkerville and the Elephant route in Diepwalle) received Green Flag status accreditation by HOSA back in 2015.
About 482 people walked the Half-collared Kingfisher trail only in Wilderness during the Easter Weekend compared to 356 last Easter. The steady increase in the number of people walking in the National Park can be attributed to the Garden Route Festival over the same period where numerous SANParks hiking trails were among 52 hiking trails to experience in the Region. People are also walking trails in groups and are including hiking as one of numerous activities to do in the Park.
Progress of hiking trails in Knysna after the fire ready for the Knysna Oyster Festival (July 2018)
Harkerville Trail: The trail was re-routed in December 2017 pending the recovery of the burnt area however the coastal portion of the trail is still closed. An alternative scenic route was opened along the coastal ridge. Bookings for the trail are open.
Kranshoek Trail: The Kranshoek Trail is still closed, and maintenance work is currently underway. About 90% of the route is complete but rebuilding and rehabilitation of the route is underway.
Kranshoek Viewpoint: Currently still closed and not accessible to visitors as yet until management and scientists have finalised urgent deliverables pertaining to the area.
Boilerplate: The green flag status system officiated by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA) ensures hiking trails meet standards in terms of ‘trail outlay, accommodation, facilities and service, as well as the conservation of natural resources.