Things to do near
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling
Mountain Biking Trails
Knysna (4.5 km from Rheenendal)
Get on your bike for an awesome 19-kilometre trip through Knysna’s Goudveld Forest.
Starting at the Goudveld Forest Station, the circular Homtini Trail weaves along fairly relaxed contours in the indigenous forest and plantation. With only one steep four-kilometre climb to make you gasp for breath, it is considered a moderate ride.
Starting and ending at Krisjan-se-Nek picnic spot, the route offers some lovely exhilarating single-track slip-paths, shady jeep tracks and sweeping elevated views of the mountainous landscape and distant Knysna Heads.
Permits can be obtained at the Goudveld boom before the Krisjan-se-Nek picnic site.
Knysna (4.8 km from Rheenendal)
A top spot for families, Jubilee Creek is probably the most beautiful picnic spot in the indigenous Knysna forest. Situated alongside a stream in two forest clearings, this site is very popular with young families. The stream is perfect for playing, exploring and walks along the river. Hidden in the forest, you might even sight a rare Knysna elephant - one of the Knysna elephants was actually seen here in March 2007!
Knysna (7.9 km from Rheenendal)
Following an old mining path along the Forest Creek, the Circles in a Forest Hiking Trail beckons hikers to explore the loveliness of the Goudveld Forest. This genuine forest experience is suitable for families and people of all ages, offering two trail options starting at Krisjan-se-Nek.
Feel dwarfed as you pass the towering 600-year old Outeniqua Yellowwood trees. You can almost hear them whisper Oupoot, the name of the long lost heroine and matriarch elephant made famous by Dalene Matthee.
This is truly the heart of the Knysna indigenous forest typified by giant Yellowwood trees, three-metre high tree ferns, Red-billed Wood-hoopoe, babbling streams, ancient ironwood trees, arum lilies, colourful mushroom and bracket fungi. Evidence of baboon, bush pig, porcupine and bushbuck can be seen everywhere. Keep glancing up to the treetops and you might spot a Knysna loerie.
Formerly called the Woodcutters Trail, this route is named after one of Dalene Matthee’s famous novels. The three and nine kilometre trails range from easy to moderate and are manageable for anyone over the age of five.
Buffels Bay (12 km from Rheenendal)
Get far away from the madding crowds and discover one of the Garden Route’s best kept secrets.
Long kept under wraps, this gentle and serene protected coastal reserve is guaranteed to nurture your soul.
Goukamma Nature Reserve incorporates a long beach, extensive high dune field, the Goukamma River and estuary as well as the self-contained Groenvlei Lake. The coastline stretches for 14 km and the adjoining marine protected area extends out to the ocean for 1.8 km. Bring your snorkelling gear and explore the lovely rock pools at Rowwehoek.
A network of hiking trails traverses a diverse range of habitats for birds, mammals and marine life. Cape clawless otter, grysbok, bushbuck, bush pig, porcupine, bushbaby, Cape dune mole rat, caracal and honey badger all live in this paradise. Most of the animals are quite timid and difficult to spot but you will see plenty of droppings and spoor on the trails.
The coastline offers excellent whale watching from July to December and dolphins are frequently spotted surfing the waves. The area is great for birdwatching with more than 220 recorded bird species.
The Goukamma River has a number of picnic sites and braai spots. Bring your own firewood.
Knysna (12.6 km from Rheenendal)
One of South Africa's best golfing destinations, Simola boasts overwhelming views and an outstanding Jack Nicklaus Signature course.
Breathtaking vistas of the Knysna Heads on one side and the Knysna River on the other make it difficult to focus on the game. But in the midst of all this beauty, the course offers challenging and rewarding golf amidst spectacular scenery.
Simola was one of the first Jack Nicklaus designs on the Garden Route, reflecting the maestro's philosophy of adjusting the layout and design to the natural features of the landscape.
Fairways flow along the rising and falling natural landscape and every hole offers superlative views of the Knysna Lagoon all the way to the Heads or across the pretty meandering Knysna River and valley below.
Sedgefield (12.8 km from Rheenendal)
Hop into a little ferryboat and haul yourself across the Goukamma River to start the 13.5 km Porcupine Trail. This easy hike ambles through indigenous milkwood forest to the wetland at Groenvlei, a great spot for bird watching.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Distance: 13.5 km
Buffels Bay (12.8 km from Rheenendal)
This five-hour trail isn’t for slackers but offers some gorgeous scenery. Spectacular views of the Goukamma coast, dune fynbos, scrub woodland and distant Outeniqua Mountains offer a unique hiking experience.
The one-way trail starts at the Goukamma River picnic site entrance and follows the Goukamma Circular Route after crossing the river on a small boat pont.
Telltale signs of bontebok, porcupine, bushpig, genet and other small animals litter the pathways. Hikers traverse over the extensive dune fields that boast some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa.
The route then winds through dense Milkwood forest thought to be over 600 years old. Keen birders should lookout for rare Bluemantled Flycatchers as well as other forest specials. Eventually the trail leads to the shore of Groenvlei Lake where Fish Eagles are often seen and heard. This entirely self-contained fresh water lake is perfect for a refreshing dip after the day’s explorations.
Booking is not necessary but permits are required. Transport needs to be arranged at Groenvlei Conservation Station where the trail ends.
Sedgefield (12.8 km from Rheenendal)
The Cape Clawless Otter Trail is an easy 6.5 km walk around Groenvlei Lake in Goukamma Nature Reserve. This flat out-and-return route explores the fascinating lake and forest. If you’re keen to do a really long walk, start early and do both the Cape Clawless Otter and Blombos Trails – an extremely rewarding 20 km hike!
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 6.5 km
Sedgefield (12.9 km from Rheenendal)
The Galjoen Trail is a 12 km beach walk along the Goukamma Nature Reserve coastline. Before setting off, check the local tide table, as there is a possibility of being stranded against cliffs at spring high tide. Plan to arrange transport back to the start or return by walking.
Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 12 km
Sedgefield (13 km from Rheenendal)
The adventurous start of the circular 6.5 km Bush Pig Trail involves winching yourself across the river in a little ferry boat. From here, the route leads through milkwood forest to three options. Hikers can return inland along a dune crest offering magnificent sea views, continue through the reserve to Groenvlei, or continue in the forest to Skimmelkrans Beach.
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 6.5 km
Buffels Bay (13.1 km from Rheenendal)
Goukamma Nature Reserve offers six trails between Knysna and Sedgefield. The longest of these is the Blombos Trail that starts at Groenvlei. The circular route is designed as a bird watching trail has three options, 15 km, 13 km and 6.5 km. All these variations start at Platbank Beach or at the Groenvlei parking area.
Distances: 15 km, 13 km and 6.5 km
Sedgefield (13.9 km from Rheenendal)
Groenvlei is located just outside Sedgefield, close to beautiful Knysna.
Known as one of the few lakes in South Africa that contain naturally occurring largemouth bass, Groenvlei still has a thriving amount of them to this day.
Electric motors only are allowed on the lake and outboard motors have to be lifted clear of the water. The water depth is rather shallow, at most 3 meters, with plenty of water grass and reeds.
The annual Garden Route Bass Classic is held at Groenvlei in late April each year.
Knysna (15.2 km from Rheenendal)
This circular day walk takes about three hours and is easy to do. The total length is about 7 km. The trail is in the Gouna indigenous forest and crosses a part of the home range of the Knysna elephant herd. Clear markers serve as guide. Follow the Gouna road/Kom-se-Pad to the Grootdraai Picnic Site. There is a swimming area as well.
Knysna (15.7 km from Rheenendal)
Explore the famous Knysna indigenous forest with us and our knowledgeable guide for an unforgettable experience.
Birds that you could spot include the spotted gennet, cape spotted owl, night jarr and the famous Knysna Lourie. Potential wildlife encounters also include wild boar, blue duiker, bush baby, bush buck, chameleon, and on rare occasions you may get a fleeting glimpse of the Cape mountain leopard. Clients will ride in comfortable minibus vehicles with complimentary sherry. Advanced bookings are essential.
Price: R295 per person.
Minimum booking: 4 pax.
Maximum booking: 10 pax.
Buffels Bay (15.8 km from Rheenendal)
Buffalo Bay Beach, also called Buffelsbaai, is situated in Goukamma Nature Reserve, an attractive holiday hideaway on the Garden Route. Extensive dune fields, coastal fynbos and coastal forest flank the long sandy beach. Bottle nosed and common dolphins are frequently seen surfing the waves and whales migrate here between July and October.
Holiday activities are focused around the safe beach and rock pools. Spend blissful hours here surfing, sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, canoeing or simply chilling. Ample parking, ablutions, restaurants and a shop are conveniently situated above the beach.