Wilderness, in the heart of the Garden Route, is a lovely little town in the most fabulous setting. With forested hills at its back, the town jigsaws itself around a number of pretty wetlands and flows over the high coastal dunes to overlook a magnificent, long, snow white beach where dolphins and whales come to play. Just to the west of the town, the pitch-black, mysterious, forest-clad Kaaimans River wends its way to the sea flowing under a series of bridges that support the N2 and a narrow gauge railway line that carries the historical Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train that runs between George and Knysna.

Although there are lots of lovely places where you can just kick back, have a drink or a meal gazing at a fabulous view, or just read a book under a tree, Wilderness is primarily an active destination. With some fabulous paragliding launch sites, it’s a great place to learn to fly or just to do a tandem flight.

The Wilderness National Park conserves an extensive wetland that winds between lovely flood-plains and indigenous forest. You can rent canoes to explore the meandering waterways or just go for a lovely walk.

Keen birders will appreciate the laid out day trails to and between some very well placed bird hides. You could abseil down a waterfall, do a scenic kloofing (canyoning) trip or join a mountain biking expedition, and the surfing is great.

On Saturday mornings, the nearby Wild Oats Farmers Market is a feast of fabulous food and other delights. Wilderness is on the N2 and close to the airport at George.

Wilderness Fun Rating

from 76 customer reviews
4.5 out of 5 stars!

Popular in Wilderness

  • Beach
  • Hiking
  • Restaurants
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird Watching
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The heart of the Garden Route
Wilderness is our new favourite town on the Garden Route. It is quiet and relaxed, with spectacular views of the sea and mountains. We will be back soon!
Liezel Punt
South Africa

Perfect holiday destination
Even though like most places the shops and restaurants are packed during December holiday periods, in Wilderness you never get the feeling of being boxed in. The beaches are clean, and especially perfect for safe long beautiful early morning walks. For swimming, the river mouth and swimming beach is perfect. Go early to ensure convenient parking, and end off your day with a meal at one of the lovely restaurants in the area. Close to the amenities of George, lovely child-friendly activity spots and the beautiful Knysna forests.
Linda Brink
South Africa

Wilderness as a destination
The so called 'Garden Route' basically stretches from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay. But for us as a family it is the portion between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay. Wilderness is the ideal central base from where to explore this portion of the Garden Route. The scenery is fantastic. Lots of good eateries close by. Much history. Even a large mall and airport within 20 minutes. Art. Honest warm earthy people. Lots of markets over weekends. This really is Eden; the paradise of South Africa. You will not find better vistas of sea and mountains anywhere. There is no such thing as 'bad weather' here...
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Herman Goosen
South Africa

Love at first sight
The first view of Wilderness as you come over the pass is like love at first. I cant wait to go back and spend more time there.
Kelly Loubser
South Africa

Wilderness has become a little gem blossoming with good restaurants for any time of the day and very relaxing activities to do. The nature is beautiful and peaceful. The waterfall and canoeing was fun and George Golf Course was in an immaculate condition. All our dinners at Blue Olive and Solenas was excellent. The Flava Cafe was superb with their breakfast and service. Thank you to all for a wonderful experience to remember our 16th Anniversary by.
Sigi Oosthuizen
South Africa

Lots to do
We spent a week between Wilderness and Sedgefield and had lots of fun. There really is lots to do in this area - close enough to visit Knysna, canoeing, beaches, forest walks. There are several bird hides as wellIt does get busy but with lots of options, you can find a quiet spot. The beaches were stunning and in December, lifeguards were present at most beaches
Janet Bloom
South Africa

Heaven on earth...
Wilderness is a paradise! The people are so chilled, and the town is so peaceful and beautiful. A must for anyone looking to get away from it all and enjoy all the Garden Route has to offer.
Amy Vice Bufe'
South Africa

Town of Garden Route

Close enough to Wilderness
I was not sure if Hoekwil was going to be close enough to Wilderness and was a little hesitant to stay there. But as the accommodation prices were better than in Wilderness I decided to stay there. PERFECT if you want to go to Wilderness but don't pay the expensive beach cottage prices! It has an amazing feeling and a view that will blow you away! A definite YES!
Ruan Cilliers
South Africa

The place to be!
There is something about Wilderness that grabs one. This could be the scenery consisting of the ocean views, beaches, lagoon, lakes and wetlands, the forested hills and valleys. The intimate cosy village, the people, the restaurants and the general relaxed vibe. Whether one stays on the beach, in the village or in a cosy guest house amongst the lakes district, you are sure to enjoy the stay. Enjoy the beaches, walk the trails, canoe the waterways, visit the markets, cycle the backroads, try some adventure and enjoy the birdlife.Wilderness is central to all attractions of the Garden Route.
Mike & Harja Raubenheimer
South Africa

Paradise Found
A stay in Wilderness for a couple of nights is a must for the soul. The calm rivers, pristine beaches and walking through the forests recall your youth. Paraglide,Abseil or canoe through the Wilderness National Park on the placid Touw River or take a stroll along the boardwalk to the waterfall. Get a grand view of Wilderness from the Map of Africa viewing point. Laze on the beach with a picnic basket and watch the sun go down. Wilderness is a paradise not to be missed.
Desmond & Johan Webster
South Africa

First choice holiday break away
Wilderness has a calm and relaxing atmosphere that will rewind any stressed mind and body. The restaurants and coffee shops are divine and cater for everyone. Plenty to do for the adventurous and outdoor person. Lots of bird watching and hiking trail to name a few.
Daleen Van Zyl
South Africa

Wilderness, a town to enjoy!
Wilderness is a lovely town with an amazing lot of young people. Interesting shops and lots of restaurants. Cocomo restaurant offers excellent meals and live music. Their Moroccan Chicken Strips are to die for. Joplin's Steak Bar at Pirate's Creek offers excellent steaks. We had some of the best steaks there that we have ever had before.
Lynette Meier
South Africa

I was pleasantly surprised by all the various activities and accommodation options available in Wilderness. Will be back!
Chantelle Kievit
South Africa

Town of Garden Route

This great little area has a terrific community style shop and post office. The shop houses a coffee bar selling wonderful cakes and coffees. There are some nice easy and more difficult walks. Hoekwil is within easy reach of Wilderness but it’s far quieter and more peaceful. The night sky was beautiful!
Dianne Parkin

Town of Garden Route

Rondevlei in Wilderness Lakes area Garden Route
Rondevlei, is the name of one of five bodies of water that form the protected Wilderness Lakes area in the Garden Route of South Africa's Western Province.They are surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Outeniqua Mountains and the beautiful holiday towns of Wilderness and Sedgefield. he area is listed on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, especially as a waterfowl habitat.Wilderness Lakes comprise a lagoon and the floodplain of the Touws River, linked by a natural channel called the Serpentine to the three lakes Elandsvlei, Langvlei and Rondevlei. These lakes, together with...
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Sharon Brits
South Africa

Wild Wilderness
Winter in Wilderness, how wonderful. A tad Chilly but the local restaurants warm you to the bone. An amazing view from the hilltops, warm and wonderful locals, makes it difficult to feel cold. From the Friday night markets, to the eateries, and the guesthouse owners - such friendly and welcoming people. Long sandy beaches, blue seas as far as the eye can see. Central to all the garden route has to offer it's the ideal place to set up "camp". Try Wilderness Views, you won't be disappointed, we certainly were blown away and not by any wind. The ideal place to wind down after a busy explor...
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Carol Gott
South Africa

Anything but a wilderness!
Wilderness is quite the opposite to the meaning of its name - it is not a dry, wild, uncultivated place. Wilderness is a breath-taking holiday resort in summer and the ideal retreat in winter. Its panoramic views and the beauty of its fauna and flora is a visual experience to behold. Holiday accomodation caters for everyone's needs - from self-catering cottages, which are ideal for familes with children, to hotels for business people and the occasional break-away from home for couples. The hospitality and friendliness of hotel, guest house and self-catering staff is definitely a draw-card to...
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Shirley Herman
South Africa

Wilderness, it's magic!
Wilderness is just ...magic with a soul! It really is! You have long beaches with no one on it, a rough sea with dolphins playing around, whales in the right season, beautiful smell, nice food (you have some very good and cosy restaurants over there), beautiful little colorful birds all over the place, super friendly people everywhere you look, canoeing on the lagoon and lakes and rivers, hiking, horse riding in the forest, paragliding. Even an airport is at about 20 km drive! I can go on for pages and pages...;-).There is a beautiful b&b called Whalesway just in front of the seaside. Wanda...
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Peter Van Wesemael

Town of Garden Route

Hoekwil - more than just hippies and forests
The sleepy village of Hoekwil may look like just another countryside village to the average tourist or visitor. But once you have stayed a while, the true character of this delightful area entices all and keeps you wanting to stay just a little longer.Hoekwil has a very rural feel to it. The little village centre consists of a 4 way-stop with the following at its corners: the Hoekwil Primary School (with 134 barefoot children running around happily), the Vleie church, the post office and the Hoekwil village shop. The real makings of a little platteland village.The real gems of this area...
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Linda Potgieter
South Africa

A little bit of magic hidden around every corner...
I have found Wilderness to be full of magic! A wonderful place to find yourself in with a little bit of everything for everyone. If you like long walks on the beach you can find it here. If you like hanging out in cosy, warm, friendly restaurants, you can find it here. If you are into nature, birdwatching, canoeing, hiking, you can find it here. If you are more of an adventure seeker, rock climber or hang glider, you can find it here. Looking for a safe place for the kids to run around freely, you can find it here. Photographers come from all over to come and try to capture the beauty that...
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Yolande Strauss