Hoekwil, Garden Route

Just 10km inland from Wilderness lies the little village of Hoekwil. What used to be an undiscovered farming community lies in a crook of the Touws River and is described by those who live there as a 'piece of paradise'.

Hoekwil's residents, though, are a little loathe to make too much of a song and dance about their little town, or it will become inundated with others after an alternative, country lifestyle. But they are only too happy to encourage you to visit.

The town, which sits perched above the coastline with beautiful views of sea, lake and mountains consists of little more than a church, a post office, a primary school, a couple of shops and a very large tree, known as the 'Big Tree' – a yellowwood tree thought to be as old as 850 years.

You will find the tree on a clearly marked hike, known as the Woodville Hiking trail, that takes one into a nearby forest, a circular trail that is only 2km in its entirety and passes a number of labelled trees for everyone's edification.

Hoekwill has its own tourist route too. Known as the Hoekwil Hoopla Arts Route it is a 30km circular route that starts in Wilderness, travels up the Serpentine mountain pass through the village of Hoekwil and the farming communities at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains, and then back down through the lakes district. En route are a series of tea gardens, restaurants, artist's galleries and accommodation venues.

And if you've done the whole tourist thing there is always Wilderness beach or Victoria Bay to which to escape. Personally, I'd rather languish somewhere in Hoekwil, where no-one knows you or cares that you prefer simply to read the weekend away.

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