Knysna

About Circles in a Forest Hiking Trail

Start: Goldfield State Forest Krisjanse-Nek picnic site (at the Dalene Matthee memorial), near Knysna
Finish: Krisjanse-Nek picnic site
Duration: 3 km – 9 km
Fitness: moderate
Our tip: look out for the Cape dwarf chameleon, native to this part of the Western Cape (but do not touch or remove them)

A wonderful way to experience the Goudveld forest for yourself, the 3 km and 9 km trails both start at the picnic site. The 9 km trail is not difficult and will take about 4 hours to complete, unless you get waylaid at the waterfall or swimming pool in the forest, or in amongst huge forest ferns and little streams that amble under wooden bridges.

The hike follows the remains of a mining path along the edge of the forest creek. Formerly known as the Woodcutter's Trail, it was named after the acclaimed South African author, Dalene Matthee, when her memorial was unveiled. No surprise then that these trails are known after her book Circles in a Forest (one of four Forest Books; the Knysna Forest served as an impetus for her writing).

The walk is in the heart of indigenous forest filled with sturdy giant yellowwood and ironwood trees, tree ferns that rise to three metres, hoopoes, Knysna loeries, bush pigs and the odd nocturnal porcupine.

At Krisjan-se-Nek picnic area is the Big Tree, named after Dalene Matthee – an eight hundred year old yellowwood that stands some 40 metres high.

Dalene Matthee died unexpectedly from heart failure in 2005. Her ashes were scattered at Krisjan-se-Nek, one of her favourite places in the Knysna Forest. The memorial is a joint undertaking between SANparks, Tafelberg Publishers and her children.

Contact the Goudveld Forestry Station. There is an entrance fee.

Need to Know

WhereStart at Goldfield State Forest Krisjanse-Nek picnic site (at the Dalene Matthee memorial), near Knysna

WhenDaylight hours.

How muchPrices on request.

TelephoneGoudveld Forestry Station on +27 (0)44 389-0129

OvernightThe closest town is Knysna, in Garden Route

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