Take a foray into these four favourite forests
FORESTS, NATURE | MARCH 21, 2023
There’s no shortage of news on the loss of forests around the world. And there’s no doubt this is an important story that needs to be told.
But on International Day of Forests, there are also many incredible forests in South Africa that are protected. These are some of the country’s sacred spaces. And for LoveGreen, they’re woodlands that energise the body and rejuvenate the soul.
Here are four of our favourite forests – and why we love them.
1. Tina’s favourite forest:
LOCATION: Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, Betty’s Bay
From when I was a little girl, up to today, the Leopard’s Kloof trail, located in the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, remains one of my favourite places to find peace in an indigenous forest. You can hear and feel the trees taking up the much-needed rain drops, and the ferns slowly unfolding and rejoicing – music you can only hear when you become really quiet and listen to nature.
Crossing the river into the shade, you never know when you might turn a corner and come face-to-face with the elusive Leopard of the Cape. After climbing wooden ladders to the top of the trail, you can rest in the most peaceful spot – waterfall views, ice-cold mountain water, Red Disas (if you’re lucky) and a moment to remember that we have much to be thankful for.
2. Heather’s favourite forest:
LOCATION: Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, Western Cape
It hits me every time – as we round the final corner on the dodgy gravel road, and the forests of Grootvadersbosch first show themselves. It’s that feeling of life, of a secret world just waiting to be discovered.
Whether you’re hiking in the Grootvaderbosch Nature Reserve, or in the surrounding Grootvadersbosch Conservancy forests, there’s so much to see: the ancient indigenous trees, the bushbuck drinking quietly at the stream, the tiny chameleons that are only visible when they move. Even the giant Californian Redwood trees, brought in from America more than 100 years ago, add to the stature of the forest. And despite my many trips to these forests, there’s more that I’ve yet to experience – like seeing the Western Forest-king Emperor butterfly – a true bucket list dream sighting.
3. Daniela’s favourite forest:
LOCATION: Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town
Peeking under fallen trees to find mushrooms, watching the river flow, listening to the birds sing high in the trees and admiring the rich red clay soil. Newlands Forest is a place that inspires me.
The forest is one of the most beautiful green spaces in Cape Town and is a great way to reach some of the best hiking trails on Table Mountain. There are various routes that you can enjoy, but my favourite is the circuit, which takes you through all the best that Newlands has to offer: the trail evolves from a gravel road to a forest path, with rocks and roots underfoot. And as you emerge from the indigenous forest into the fynbos, take a moment to immerse yourself in the incredible views of the city.
4. Anri’s favourite forest:
LOCATION: Knysna, Garden Route National Park
I still remember my first time setting foot in the Knysna Forests as a child. It was my first experience of a ‘real’ forest, and I had never before seen so many trees so close together. I finally understood the mysterious sense of magic described in the old German fairy tales – and I still feel the same awe and reverence whenever I visit.
The Knysna Forests are South Africa’s largest forest complex and form the backbone of the Garden Route National Park. It has survived nearly 200 years of exploitation, and today it only covers about 568 square kilometres.
The forest has also become a favourite among tourists and a cultural beacon for locals that signify our extraordinary, but historically complicated relationship with nature. Its striking beauty – and the world’s last free-roaming elephants who call it home – has inspired many artists, and the forest has deep ties with famous South African literature and art.
Don’t think of the Whale Trail as a five-day hike. Rather see this incredible trail as five very different landscape experiences. There’s no shortage of information available on this incredible hike, created by CapeNature, taking you over the Potberg mountain and into the
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