Sometimes it's not so much the destinations but the things you do on the way that make a trip truly magical - the drive from the south coast, Garden Route, to the inland Karoo towns of Oudtshoorn and De Rust is a very popular one, going as it does through some spectacular mountain scenery.
However, there's a beautiful secret forest on the way just outside of Knysna which few people know about.
If you have the time, we’d really recommend stopping off at the Diepwalle Forest Reserve for a walk. The Knysna fires of 2015 have obviously damaged vast areas of the forest but much has grown back since.
There are three circular hiking trails that all start and finish at Diepwalle Camp. We’d suggest the Black Elephant Trail which will take you at least three hours – shorter trails are possible too! By South African standards, it’s moderately difficult walking. The big attraction are the ancient Yellowwood giants along the way and the Valley of the Ferns which feels like you’ve returned to the Jurassic era.
It's also possible to stay overnight in the forest in rustic accommodation connected to the forest by beautifully built wooden walkways.
The entire forest is utterly tranquil and because its so little known except to locals, you will often be the only visitor.
Photos courtesy of www.homefoodandtravel.co.za