- 7.2km (3.6km to waterfall)
- Moderate terrain
- No drinking water available
- Not dog friendly
Set in the lush and picturesque forest of the Wilderness National Park in the seaside town of Wilderness, this trail follows the Touws River upstream along both sides of its banks, mostly along wooden-boarded walkways, almost 4km to a free-flowing waterfall. Shaded, well-marked and easily manageable, this is a walk for the whole family, with a variety of bird life, beautiful flora and interesting rock formations to accompany you along the trail.
A thriving seaside town situated 450km east of Cape Town, Wilderness not only has endless stretches of beautiful beaches, but lush vegetation amongst the rolling coastal hills which make up the Wilderness National Park. From the entrance just before the bridge crossing the Touws River along Waterside Road – easily located, with ample parking on each side of the narrow bridge – begins this trail with a sign clearly reading ‘Half Collared Kingfisher Trail’. Just behind this signboard is a small hut, where a small R20 conservation fee (as at May 2018) needs to be paid.
Following a short walk along the sandy, shaded trail, a wooden flight of stairs takes you up to the higher pathway on the left hand side of the river. Over the next few hundred metres, there lies two possible forks in the pathway, both clearly marked – the left turns add another loop that eventually link up to the same path, but we kept right and continued along the river. The path continues over rocky and root-covered terrain, so watch your footing.
Around 700m in, you will come across a pontoon crossing, a small makeshift raft, equipped with a rail and attached to a pulley rope, which you can use to cross the river – only three people at a time though! Alternatively, you can continue along the path and cross the river further upstream, which is what we did, and use the pontoon to cross the river on your way back.
At the 1.3km mark, a clearly marked sign reading ‘stepping stones’ marks the point at which you can cross the river over the stones to continue on the trail on the other side.
The path then continues on the right hand side of the river, the majority of which is made up of wooden boardwalks a fair height above the river, but fully equipped with hand rails for your safety.
Alternating between the boardwalk and sandy pathways, both in the shade of the forest trees, the trail leads to an unmissable sign just after the 3km mark reading ‘Giant Kingfisher Trail to Waterfall’, which points to the left. This pathway continues, again on a wooden boardwalk, for a few hundred metres, culminating in the picturesque waterfall at the end of the hike.
Here there is space aplenty on the rocks to sit, relax, grab a drink or snack and admire the view, before turning around and retracing the 3.6km you have just conquered, to take you back along the same route to the start.