The Big Tree & Forest Walk in Wilderness
My kids and I are often off on mystical adventures with fairies, dragon birds, and giant grasshopper people. Fairy tales, nature, and creative play are a big part of our life, so we couldn’t pass up an outing to the Big Tree during our holiday in Wilderness.
The Woodville Big Tree is a giant old Outeniqua Yellowwood that has become an icon and popular attraction in the indigenous forests of Wilderness. Although it seems to have shrunk in the 20 years since I last visited it (oh the physics of age), its large crown is still a favourite nesting spot and its fruit is enjoyed by bats, bush pigs, and birds like the Knysna Turaco and Cape Parrot. Although Yellowwood is still used for furniture and construction, it is a protected tree under the National Forest Act.
Big Tree stats
Age: Over 800 years old
Crown width: 34m
Circumference of stem: 12m
Stem length: 15m
Wandelpad Forest Walk
We expected a bit of a hike through the forest to see the Big Tree, but it’s only 80m from the parking area. Luckily, just past the Big Tree, you’ll find the very easy Wandelpad Forest Walk. This beautiful circular trail is only 2km long and follows a well-marked path through the forest, crossing the occasional moss-framed bridge and trickling stream. You’ll spot gnarled old trees, curtains of ferns, wild mushrooms growing on tree trunks, and pretty flowers showering in thin rays of sunlight. Many of the trees along the path are labelled so that you can identify them.
Permits: A free self-issue permit is available in the parking area, at the entrance to the forest. Permits are to be presented to officials upon request.
There is a designated picnic area at the parking lot and in the forest. There are ablutions and wheelchair-friendly walkways through the forest.
Take the Hoekwil Road from the N2 in Wilderness. Hoekwil Road becomes the old Knysna-George Road and is well-marked with signs to the Woodville Big Tree. The Big Tree is approximately 16km from Wilderness and you’ll be spoiled with the most gorgeous panoramic views over the valley. GPS coordinates: S33 56.058 E22 38.698
Here are some photos from the forest:
The Woodville Big Tree and Wandelpad Forest Walk is a wonderful way to spend an unhurried day in the leafy Wilderness forest. Have you visited the Big Tree?