The Area ~ Canoeing, birdwatching & Hiking

Enjoy exploring the Wilderness National Park on numerous hiking trails in and around Wilderness or by canoes along the Touw river.


Wilderness National Park

The park includes Afromontane forests, the Touw River Estuary and the Serpentine with its extensive reed beds and lakes, including beaches and its terrestrial landholding from the Touw River estuary (where Serendipity is situated) to the Swartvlei estuary.

Wilderness National Park (WNP) supports both globally and nationally significant populations of bird species and is considered the flagship birding destination in the Western Cape Garden Route. Wilderness is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA SA114) and is registered as a RAMSAR site.

The Lakes

The series of large saltwater lakes (Rondevlei, Langvlei and Island Lake – in an “East to West” order) are inter-connected by shallow channels and flood plains concluding with the Touw Estuary in the West where the Touw River meets sandy beaches and flows into the Indian Ocean. Rondevlei, Langvlei, Eilandvlei and Serpentine wetlands and Swartvlei forms part of an internationally proclaimed RAMSAR site and many feathered friends may be seen at the Rondevlei Bird Hide. Bird hides may also be found at Langvlei (the Malachite Kingfisher bird hide) and along the Touw River (the Gallinule Bird Hide).

At Serendipity it is a delight to be awakened to calls of Black-crowned Night-Heron coming in to roost and the cry of African Fish-Eagles in the distance. From their deck guests may witness passing cormorants, ducks, geese, egrets and herons.

Canoeing & Hiking

With Serendipity’s canoes guests may explore the waterways and deep forest inside the Wilderness National Park. And with Serendipity’s complimentary access permits guests can hike the famous Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail. But there are numerous trails in and around Wilderness to be explored.

Birding and exploring the Wilderness National Park does not end with hiking trails and canoeing available through Serendipity. Ample time should be spend driving along ‘Die Vleie Road’. In optimal conditions this is a waterfowl heaven, although many interesting terrestrial species can also be found along this road.

Serendipity can provide interested birders with printed media on birding in the Garden Route and even the Klein Karoo.

Half-Collared Kingfisher hiking trail

The trail is within walking distance of Serendipity. An immense wall of green punctured only by a human sized opening welcomes walkers into this cathedral of mature forest.

The most popular trail in the Wilderness region, it has many picnic points and lays nestled not more than 15 meters from the riverbank and may be accessed by canoe or foot, both promising a unique experience of this exquisite ecosystem. The trail crosses the Touw River by means of a pontoon to join the old Giant Kingfisher trail to the waterfall Trees are appropriately numbered to facilitate tree spotters in finding their favourite trees.

Mostly shaded by ancient giant trees, walkers can relax as they walk comfortably on the trail to its heart boasting a magnificent waterfall where, again, picnics may be had.

Many birds especially the well-known Half-collared and Giant Kingfisher, Knysna Turaco, Fish Eagle and Black-headed Oriole may be seen. Bushbuck is also known to make graceful appearances stunning walkers with their beauty.

Time duration: A three to three and a half hour linear route totalling 7 km to the end and back guarantees a benevolent experience.