Garden Route nature walks – Bushpig Trail

For a medium distance loop day walk in the central Garden Route, the Bushpig trail in the Goukamma Nature Reserve is ideal. Offering a mixture of Milkwood Forest and Dune Fynbos, you walk through a shrouded valley and up the spine of a vegetated fossil dune.

Wild fungiStarting with a river crossing on a self propelled pontoon, the walk is a 8Km loop that follows the river up stream before heading west through Fynbos. From the Fynbos, it heads into old Milkwood Forest with some trees approximately 1200 years old.

The Milkwood Forest then transitions into diverse Coastal Thicket with false Saffron and Candlewood dominating. The single track then joins a Jeep track and the route turns to the left for 100m before entering a singletrack path to the left and to start the ascent of the dune spine.

Wild orchidsOnce the trail emerges from the thicket, panoramic views of the shoreline and dunes while the path heads to the highest point on the trail (116m above sea level). From the high point the trail winds down to the river again, with the steeper sections consisting of a series of stairs and finishes with a return crossing on the pont.

Safety :

There is no surface water on the route and it can become very hot so carry sufficient water. In summer be wary of puffadders sunning on the path. Apply insect reppelent in for mosquitoes in the Milkwood section of the walk.

Five highlights to look for on the Woodcutter Trail:

  • Bushpig territorial markings on trees.
  • Leopard marking scratches.
  • Orchids (in season).
  • Brunsvigia spp in bloom in March / April.
  • Tortoises walking along the tracks.

Five trees to look for :

  1. Milkwood – Sideroxylon inerme
  2. Forrest Spoonwood- Cassine peragua
  3. Candlewood – Ptercelastrus tricuspidatus
  4. Candelebra – Brunsvigia spp
  5. Cape Coast Cabbagetree- Cussonia thyrsiflora

Logistics :

  • Location of trail head : 34°03′51.65″S 22°56′31.68″E
  • Managing authority : Cape Nature
  • Reserve name : Goukamma Nature Reserve
  • Entrance Fee : applicable, Wild Card accepted.
  • Facilities : ablution facilities at parking area, canoe rental
  • Guiding : self guided or guided.
  • For guided walks : www.gardenroutetrail.co.za
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