Unconventional wildlife encounters in the Garden Route. 

Octopus reaching out to investigate a GoDome housing.


At the end of each of our guided 5 day Garden Route coastal trekking holiday I like to ask guests for their highlights of the route. 

Consistently we receive accolades for ecological diversity, activity diversity and culinary selection. In addition guests rate the wildlife encounters as enriching experiences. Ranging from close up viewings of Bushbuck, Blue Duiker and 

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get close enough to photograph a Narina Trogon with a smartphone.

Narina Trogons in the forest, to observations of Ploughshells and Black Oystercatchers along the beach and glimpses of dolphins and whales in the surf, everyone appreciates unscripted viewings of wildlife. 

Amy ticked one wish from her bucket list – an encounter with an octopus. 

This week was no exception, though for Amy she had her heart set on an interaction with an octopus. Exploring just about every rock pool between Kleinkrans and Buffalo Bay, we hit the bonanza along the Platbank rock shelf in Goukamma Nature Reserve with no less than three specimens willing to comply. Who can dispute that being ‘touched’ by a Cephalopod would rank high on a young ladies bucket list. 

Bryde’s Whale carcass being scavenged by Kelp Gulls in the Goukamma Nature Reserve, Garden Route.

An added bonus for this time of the year was a washed up Bryde’s Whale carcass. It washed up at the Goukamma River mouth on the high tide on Friday 8th October and we adjusted our itinerary to canoe to see it. Without a doubt we have some unexpected and unconventional wildlife encounters along the hike.

Ploughshells will eat any protein source that is washed up on the beach.


Garden Route Trail is a guided 5 day coastal slackpacker wilderness trail in the Garden Route between the village of Wilderness and Brenton on Sea. You can find out more about the trail on www.gardenroutetrail.co.za 

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