Meet your Bhejane guide at the Sasol Garage at Harkerville on the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. After our safety briefing and distribution of two-way radios, we are on our way. Our route takes us into the deep Diepwalle Forestry section of the Knysna Forest.
The only unfenced, wild elephants in South Africa occur in this section of the deep Knysna Forest. These so-called ‘phantom’ elephants, that rarely get seen, have been living in the forest for over 200 years. They are a mystery to conservationists and scientists. There exists an ongoing argument about the number of elephants currently found in the forest. There could be as few as one or as many as eight elephants.
From here on, we meander slowly into the heart of the remaining indigenous Knysna forest, stopping en route to explore and discover many of the forest's secrets - its ecology, its history, its inhabitants, threats and its future.
Our journey takes us through tunnels of yellowwoods, cape chestnuts, stinkwoods and bracken ferns as our guides share their wealth of knowledge. Discover the delicate ecosystem of these forests, the lichens, fungi and pristine streams.
Much of the intrigue of these forests lies in its history, from the early Italian settlers to elephant hunters and timber harvesters. En-route we stop at one of the Fynbos islands and enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and admire the magnificent views and calls of the forest.
Our trip through the Forest ends just before lunch up at the Diepvalle Forestry Station, which is located just before the town of Knysna. It is at the Diepwalle Community Forest Restaurant that we are treated to a traditional foresters lunch of vetkoek and homemade ginger beer.
After our appetites have been satiated, it is an easy 30km drive back to Knysna on a good gravel road!