Easter Weekend Plans: Garden Route Walking Fest a mix of secret forests and cascading waterfalls

The Hi-Tec Garden Route Walking Festival is returning for a fourth year, with an offering of over 52 different walks to choose from between Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Natures Valley.

Benefiting local Garden Route environmental charities and conservation projects by showcasing their work and facilitating donations by walkers, the festival will be taking place over the Easter Weekend, and is said to become South Africa’s only walking festival. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

LISTEN: Take a Hike: The podcast series for hiking and adventure enthusiasts

As a ‘not-to-miss’ event on the Garden Route, the festival celebrates the region’s iconic walks and appeals to adventure lovers and walkers of every kind, offering an exciting programme suitable for everyone in the family, from beginners to seasoned hikers.

Festival founder, Galeo Saintz says walking festivals are a big trend globally, and the Hi-Tec Garden Route Walking Festival is the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. 

"It’s a massive undertaking that involves the support and involvement of local guides and communities. There are walks on offer every day all along the coast from Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Knysna and Plett to Nature’s Valley. 

"The Garden Route is one of the world's great walking destinations, its incredible mountains, secret forests, cascading waterfalls, coastal cliffs, amazing beaches and famous trails are ideal for such a festival,” says Saintz.

This year also includes South Africa's first Gruffalo Walk for the kids - based on the famous children's book of the same name - where kids can learn more about the different animals that live along these trails.

ALSO SEE: Garden Route kloofing, the Chokka Trail and homegrown eKasi escapes: SA's top experiences given the Lilizela nod

(Picture: Supplied) 

Gaining major support from many local volunteers involved and tourism associations, including Wesgro, Saintz says the Hi-Tec Garden Route Walking Festival showcases the true hospitality of the region and now as an annual event, the festival highlights the many year-round walks walkers and enthusiasts love.

The festival encourages everyone to participate as there are walks for everyone, and those not to be missed include the Tidal Pool Meander and the brisk hikes up the regions highest peaks, such as the George Peak Challenge and the Peak Formosa Adventure in the Tsitsikamma region. 

Traditional walks include the Robberg Peninsula or Circles in the Forest Elephant Walk, and for the more intrepid, there is a Keurbooms to Nature’s Valley walk.

WATCH: The quiet recovery of Goukamma on the Garden Route

(Picture: Supplied) 

The Hi-Tec Coastal Pirates Treasure Hunt, according to the Festival, is perfect for Easter Sunday and the Inner Magic walk for kids promises to be great fun with friends and family on Keurbooms beach. 

Added to that, other walks include the Walk with Poetry, the Yoga Walk and the Sketching in Nature walk. For those with an adventurous spirit, tough hikes along the rocky coast are a must.

(Picture: Supplied) 

“The Garden Route Walking Festival is about building a connection between our diverse communities and between ourselves and wild nature,” says Saintz. 

The walks will all be led by local volunteer walk leaders or professional walking guides who share their knowledge of the region and their passion for the outdoors.

“Join us for fun time out, meet new friends and discover hidden gems off the beaten track. This festival is ideal for families and everyone keen to discover new trails,” concludes Saintz.

NOTE: Registration for the festival is FREE as well as some walks but those which require permits or a professional guide have a cost associated. See the full walking programme on the website.

ALSO SEE: Coast along SA's tranquil Garden Route for your next road trip

(Picture: Supplied) 

Find Your Escape by searching and comparing flight prices here. You can also sign-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe hereOr download the News24 App hereto receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.