View Over Wilderness

Wilderness (or “Wildernis” in Afrikaans) is a small town on the Garden Route of South Africa. It is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Large waves crash onto the long sandy beach, which literally stretches for miles. The backdrop to the town is steep green hills and mountains.

Despite being hugely popular with holidaymakers, the town retains a village feel, with a compact central area. This provides a handful of high quality restaurants and all basic shops and amenities.

The greater area of Wilderness is quite large, with a few different pockets of houses and holiday accommodation. Slightly away from the centre, other areas of Wilderness are made up of quiet roads which mostly stretch either alongside the beach or the Touws River lagoon. The lagoon is a tranquil central feature of the town, which leads into the Wilderness National Park.


Not surprisingly given the stunning location, much of the accommodation in Wilderness is provided for holidaymakers. We recommended that you book a long time in advance if you are planning to visit in December or January.

There are a handful of hotels in the town (including large ones and smaller boutique hotels). In addition there is a large selection of smaller guest houses and an excellent choice of self-catering accommodation. Many of the premises have amazing views of either the sea or lagoon, or in some cases of both.

Accommodation for backpackers is also available in the town, and there area a few sites for camping.

Given the outstanding natural beauty, you will generally find prices to be excellent value. You will likely find prices even cheaper if you are from overseas, due to the weak South African Rand. You will also find prices a lot cheaper in the winter (June to August) when not many South Africans are travelling due to the relatively cold weather.

Eating and Drinking

There is a great selection of restaurants and bars in Wilderness. Many of these are situated in the compact “town centre”. Most of the eateries have their own specific character or cuisine, with a number of different food types including Steak, Italian and Mediterranean available.

Other niche establishments specialise in craft beer and chocolate amongst other things. There is also a fine dining restaurant, as well as one that offers live music every night.

Things to Do

For a seemingly small town, there are plenty of things to do in Wilderness. Spending quality time on the beautiful long sandy beach will be a priority for many people.

There are a number of options for scenic walks, including along the beach or the side of the lagoon. There are also official trails in the National Park, one of which goes to a waterfall.

For the adventurous, you can try your hand at paragliding, with a couple of well known launch sites in the town.

The still waters of the lagoon provide great opportunities for canoeing, boat trips and fishing.

The short drive to the unique view of the Map of Africa is well worth it, as is the view from Dolphin Pont Lookout, from where you may get to see dolphins and whales at the right time of the year.

Just outside Wilderness is Wildwoods Acrobranch, where adults and children get the chance to climb and swing through the trees in a supervised environment.

Furthermore, Wilderness is perfectly positioned for taking short day trips, for example to the beautiful town of Knysna. There are loads of activities (especially for families) in the greater Garden Route area.


The climate of Wilderness is warm and relatively dry, with good weather all year round. Rainfall is fairly evenly spread across the whole year, with the most rain in March and the least in July. Even in the wettest month of March, there are on average only five rainy days in the month.

Temperatures peak in the summer (November to March), with the average daily maximum in January being 28 degrees Celsius. In the coldest month of July, the average daily temperature is still around 19 degrees. On winter nights, the mercury falls to around 7 degrees on average.

Location and Amenities

Wilderness is situated in the heart of the Garden Route on the southern coast of South Africa, approximately 450km (about 280 miles) east of Cape Town and 300km (190 miles) west of Port Elizabeth. It is just a short drive (about 20 minutes) from the large town of George, which has its own airport.

Wilderness itself has a small supermarket, liquor store and petrol station in addition to the various curiosity shops and restaurants. An excellent selection of bigger shops can be found at the large Garden Route Mall, just 10 minutes drive away, on the outskirts of George.

Check out our Wilderness Travel Tips page for further information.

Next Steps

Does Wilderness sound like your ideal holiday destination? If so, take a look at our guide to accommodation in Wilderness and book your trip right now.

View of Wilderness Coastline