The Black Elephant Hiking Route in Diepwalle is a circular walk through the forest visiting one very large tree. It can be slightly monotonous unless you focus on the small things such as mushrooms, insects and plants.
This walk starts from the Diepwalle Forest Section of Garden Route National Park. To get there, it’s a 20 km (30-minute) drive north of Knysna along the R339. The last 10 km are on a good gravel road, suitable for all vehicles. Follow the signs to the rest camp and tea garden, which leaves the main road on a more minor road uphill to the right.
Map of Diepwalle Black Elephant Route
Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.
Tips for Diepwalle Hiking
- This hike is in the Knysna Section of Garden Route National Park
- It’s free to drive along the road but to walk in the park it’s R42/21 or R168/84 per adult/child per day for South Africans/International. It’s free with a WildCard.
- Red elephant signboards clearly show the trail route.
- For navigation on this hike you can use the map provided by the park in combination with the offline maps app Maps.me.
- Another, slightly shorter hike in the area is the Red Elephant Route.
- For more things to do in the area, check out our Diepwalle Forest Guide.
First, visit the information centre to get a map and pay your park fees. You also need to check in here if you’re camping here on the forest decks.
Into the Forest
The Diepwalle Black Elephant Hiking Route starts to the left of the information centre. It’s a little way down the gravel road that leads back to Knysna. You’ll see a small yellow signboard with a black elephant on it pointing along a small trail to the left. These are the trail markers you should follow.
The path initially heads downwards and round to the left. The path then bends right and deep into the forest. You head further right and downhill before starting to heads upwards. The path winds about before eventually coming back to the road.
On the opposite side of the road is a small parking and picnic area with a toilet called Ysterhoutrug. Head through this area and follow the path to the left. Just after 1 km you’ll come to a very big tree.
King Edward VII Big Tree
This big tree is known as the King Edward VII Big Tree. It’s a Common Yellowood, or Outeniqua Yellowood. It’s almost 40 metres tall and more than 600 years old. The tree’s so tall you can’t really see the top.
After admiring the tree, continue onwards to the road. When you get there, head slightly right to take the gravel track back up to the information centre and the end of the Diepwalle Black Elephant Route.