The Giant Kingfisher Trail follows a jungly river to reach a lovely picnic and swimming spot by a waterfall in Wilderness National Park.
This hike starts from Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park. Find out more about Ebb & Flow Rest Camp here. It’s 20 minutes from George and 40 minutes from Knysna along the N2 highway. If you don’t have a car, check out the options for car hire* from Cape Town.
Giant Kingfisher Trail Map
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.
Head to the bridge between the northern and southern sections of Ebb & Flow Restcamp. There are lovely views of the river from this bridge.
- Take: sunhat and sunscreen, water and swimming stuff.
- This is a SAN Parks reserve. If you are not camping here you have to pay for a permit or use your WildCard.
- Extend this hike by climbing up the Half Collared Kingfisher Trail for wonderful views of the forested hillside and sluggish river below.
- Find out more about Ebb & Flow Rest Camp here.
Head to the western side of the river (not through the northern part of the rest camp) and you’ll find a small trail. Almost immediately you’ll reach a permit checkpoint where you can buy a hiking permit or show your park permit if you are camping.
The trail follows the river until you head the water and reach a pontoon crossing. You have to use your own arm strength to pull yourself across the river. If the pontoon is on the other side when you arrive, it’s easy to pull it over to your side.
On some maps, it shows another route across the river further up, but these are stepping stones and can often be covered in water if the river level is high.
Once on the eastern bank of the river, continue upstream. There is an elevated boardwalk a large part of the way. This brings you slightly closer to the trees where you can find colourful birds and sometimes monkeys.
After a while you’ll turn the corner and descend to a waterfall. There’s plenty of space here for a picnic and a refreshing swim. It can get crowded on sunny summer days and especially at the weekends. Try to set off on this hike early to enjoy the peace of the waterfall.
The route returns the same way and there shouldn’t be any difficulty following the path back.
If you want to hike further, combine this Giant Kingfisher Trail with the Half Collared Kingfisher Trail which climbs steeply up the mountain to beautiful views. This extension can be added either on the way out or on the way back.
Discover what else you can do at Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in Wilderness National Park. If you’re heading east, make sure to go hiking at Robberg Peninsula, then stop off at Storms River Rest Camp. If you’re heading west, explore Mossel Bay or De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Ebb & Flow Rest Camp was a stop on our two-month road trip around South Africa which we wrote up as a book, Chasing Ostriches*. Discover many other amazing places in South Africa and see more photos here.