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Garden Route | Dalene Matthee's Forest Retreat

The Knysna Forest will forever be remembered in the intricate narratives woven together in the books of Dalene Matthee. On this adventure with the Bhejane 4x4 Adventures team you'll experience the environments depicted in Fiela se Kind (Fiela’s Child), Kringe in ‘n Bos (Circles in a Forest), Moerbeibos (The Mulberry Forest) and Toorbos (Dream Forest) first hand


tour duration 5 Days
from R9,650
next trip 10 Oct 2024
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This tour links many of the sites featured in the books, amongst which are the Langkloof where Fiela farmed with ostriches, the dense forest of Diepwalle where Saul Barnard swung his axe and the original church of the Italian silk farmers featured in Moerbeibos.

Along the way many more historical and natural wonders await, as well as a fynbos mountain retreat overlooking the Tskisikamma Mountains



All camp fees & park entrance fees
All meals
Boat Cruise
Camp fees
Listed activities
Professional guide
Tea & coffee
Tented & Lodge Accommodation
Two-way radio communication


Guide Gratuity

Tour Dates

10 Oct 2024 - 14 Oct 2024 - R9,650.00

Day 1


We meet at the Engen Garage on the outskirts of George on the Oudtshoorn Road at 13h00. After meeting our fellow travellers each vehicle receives a two-way radio and we depart in convoy. We head straight for the historic Montagu Pass where we make a stop at the Old Toll House to learn more about this pass and the history in which “Fiela se Kind” takes place.

Our route takes us through the town of Herold and then along the N9 to our first overnight stop, Louvain Guest Farm where we stay in guest house accommodation. At sunset we make our way to a beautiful sundowner spot above the Langkloof on an old oxwagon pass. Historically this area was the ostrich farming centre and we tie this area into her first book, “Fiela se Kind”.

In the evening we are treated to a wine tasting (Herold Wines) followed by a delicious steak ostrich braai.

Day 2

Bitou Valley

After breakfast we take a short drive, followed by a easy hike to a very interesting rock art site. From here we continue our journey along the Langkloof, travelling through the settlement at Avontuur where the book first introduces us to Fiela Komoetie who farmed with ostriches, and onwards to the Prince Alfred Pass. Here we turn south and descend the pass, stopping for a picnic lunch along the Keurbooms River. The significance of this route explores the distance and terrain that the young Benjamin would have wandered through.

By mid-afternoon we arrive at our farm retreat, overlooking the Forest. Protea Wilds is a quaint establishment nestling about the forest epitomizes old world home comforts while providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape that overlook the indigenous forests.

After check in, we enjoy sundowners on the deck or around the fire before dinner together around the dining room table, and an early night.

Hiking Trails through the Mountainous Fynbos are easily managed and spectacularly beautiful - highly recommend a short walk before dinner!

Day 3

Knysna Forest

The next morning after a hearty breakfast we set off in convoy travelling along the farm lands before making our way deep into the heart of the Knysna forest. Here we experience first-hand the environment in which many characters in Matthee’s books originated and indeed the real historical forest dwellers of the 1800’s, lived their lives. Namely Benjamin’s van Rooyen family, the wood cutters, Karoliena Kapp and Saul Barnard.

Our lunch stop is at Diepwalle Forest Station where a visit to the small museum gives these characters from her books soul and identity.

From here we travel through the Gouna Forest and visit the San Ambroso Chapel and Museum and bring to life the story of the Italian silkworm farmers and this vital part of Knysna history.

In the late afternoon we return to Fisanthoek and Protea Wilds for tea and relaxation.  The surrounding indigenous gardens are full of birds - we spotted sunbirds and even a crested eagle!

Dinner this evening is around the dining table or weather permitting in the adjacent enclosed fire area.

Day 4


Today we set off in the direction of the Millwood Mining Area in the Knysna Forest. We hike through a stunning part of the forest and explore some of the abandoned mine shafts that can still be seen in the area. This is where Saul Barnard from “Circles in the Forest” tried to tame his restless soul digging for gold. He toiled with many ideas including conservation and the sustainability of the indigenous forest, concepts that are close to our own hearts.

Afterwards we visit the Dalene Matthee memorial to pay our respects to the author who immortalized the Knysna Forest and its people.

Lunch is enjoyed at a local restaurant in Rheenendal and in the afternoon we enjoy a boat cruise on the Knysna Lagoon with a visit to the famous Knysna Heads, all while enjoying some delectable oysters. This area and access to the sea plays an important role in her books as this is the port from which much of the timber cut by these characters left for Europe.

It was also the first site the Italian families saw of their new home as they sailed through the heads on the SS Natal with their silkworms in 1881.

As the sun sets we return to our farm retreat in Fisanthoek where we gather around a cosy campfire for one last dinner together with a new understanding of the area and appreciation for Dalene Matthee.

Day 5


After breakfast we say our goodbyes until we travel and explore together again.

Protea Wilds is 20kms (give or take) along a dirt road with farm lands dotting the landscape en route.  The turn off is to the right half a kilometre from the Sasol Garage just outside Harkerville driving towards Knysna and about 15 minutes from Plett!


● You will need a vehicle with good ground clearance.
● The tyres on your vehicle cannot be low profile road tyres but must be high profile floating tyres with off road capabilities.


● Historical Mountain Passes
● Langkloof Mountains
● Exclusive forest concession routes
● Diepwalle, Gouna and Millwood Forests
● Knysna Lagoon boat cruise
● Secluded Biomimicry camp


Your first night is spent at Louvain Lodge - so no bedding is required.
The remainder of the trip is spent Glamping in Tents at the Bhejane Biomimicry Camp just outside Plett.
The Tented accommodation provides comfy beds and includes all the bedding but with Covid - we recommend you bring your own Pillows and Bath Towels!


Not on this trip - we provide camp chairs


● A qualified and experienced guide
● A qualified and experienced support crew and chef
● Two-way radios to all vehicles
● 3 Meals per day
● All cutlery and crockery (we also do the washing up!)
● Water (for kitchen use only)
● Entry fees to all inclusive parks, tours and activities


● Beverages, alcoholic drinks & snacks
● Personal items such as medication, sunblock, torch, binoculars, camera, batteries, etc.


No trailers are permitted